Author 101 – Meet & Greet

The best part of yesterday was the chance to meet with the agents, publishers, coaches and packagers one-on-one. It was a kind of speed-dating setup, with the presenters at tables and us attendees in line to talk with them.

My current aim (besides finishing my 3rd draft of The Story Store), is to get an agent, so I just met with them. Turns out, one agent also represents a writer friend. Always a good sign.

Author101 update

imageThis is the agent & publisher panel. Later, we get to schmooze with them. As I thought, the presenters had good & useful tips, but wanted big bucks ($400 – $2400) to give you the whole package.

I am not going to cough up my hard-earned cash until I get The Story Store sold.

Author 101 University

imageI’m at a 3 day event, Author 101 University in LA at the Westin. I will post whatever might be of interest.

I admit to being cynical about these things. People usually just want to sell you stuff. Walking to the meeting room, I passed a dozen booths with people wanting to sell me stuff. But hope springs eternal (see Cub fans).

Rewriting, Part Three

The adage “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage” (attributed to Fred Finkelhoffe), came to mind whilst working on my 3rd draft. I realized that while I know my main characters very well, their passions and motivations weren’t necessarily clear to the reader.

Also, my tendency not to put everything on the page, to want to make the reader work a little bit, might be, rather than clever, just obscure.

People call that writing “too hip for the room.”

I am taking a step back from my characters, to ask questions like, “why is Sara such a wise ass?” “Where is Mr. Crumley coming from?”

I know where my characters begin and where they end up but I think some parts of how they get there, their “journey” to be all literary about it, is not clear.

Pressing onward…

Rewriting, Part Two… Less ‘Aaargh’

Two months? Really?

Yes. I was on vacation. And when I wasn’t on vacation, I was goofing off. Poor excuses, but the best I’ve got.

I finished the 2nd draft in mid-July, and put it aside for a while and did some writing on my next book or books, “Tommy Collins: One Lad’s Adventures.” More on that later.

 

The thing I’m just now finding out about rewriting is that, with the characters firmly in my head, I can make changes more easily. I touched on that in my previous post, but what other authors say is really true: I can hear Alex, Sara, Mr. Crumley and others speaking when I write.

A small example: in the earliest chapters, I had Alex say things like, “I think she was trying to smile.” But Alex, as I now understand him, doesn’t know (or even much care) what other people are trying to do. He only sees what they actually do, and how it affects him. When Sara’s face turns red, he remembers what he’s learned: a red face might mean she is angry, or embarrassed, or even exerting herself.

Only when she punches him hard on the side of his head can he figure it out.

Another example: Alex is only comfortable in a narrow range of experiences, things he’s done before, or knows how to do. Things he calls normal. But everything in his world is turned upside down. Nothing is normal. How does he keep from curling up into a fetal ball?

On a ride to somewhere new, Alex takes the trip via computer, mapping out his route, finding familiar landmarks and calling up images of the streets on the way.

With the story pretty much set, fixing the early events (that needed the most work) to flow into the later ones becomes easier, too. More on this next time.