Hal-Con was the bestest of weekends. There was so much joy and joyfulness hanging out with friends, seeing all the costumes, dressing up, sitting in on workshops, and just plain geeking out. There were so many highlights that covering everything in a single post would be silly. Over the next few days I am going to try to cover my favourite starting with the writing workshops.
Most of the panels and workshops I sat in on were about writing or storytelling. I connected with two Nova Scotia writers and talked about them visiting my writing group. I won a book in one panel for asking a good question and being witty. And I bought a writing book that I think is going to be very useful for planning future workshops for writing group. I enjoyed all the tips and answers the I gathered. This is what I learned or was reminded of:
1) Story is king -it is the point so make it good. Everything else is a device to help or hinder the main character
2) Create a dossier, scrapbook, or a binder with important details like characters, pictures, notes, timelines to help visualize the novel and keep facts consistent
3) Write short stories in the same world and with same characters to better understand how the universe operates
4) Have faith in your reader, they won’t get lost, start in the middle but give them a direction and a character to care about.
5) Don’t give the reader all the answer. Give hints and the promises of answers.
6) Create complex characters and let them be true to who they are
7) The action and pace of YA books are faster
8) Teens don’t have set expectations about a novel so experimenting with point of view and other elements is more acceptable
9) If you want to write for teens you need to like teens and respect teens and spend time with teens and get to know them.
10) How do you starting writing...you turn on the computer and write
11) Write it six times before showing it to a proof reader/beta
12) Write, then edit, but write first
13) Read stuff out loud
14) When you are reading, even silently, you breath at the punition marks. Short choppy sentences gives a feel of excitement in the reader subconsciously. This works for actions scenes.
15) The term "voice" has two uses in writing. The writer has a voice and the characters have voice.
16) If you feel like a adverb is needed you are using the wrong verb
17) Repetition of patterns (he said, she said, he said, she said) boring and editors will trash the manuscript
18) Great heroes worth reading have flaws
19) Readers like complex characters. Get people emotionally connected and you have them hooked.
20) Read Stephen King's On Writing