Tuesday night I soaked in the good advice from two of Nevada's finest, Suzanne Morgan Williams and Terri Farley. If you weren't there, I'll give you a taste.
Suzanne, who I've had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions, just came out with BULL RIDER, a novel about a boy dealing with loss and war and tough things as he pursues his passion, bull riding. I'm all about pursuing passion, and Suzanne's novel sounds exactly right for a boy 10-14 who is looking for something adventurous and real.
Suzanne talked about promotion ideas for writers, and I have to say how impressed I was with her industriousness as her own publicist as well as her ingenious strategies - things like grouping multiple events on a trip, keeping a Plan B in your pocket, and banding together with others. Suzy is all about the positive: creating win-win situations as well as the best rule I know in this industry: Be Nice. Right on, Suzy.
Then Terri Farley, author of SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA and the PHANTOM STALLION series came on scene, and I got a little exhausted just thinking about how many books she has written (she embodies the mantra, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person"). Fortunately, she shared one of her hard-earned secrets: Clustering. I haven't heard of this technique before, but it's essentially getting your left and right brains to work together by connecting stream-of-consciousness ideas until you hit something. She led us through a cluster drawing, which was fun (Nucleus word: SECRET, I kid you not...).
Terri also talked about working against stereotypes in your writing, external and internal character obstacles, and the big C in the writing life: committment. I hadn't really done a fill-in-the-blank character analysis for my current WIP (on draft 5 here...), and I found it incredibly useful to see which places I knew my characters well (my characters' goals) and the places where I didn't know them so well (strongest emotional trait, esp main character, who begins at a breaking point).
Good stuff - especially since work life is esentially divided along these lines right now between book one and book two. If you want something done...right? Well, time to cluster about this revision!