It was a fabulous conference today, put on by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.
My favorite author speakers were Jordan Sonnenblick and Molly Cochran. I also pitched to an agent, and let's just say she was a fabulous speaker and warm person, but I fell down on the job.
I let Étienne and his posse down.
Now, I'm not naming the agent because I know what a mix of factors lead to an agent accepting your manuscript: the right market, the right blend of personalities, that agent has to believe in your prose as much as you do (okay, probably more)... I'm not naming her because if she rejects me, as is statistically likely, I don't want anyone to say she's mean, or a bad person, or stupid.
On the contrary, I'm inclined to believe this person's a saint, because I did a terrible job at my pitch. I salvaged it enough so she requested a synopsis and the first three chapters so she's either a big saint or my ideas have some merit.
But let's talk positive.
What did I learn?
Jordan Sonnenblick mentioned a great technique for checking your character's dialogue. He suggested taking different colors of highlighters and using one color for each main character and highlighting just their dialogue in your book. Why? Because if some one read nothing else but the dialogue would that character's personality/characterization materialize?
Molly Cochran listed techniques to finish your novel. Luckily, I do most of them. But listening to her talk about "writing fast" and "allowing yourself to write [a first draft] badly," I let her pivotal advice sink in. Have a regular writing schedule. Even if it's only 30 minutes per day. Set this schedule based on your own goals and your own priorities regarding writing. Allow yourself to be selfish and write.
That made me realize:
I need to reorganize my priorities in life.
Not just in writing, in everything.