A few gems from today's workshop:
- When Sally Warner--who is a great author, by the way and is teaching us a lot--sent one of her first books to her editor she asked him, "So, what did you think about the hidden medieval theme?" and he said, "What hidden medieval theme?" He then gave her this great advice which she has used a jillion times: Don't be afraid of being obvious. Kids don't "get" things like adults do, and in this hidden medieval theme, neither did the adult.
- But don't be obvious in a way that insults the intelligence of your reader. For instance, don't say, "As I was brushing my teeth I admired my long, curly, blond hair and my snapping green eyes," as if the protagonist had never noticed she was blond and had green eyes before. Find some un-obvious way to describe her.
- In all your writing something should be at stake.
- Stephen Fraser, who is an agent said, "With one paragraph I can tell if a book is going to be good." He chooses things that have artistic integrity that he knows will sell. For everything you publish there are 400 rights. Four hundred! Things like rights to different countries, one for each. I-pod rights, audio rights, movie rights, etc. An agent will protect your rights and see you book gets marketed to foreign countries, etc. But, before you send anything to an agent make sure it is professionally done. Make sure it is ready.
- Of hardbound books you get 10% of selling price. Paperbacks is 6 1/2% UNLESS it is sold to huge chain stores like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., then you earn less. If you are going to market your own book you really need to know the business end.
- Claudia Mills was hysterical. Her room was packed--this was for the afternoon breakout sessions. The afternoon session is a great bargain, by the way. You can hear all the authors present material plus sit in a session with the editors and agent if you want to. I never want to do that. What would I say?
- Claudia sleeps ten hours a day and says she would sleep longer but she'd feel guilty. Years ago she read an article in "a great literary publication," she said,--Reader's Digest--called something like, "What you can accomplish in one hour a day." She quoted someone--I didn't catch who--who said a small task, done daily can be like a raindrop that hollows out a stone. To find that hour to write in she says she has low standards. This got a big laugh. But, don't get me wrong. This woman teaches philosophy at the University of Colorado and is very bright. She says she exercises with friends, goes to lunch, does all the things she wants to do and still has published a LOT of books. There are many things she doesn't do so she can do the things that are important to her.
- Claudia writes an hour a day, no matter what. She wrote an hour a day when her kids were little--at 5:00 AM. She stops when the hour is up and does something else. She uses what Twila Tharpe, in THE CREATIVE HABIT, suggested: creative triggering mechanism. She drinks Swiss Miss Chocolate before starting to write. That way, it signals her brain that this is the time to be creative and write. She drinks this year round. She says if you leave your work for one day it will take you two days to get back to it.
- Claudia says her critique group saves her TONS of hours on re-writes. She read a piece a man had written and it was excellent writing. He said it had been re-written eighty-eight times. She told him if he had a critique group he could have cut eighty times off.
Well, that's enough. This, obviously was not short but I wanted to get these ideas down in case there someone out there that wants to know these things. Now it's really late, the re-write is almost done but I need someone here to read it aloud to me to see how it sounds. Phil has gone to bed. I guess I'll be reading it myself.
I am getting no blog reading done. Actually, I hardly ever comment on your blogs, I'm sorry, I mean to but I'm always reading them with blurry up-to-late-eyes. But I love visiting them and peeking into your marvelous lives. You handle stress so well, you are optimistic, I see wonderful photographs, I read funny stuff that makes me laugh. I see your faith and committment to your religion and your families and friends. I admire you. Thanks for being my blogging friends.