This last Saturday I attended 603: The Writers’ Conference 2018 — Writing from the Heart. With an apology for my rocket damaged hearing, and hoping I attributed to the correct people, here are my notes:
8:45 – 10:00 AM – Keynote Speech – SNHU Dining Hall – Richard Russo
As writers, we are having a conversation with writers both living and dead.
A novel is too large to hold in your mind as a whole. Break it down into segments. Be a plodder, in order to keep from being blocked.
You do make mistakes. You may not see it right away. So, go back to the last line you were happy with. After that was the mistake.
Avoid long (literary) words as much as possible. While observing a movie being made from one of his novels, he saw fine actors finding dimensions of characters that he didn’t know were there.
Sometimes you have problems with factual truths vs virtual truths because some people are still alive. Try to go with what the story requires.
Don’t ever write to settle a score, or for revenge. Only write the truth. Your job is to understand the truth yourself. Not for you only, but how it is going to land on others.
Don’t go on tour for a memoir. It’s too painful to get conflicting stories of your subjects.
Structure – the writer’s final task – make it look like he knew what he was doing all along. Lay out the story with Post-it Notes (storyboard). Shuffle them around and find what goes with what. Figure it out as you go. Identify backstory, and sneak it in a little at a time, spread it out.
The conference presented him with a portrait.
There were 36 Master Classes/Workshops offered in 3 tracks, 12 at a time.
1st Track: 10:15 – 11:30 AM – First Session – RF 320.
I attended The Objective Correlative in Fiction and Essay – Ann Hood
12:00 – 1:00 PM – Lunch – SNHU Dining Hall
Great lunch, ate too much. Met several authors, gave out 5 cards, received 3.
1:00 – 2:00 PM – Panel – SNHU Dining Hall
Topic: What is “Writing from the Heart”?
James A. Moore – 40 books… enjoys writing… hates editing… writing is a solitary thing, so he still works at Starbucks because he likes to meet people.
Wil Alexander – Between kids, writing, directing, you can’t do it all at the same time.
Jane Brox – Non-fiction writer 35 years, your heart changes over time.
Sanderia Faye – Write from a place in the ‘zone’ with truth and honesty.
Dr. Damaris B. Hill – Poet, write close to the bone. Your characters become someone they love.
Sinan Unel – In the beginner’s mind, get the stuff down. About the dynamics of the voices in the mind. Children are borne true geniuses… artists have to learn to do this. Then you become an expert and you lose your creativity.
Questions: (I don’t remember who said what.)
How to handle the tension between your public and private self?
Don’t let yourself become a hermit. Put yourself out there. It’s difficult to tell someone how writing works. The world is in your head. People can be observers or have radiance. You need exposure to obtain radiance. You need balance.
Writing vs editing… mode and time?
The type of person you are will determine the type of writer. Some use fixed times, some minimum words per day, but all require writing every day. Writing is fun, editing is your work. Force the time to do it.
How to handle deadlines?
Parcel it out. Describe the scene (5 min), dialogue points in the scene (1 hr), crank out the parts (4 hrs), communicate with your notebook. Caffeine is your friend. Turn off facebook, email, music, etc. concentrate. Use your notebook to question what you wrote on the computer.
Influences in your political world?
Only follow what that matters. Its wide and various, not just the current news of the day. Find a way to address your own matters, not what someone else tells you. Every person has survived something horrible. Almost inevitable, depends on the moment and what’s going on.
Knowledge of the story?
Writers are bad at distinguishing when to talk or listen. Who you work with effects what you write. It leaks into your mind. We may be ignorant of what we are doing.
“Words won’t come to me.” Calm down. Think about it before you sit in front of a blank page. You have to have an idea before you write. Words are not just what’s on the page. They’re from the mind… emotions.
My pen quit. I borrowed one from the desk.
2nd Track: 02:15 PM – 03:30 PM – Second Session – RF 315.
I attended the Enhancing Your Voice session – Jane Brox
3rd Track: 03:45 PM – 05:00 PM – Third Session – ACC 204.
I attended the Memoir Workshop – Deborah Joy Corey
5:00 – 5:45 PM – Reception – SNHU Dining Hall ***
I returned the pen I borrowed. The raffles were awarded. Some munchies, too bad there wasn’t a full bar.
Not to mention a pretty good rendition of Springsteen by Richard Russo during his keynote!