Conference Stuff - Part 2: What I Learned

Prepare for information overload! I had planned to do this over 2 posts but seeing as its now over a week after the conference it’s time to get it over with, lol.

I learned a lot of really helpful stuff from the conference. These thoughts will likely be scattered and likely a list but I’ll do my best to make things clear.

I honestly can’t remember who said this and I didn’t write a name down in my notes. It may or may not have been Deborah Wiles. But it was a very interesting point. As writers we need to push ourselves. Writing each new work should, in a way, be harder than the last one. We need to make things harder for ourselves and that will made us grow. It will make us become better writers.

Deborah Wiles talked about writing from 3 core places. Our Heads, Our Hearts, and Our Gut. Sooo true!

A random thought of my own that I had while listening to her was that we need to read like a writer to learn and there are points in the process that we need to read our own work like an actual reader and not a writer. It is REALLY hard to get that distance from our own work.

Next is a list of different things I learned from the First Pages session and the Query Letter session I went to.

*Weed out the mundane

*Make people realize really quickly why they should care about your characters

*Seems obvious, but write something that they “can’t not publish”

*Don’t ever start with the MC waking up or with them moving to a new place. Sarah Davies (agent) said that nearly 50% of YA that she sees starts this way… WOW!

*They don’t necessarily like weird names for characters. I don’t blame them. It bugs me when I can’t figure out how to pronounce someone’s name

*Pump up the emotional arch

*Another fairly obvious point: Keep it very clear. What is this book about?

*They don’t really like it when you compare your book to another published one.

*Don’t have too much packed into your query letter. One agent said “it’s just too much” about at least a third of the query letters he critiqued.

*The “intake of breath” is what makes them want to read your work. –Sarah Davies

There were a lot of other really great things that I learned from the conference, especially Sarah Davies. The was great. But this post is getting really long already. I hope you read something that will help you in your own writing or in your own query letter!


Jenni Merritt said...

What a great array of pointers! Love it! Thanks for sharing :)

DJ's Life in Fiction said...

Those are great pointers and thanks for sharing them! I hope to send out to agents soon. :-)

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