Event: LSFWriters Create Something Magical Conference – Workshop Notes Part 2

Notebook photoLiberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical Conference
March 17, 2012

In the last post I confessed to being a compulsive note taker, but I have another confession: I love lists. To-do lists, goal statements, action plans, schedules – I live for that stuff. So when I saw that the LSFW12 conference had a workshop called Score! Game Plans, Strategies and Plays to Help Meet Your Writing Goals with Nisha Sharma (aka Tess Quinn), I knew I had to be there. (Not to mention that two different lists of current action plans include the entry “writing schedule.”)

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Event: LSFWriters Create Something Magical Conference – Workshop Notes Part 1

Liberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical Conference
March 17, 2012

Confession: I’m a compulsive note-taker. I was one of those students who took copious amounts of notes in class and then typed them all up outline-style before a test. But wait, I do have good reasons for this behavior: I remember what I read and write, not what I hear. I simply won’t remember anything from class lectures. But if I write it twice and then read it countless times in the hour leading up to the test? Consider it aced.

Anyone who knows me (or follows me on FB) can tell you that I like taking classes and learning about things. (I just don’t like homework.) So it should come as no surprise that I took a ton of notes at the Create Something Magical Conference. I’m not going to type up everything, but learned so much useful information that I have to share my favorite bits from the workshops and panels I attended.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s review of the event, I went to 4 workshops and 2 panels. This post includes notes from the first two, Pitch Perfect with Pattie Giordani and Tina Gallagher and Novel Structure with Maria V. Snyder.

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Event: Liberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical Conference

Liberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical Conference
March 17, 2012

The Liberty States Fiction Writers (LSFW) held their annual Create Something Magical Conference this past Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day) in New Jersey. I had heard about it at the beginning of February at Lady Jane’s Salon, but I was thinking of it as a “next year” kind of thing. I didn’t think I was ready to go to a writers conference, it was a Saturday, and it was in New Jersey. Basically, I was full of excuses for not going.

Then I came up with a reason for why it would be a good idea to go, and it was as simple as that. I want to be a writer. If you want something, hang out with the people who have it. Surround yourself with those who are successful at what you want to be successful at, and learn from them. So I read up on the workshops, contacted the LSFW vice president, and paid immediately.

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Theater Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

How to Succeed Broadway Daniel RadcliffeAt the end of October I was lucky enough to see the Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe and playing at the Al Hirschfeld theater. I love musical theater, Harry Potter, and Al Hirschfeld’s art, so this was a real treat, and I’m very grateful to the two friends who brought me along with them.

Daniel Radcliffe (who is called D-Rad in my head) does an excellent job playing the eager, enthusiastic, ambitious young wannabe-businessman J. Pierrepont Finch. His smaller stature works for him here. He’s shorter than everyone else, but it fits with the shiny-eyed image of the “new kid.” He literally looks up to John Larroquette. (The voiceover narration of the book for which the musical is named is provided by swoon-worthy Anderson Cooper.) Finch’s ambition means he’s a rather distracted love interest, and Radcliffe does that well, too.

How to Succeed Daniel Radcliffe Broadway signI saw Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway in Equus during the winter of 2008, so I already knew that he’s a very athletic and energetic stage performer. In How to Succeed, he throws himself (figuratively and physically) into all of the dance numbers, and because he’s half the size of all the other men on stage it seems like he’s working twice as hard. The Harry Potter movies and Equus showed me how physical he is, but I still wondered: Can Daniel Radcliffe dance? The answer is, yes, yes he can. His singing is good; he can definitely carry a tune and he hits all the right notes, but he does lack the strength of more trained singers. However, his charm, spot-on 1960s-American-stage accent, and enthusiasm more than make up for it. When he’s on stage, you forget he’s Harry Potter. Hell, you forget he’s BRITISH.

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Happy New Year! Goals vs. Resolutions, and how I plan to utilize a social media reward system

New Year's Eve Central Park My new year’s resolutions are always the same. Write more. Draw more. Exercise more. I don’t usually focus on doing other things less, which I think is part of the problem. By not cutting down on the activities that take away from things like drawing or writing, I’m not actually giving myself the space to do “more.” Resolutions are also kind of wishy-washy, and easily dropped.

This year, I’m setting goals and intentions. Goals need to be written down, and we must frequently remind ourselves of them. (Mine are getting posted on the wall next to my bed, and another copy is going in my wallet.) In addition, an action plan is necessary to make any goal a reality. It’s all well and good to say “I want to learn to dance,” but if you don’t take the steps to make this happen, it’s just a dream. (For this goal, action steps would be deciding on the style of dance, researching classes, comparing locations and prices, and then actually signing up and showing up.)

For goal setting, I was taught to use the SMART model – goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. Goals can also be changed, and action plans revised. In fact, I would recommend checking in and revising your action plan on a monthly basis, to stay on track. Resolutions feel like they’re set in stone, and if you don’t keep up then you might as well give up. Goals are flexible.

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NaNoWriMo – Week 3 Pep Talk – Halfway Point!

NaNoWriMo Grand Central Terminal writing

NaNoWriMo participants at Grand Central Terminal

Today is November 15th, which marks both the halfway point of National Novel Writing Month and the first day of Week 3.

Week 3 is the week of numb shock. Perhaps you’ve written more than you ever have before. Perhaps you can’t believe how far off course your characters have taken the story you intended to write – and you love them for doing so. Or maybe you just can’t imagine how you’ve managed to sit down and write EVERY DAY for the past fourteen. Week 3 is where the seed of hope planted on November 1st starts to unfurl into a tiny leaf of OMGamIreallywritinganovelinamonth?!

If you made it through Week 2 and you are still writing or at least still want to write, congratulations!

I’m totally serious, so I’ll say it again: CONGRATULATIONS.

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NaNoWriMo – Week 2 Pep Talk

National Novel Writing Month logoIt’s November 8th, which means we’re entering the dreaded Week 2 of National Novel Writing Month.

For those new to this 50k-words-in-30-days endeavor, Week 2 is when your initial enthusiasm starts to flag in the face of Week 1 word exhaustion. It’s when you start to think about what you’ve written and your inner editor rises up to whisper criticisms that suck your motivation dry. (Unfortunately, it’s also when nasty little articles like this pop up. Whatevs. Haters gonna hate. Ignore them.) Week 2 is when you start to wonder if this undertaking is worth it, and if you can really do this thing that you’ve set out to do.

Yes, and yes. It is worth it, and you can really do it. 

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