Tag Archive for: workshops

A Writer’s Weekend

Paula Gail Benson

you have to dedicate time to your writing craft. In pre-Covid-19 days, that was
accomplished at writers’ conferences. You spend some time listening to master
classes and panels, then you learn what’s going on in the business by talking
with fellow writers in the hall and bar.

that travel and in person gatherings are extremely limited, how do you
recapture the experience and energizing effects of a writing conference?

virtual meetings have become the norm. By scheduling carefully, you can
piece together the perfect writing retreat. Just be sure to build in some
breaks so that you don’t exhaust yourself.

August 7 through 9, I stayed at a local Airbnb (more on that in tomorrow’s
WWK ) and set up to spend a day virtually with writing buds. I started with
Murder on the Beach’s presentation of John Dufresne’s “How to Write a Story.”
For $35.00, you got the program, plus the bookstore sent you Dufresne’s
Storyville without shipping charges. I
found both to be extremely helpful and inspiring. The book is one to read brief
passages from each day to keep the encouragement going.

The following week, I attended Debra H. Goldstein’s excellent program on writing conflict. John and Debra’s events were part of what Murder on the Beach calls Florida Authors Academy Workshops. Future events are listed at this link. It’s a great and very economical series.

I attended the Triangle Chapter of SinC program to hear Lori Rader-Day talk
about “Turning an Idea into a Novel.” She spoke about her own journey in
The Lucky One and shared some
of her experiences in writing her current work in progress, a mystery based on
Agatha Christie housing children refugees during World War II.

Here’s a link to Triangle Sisters Website.

At the end of the
day, I joined the business meeting of Sacramento’s Capitol Crimes Chapter of
SinC. Hearing about how that chapter is regrouping and planning for the future
gave me ideas to suggest for our local chapter. Here’s a way to access the future events planned by Capitol Crimes. It has some great upcoming speakers.

What virtual programs have you been watching during the pandemic?

The Highlight Reel

By Laura Spinella
So here’s the first thing you should know: I didn’t win. Hey, it’s okay.
I was the true newbie in RITA’s Best First Book category. In my case, it really
was just an honor to be nominated. Overall, my trip to the annual Romance
Writers of America conference and subsequent RITA Awards was a success. I didn’t
know what to expect going in. RWA has about 13,000 members, of which 2,000
attend the annual convention. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.  However, go prepared for a whirlwind of
Authors Shelley Coriell, me & Erin Quinn
      The workshops are inspiring
and the authors in attendance more than friendly. I had a chance to meet my good FB friend Barbara Claypole White whose debut novel, THE UNFINISHED GARDEN is out later this month.  She was kind enough to ask me to blurb her beautifully written gentle romance. I made several new acquaintances
along the way and rubbed chair legs with Nora Roberts. If anyone is curious,
she’s very gracious and genuine—even if your chair leg comes within inches of
her toes.  Each year RWA gives out the
Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. 
It gave me pause, her chair leg wickedly close to mine, that she was
there to witness the bestowment of an award named for her.  How many people have an award named for them
while, they’re not only living, but still very much in the game?  I think it gives new meaning to the word “successful.”
Recipient Beverly Jackson, who has penned more than 90 novels, gave a warm and
insightful acceptance speech. 
Other highlights included Stephanie Laurens keynote
address. Granted, I don’t attend too many packed banquet rooms gatherings, but
I’d say her message is what good speeches are all about.  Her topic: weathering the future of
publishing and what that means to us as writers.  As mentioned, the workshops were top shelf, a
vast array of topics that anyone with a keyboard and an idea could use to help
channel those bare bone thoughts into paragraphs and pages. While I didn’t
attend the History of Contraception workshop, I did stop and take picture of the sign. I
sent it to my BFF, who happens to be an OB-GYN. She’s thinking of submitting
her own workshop pitch for the 2013 RWA convention. My newest WIP includes a psychic
element, so I made sure to attend a workshop on the paranormal. Foot-in-mouth
as the workshop leader quickly corrected my faulty assumption that paranormal
and psychic were related. Clearly one is werewolves while the other just
channels them. On the whole, the workshops were Red Bull lecture style,
designed to make you want to run back to your room, shut out the activity, and
get busy writing. In that regard, it was wholly well worth the price of
Onto the lady in question, the RITA Awards.  Beforehand, I had dinner with my Berkley editor,
Leis Pederson. We’d never met in person, so I was nervous in a curious way.  I was anxious to put a face to the person who took
a chance on me and the characters I cast in BEATUIFUL DISASTER.  I think it went well, particularly for someone
who spends an inordinate amount of time scripting both sides of the dialogue. I
didn’t spill anything and managed to keep the conversation going until the
lights dimmed at the awards, all eyes turned to the clever romantic movie
montages on the big screens.  
Winners came and went; my table filled with RITA
finalists, but alas not a winner among us.  By evening’s end we were all in very good
company.  I’m not sure if I’ll get to
another RWA conference soon.  During their
annual meeting, RWA decided that my category, Novel with Strong Romantic
Elements, will be eliminated after 2013. Thinking about that now, it’s really too bad. I was just
starting to feel at home.     
Laura Spinella is the author of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, a 2012 RITA finalist, NJRWA Golden Leaf Winner, Best First Book; Desert Rose RWA Golden Quill winner, Best First Book and Wisconsin RWA finalist for Best Mainstream Novel.  Visit her at lauraspinella.net.