Hey guys! Totally not trying to take over today's post because Christa already gave y'all a fabulous entry! Just realized that I never actually posted yesterday, yet I advertised on my blog about a craft entry. I wanted to put that up real quick.
(but be sure to read Christa's post below mine first!)
Last weekend I attended and taught at a local RWA conference. (Romance Writers of America) and it never ceases to amaze me how much we can ALL learn, at any stage of the game. I learned new things, new authors learned new things, and even authors that have 45 books with Harlequin learned new things. You never stop growing and learning and that, to me, is so encouraging. It takes a lot of pressure off to know that you'll NEVER "arrive". That's impossible. Just like as Christians, its a journey. We're never going to be perfect on this earth. We should still try to do our best, just like in our writing - but we're never going to reach this platform of perfection. Only Jesus did that.
That said, one of the workshops I loved the most was a workshop on setting as character. It was taught by Cathie Shaffer, and we literally as a class sat down and created an entire novel, by starting with the setting. We said "Does our book take place in a small town, rural, big city, suburbs, etc." Someone said small town so she wrote that down on a giant flip pad. Then she said "Is there a plant or industry in this town or does everyone commute to work?" We decided there was a mill. A lumber mill. It went on and on until we got the hero, the heroine, everyone's motivations and conflicts and romantic interests - ALL related intensely to the setting. The setting was the backbone of the entire plot! Not only was that FUN, it was really neat because it took the pressure off the characters to carry the story by internal conflicts or external conflicts alone. The setting truly became a character! Amazing, fun, and really good for getting the creative juices flowing!!
So next time you get stuck, maybe try brainstorming "backward" like that :)
Karen Witemeyer's class on surviving as an author was also extremely helpful, as was Amy Liz Talley's on the concept of author voice, and Janice Hanna Thompson's class on humor. All good times! :)