Writing until you are blue in the face? Does it work? Do you get something accomplished?
Twenty writers met this past week in Golden Colorado at the Table Mountain Inn, and although their fingers may be exhausted, their minds are excited about what happened there.
It was a lovely three and a half day experience and people worked like crazy creating, editing and generally having fun exchanging their viewpoints and experiences while throwing out encouragement to one another.
One woman in particular had recently switched from academia to writing fiction and it was exciting to see her begin her very first book at this very first writing retreat sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and organized by Angie Hodapp. (in the middle)
Another woman worked diligently typing fast and now I know how she has written some double-digit number of books. It was fun to be in the same room with her because she’s so creative and prolific!
The finale of the retreat was having an agent critique our work, anonymously of course.
If we wished to participate in the exercise, we submitted two pages of any work without our names attached. Kristin Nelson, President and Senior Literary Agent at Nelson Literary Agency, LLC was friendly and not at all intimidating. As she critiqued our work, we sat spellbound.
Here are a few of the pointers:
1. Less is always more. Why use several sentences to say what you can say in one sentence.
2. If you can carry your piece with your voice, she said she’d follow you anywhere.
3. Please, no bodily functions at the beginning of the book.
4. Anchor your story in a physical space.
5. Let your scene unfold. Don’t try to give the reader too much information too quickly.
6. Don’t lose the perspective. For instance, In first person, you see everything.
7. Put action with the object. Make your writing tight.
8. Don’t start a story with a dream. She said she would feel deceived.
I am sure she said more than that, but these pointers are the ones I carried away with me.
And since it was mine that started with the dream, I was more than glad to get her perspective. No need to send it out to other agents seeking representation if that’s a big no-no.
Two things I particularly liked about Kristin was she reassured the group several times that we would not be the same writers tomorrow or next month. We would be better. And we should never give up.
Also, it was astounding to see that she memorized our names (20 of us) on the spot. And to make sure she had them correctly, she reversed the order she said them in. I was impressed. I want to know how she did that!
So I’d say the time was well spent.
So I have to go now. Have to delete that dream sequence.
Writers out there, comments?