Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Twitter Party Recap

If you joined us for our Wednesday night twitter party, you know it got a bit rowdy. A little off-topic at times.

But that's how it is when you're at a place where you feel comfortable, right? Like a book club where you spend five minutes talking about the book and the rest of the time talking about Important Stuff and drinking wine.

We did talk about some interesting stuff.

1)The prompt has a set beginning and a set ending - and a word limit. For some, this feels confining. For others it's freeing: they don't have to worry about how to start or finish it. The word limit is to force writers to be concise, to get in and out of their story. I also mentioned my creepy, slightly inappropriate 8th grade science teacher who used to tell us to make our essays like a girl's skirt: long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting. Also, the word limit makes it easier on those of us who try to read everyone's linkups!

2) Do we brainstorm first and just write? It seems like most of us just write, but some let ideas roll around in their minds for a couple days.

3) Some prompts lead to an obvious idea. Some want to push beyond the obvious and stretch themselves. We applaud this! Katie advises to write what you know. I countered with "Write what you DON'T know, too." Both are correct. Writing what you know helps you be genuine. We don't recommend writing about brain surgery, for instance, if you haven't researched it. But you can imagine situations and characters that you have no first-hand experience in, and, in making them human, they will be genuine.

4)Fiction vs. non-fiction. Each of us has our comfort zone. We encourage you to try something different. It will only help you grow.

5) Concrit. We have a lot of conversations on this topic. Some of you really want constructive criticism, but maybe aren't comfortable giving it. When you read a linkup, ask yourself what you liked about it and what you didn't, what worked for you, what didn't. Then tell the writer that, in a respectful, helpful way. For instance "This was great!" is nice to hear, but WHY was it great? Was it the dialogue, the description, a certain line that hit you? Conversely, if you didn't like it, don't comment "This sucked!" You can point out maybe a certain line that didn't work, or dialogue that didn't seem realistic. Remember the writer is putting herself out there - be kind.

7) Writer's envy. We all have it. You read someone's work and you want to stick a hot fork in your eye because they said what you wanted to say - only they did it SO MUCH BETTER! Thing is, you can't let this paralyze you. Or intimidate you. We are all working, learning, growing. All of you have your unique voice. And your own truth. When you read someone you admire, think about what it is that you like about their writing. Try to write something (not for publication, for yourself) taking on that writer's voice. Then see what works for you, and what doesn't.

8) The sex scene. Yes, we went there! And there were some tweets that made me laugh out loud! For those of us who have family members and IRL people who read our blogs, this can be a tricky thing. Some of us are afraid of sounding like a bad romance novel. It's a personal decision whether your blog is an appropriate place to share the, er, intimate details. Also, if it's non-fiction? Probably TMI!

9) There was a request for resources for finding agents, submitting a query letter and other topics directly relating to getting published. We will work hard to bring this information to you.

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