Sunday, October 12, 2008

Moonlight and Magnolias

By Vikki Perry

I know that I need to learn more about writing. I know that I will never learn all there is to know about writing. I know that my work will never be perfect.

I just used a rhetoric device called anaphora. Anaphora is emphasizing words by repeating them at the beginning of neighboring clauses; and I discovered it at Moonlight and Magnolias, a writers conference in Atlanta that is put on by the Georgia Romance Writers. I learned so much this weekend.

Friday Morning: Pitch Workshop – The pitch workshop was designed to allow you to practice your pitch before the agent and editor appointments begin.

Friday Afternoon: Intensive Workshop with Margie Lawson – Margie has created the most awesome system for analyzing and editing your own fiction.

Friday Evening: Plotting workshop – This may have been my favorite workshop of the conference. Three wonderful members of GRW showed us three different plotting techniques: collaging, clustering, and storyboarding. Collaging is taking pictures and words from magazines and arranging them on a large piece of paper until you have an idea. This would be great to use during those times when the idea well has run dry. The second method is clustering. Clustering is writing an idea in the middle of a page and webbing out from that idea, never letting your writing utensil stop moving. This is what I do, and it works! The third method is storyboarding and is borrowed from the moviemakers. By drawing pictures of key scenes and writing a short blurb underneath each one, you are able to write and visualize your story.

Saturday Morning Workshop: Deep Edits with Margie Lawson – Margie talked about using rhetoric devices to punch up your fiction.

Saturday Morning Workshop: The Hero’s Journey – This class was based heavily on the book, The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. It outlined a 12-stage framework that can be used when creating any story.

Saturday Morning Workshop: Why Gone with the Wind Wasn’t Set in Poughkeepsie. (What a great title!) The instructors talked about how sensory details can add to your story and how where you set the story can impact the plot.

Saturday Luncheon: The keynote speaker was Teresa Medieros, one of my all time favorite writers. I don’t remember the exact title of the speech, but I remember that it was really funny.

Saturday Afternoon Workshop: Revisions –The speaker reminded us that the goal is to get published and that it is ok to make changes to your story based on editor’s comments.

Saturday Afternoon Workshop: Backstory – The presenter talked about how information dumps were bad and how to “show” your backstory instead of “tell” your backstory.

Saturday Evening: The Maggies – Moonlight and Magnolias invited unpublished RWA members to submit manuscripts to be judged by agents and editors. On Saturday evening, they held an awards ceremony. It was fun, and I will submit next year.

Sunday Morning: Cold Reads – Two of the most informative hours of the conference because agents and editors gave their unfiltered reaction to query letters, synopsizes, and the first few pages of novels. Their comments were somewhat brutal, but we got insight into the brains of the people that we want to buy our novels and that is priceless.

Next year, I plan to return to M & M and take full advantage of all the opportunities that are offered.

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