I'll confess--I'm kind of a Writer's Conference Junkie. (Pretty sure you've guessed that, given that I've been at 3 over the last 2 months).
Yes, they're expensive, and exhausting, and every time I book one I start to think: do I really need/want to do this? But the answer is always: Yes. Because I always walk away having learned something. So I thought I'd use today's post for sort of a fancy Friday Five, and share my five favorite things I've taken away from my recent conferences, since you guys couldn't be at the conferences with me.
1. From an editor: Remember that characters don't speak to reveal. They speak to conceal. Real people rarely say exactly what they're thinking. Characters shouldn't either.
2. From an author: Go through your draft--even one you think is done--with the goal of finding seven unnecessary words to cut from each page. You will always find them--probably more than that.
3. From an editor: When you read your draft, constantly ask yourself: why am I telling the reader this? And why am I telling the reader this now? If you don't have good answers to those questions, trim the line or scene and move it to the point where the reader NEEDS to know that.
4. From an author: Take one of your chapters and highlight every adverb, every adjective, and every preposition. Let yourself see where they all are--and how many of them there are. Then ask yourself with each and every one of them if it really needs to be there. Odds are, some of them can be cut.
5. From an editor: Editors will put every single element of your world to the test. Try to do the same thing. Poke it for holes. Question everything. Don't ever take anything for granted, thinking people won't notice. Push yourself to fix any problem, even small, subtle ones.
Some of that may be reminders for you--some of it was a reminder for me. But there's SO much to keep in mind as you write/revise, it's hard to keep track of everything. And these were things I hadn't been focusing on. I am now, and my pages are *hopefully* getting cleaner and tighter in the process. I'll know soon enough.
And that's the other, main thing I take away from these conferences: there is ALWAYS more to learn. No matter how long we've been writing, or how many books we have under our belt, we can always find new tips and tricks. And we always need reminders.
I promise I'll share more of what I learned in future posts. But I think that's enough food for thought for today. Hope you guys enjoyed.
What about you? Any of you have a favorite piece of writing advice you want to share? Please, lay it on me in the comments. I love hearing everyone's tips and tricks.
Have a great weekend!