Breathing Life into a Character

(This is a continuation of handouts that I recently distributed at a writing seminar.)

–a part of us is in every character

–who are we called to write about?

(Could be someone in our life, could be someone we see in a news report, someone in a dream/imagination)

QUESTIONS TO ASK

Who do you personally root for?

What kind of people do you root for?

How do you or people around you feel misunderstood?

Elements of Voice:

POV and tone
Dialogue
Metaphors

Revealing Relationships:

Intimate
Family
Co-workers, Team Members
Nemesis
Strangers

Naming your character:

Something unique and personal
Something meaningful
Something cultural appropriate
Something with a good rhythm
Google to check

Running a Writing Workshop

I’m posting a series of handouts that I’ve prepared for past writing seminars. Here’s one on forming a writing workshop. A workshop can help you to be accountable to other writers and regularly produce pages.

Naomi’s Guidelines for Running a Writing Workshop

  • Determine goals and purpose with first the organizers and then the group.

Is it to help people get their creative works in better shape?

Is it to make them feel more emboldened and encouraged as writers?

Is it to build community?

(It also can be a process—you can start with one goal and then move into another.)

  • Meeting place: safe, neutral, convenient, well-lit with little noise distractions. Should be around a table.
  • The facilitator needs to control and direct the discussions. Set the ground rules and the time. Try to end promptly at the time stated. If people want to hang around, that’s their choice.
  • Ground rules:

People need to treat each other in respectful way.

What is shared in the group, stays in group. (Even domestic partners should not be told about details of someone’s story before its time.)

Logistics:

Should people e-mail or snail-mail their essays before the group? (Usually a week ahead of time is sufficient.)

If you distribute writings before the meeting time, have each person write his/her name of his/her copy and write notes in the margins i.e. good, effective, confusing, etc. If someone is so inclined, they can even make proofreading marks.

During the workshop, you can either have the person read the entire piece or else immediately launch into comments. After the reading, the writer should be in the “cone of silence.” The facilitator should then direct the discussion about the piece.  Always open with the work’s strengths and then move into the weaknesses. After people have made their comments, the writer is released from the “cone of silence” and can respond to comments.

Facilitator should make sure that certain people don’t dominate the conversation. Ask silent people if they would like to comment.

The facilitator can even make a list of questions that will apply to every piece or even individual pieces.

After workshopping a piece, everyone returns his/her copy of it to the author.  Individuals can request copies, but it’s up to the author’s discretion. Otherwise, everyone should erase/delete digital submissions.

How to Find an Agent

I’ll be speaking to the Stanford Club of Pasadena and the Stanford Professional Women this Sunday on the topic, Writing and Publishing in a Text(ing) World. For more information, go here:

https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/events/details?event_id=31478

I’ll be distributing a number of handouts. Here’s one of them:

How to Find an Agent (updated June 2019)

HOT TIP: Find 10 recent books that are similar (but not exactly like yours) and identify who the author’s agent is.

How?

  • Look at a book’s acknowledgments.
  • Google author’s name and “agent.”
  • Look up Publishers Weekly reviews on bn.com (Barnes and Noble) or Google author’s name and “Publishers Weekly” and “review.”
  • agentquery.com
  • Publishers Marketplace publishersmarketplace.com(You now have to subscribe to receive deal details.)

Find the latest information as many authors change their literary representation.

Publishers Lunch (free) http://publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/subscribe.html

AUTHOR BEWARE

Bookends’ Jessica Faust on bad literary agents: http://bookendsliterary.com/2018/08/14/bad-literary-agents/

Once you’ve identified a potential agent, do your due diligence.

  • Research on querytracker (querytracker.com), Absolute Write Water Cooler, and Writer Beware.
  • Subscribe to Publishers Marketplace (or find someone who does) and pull up that agent’s deals over the past year.
  • Find the agent’s list of clients and find a fellow writer who is either on that list or knows someone on that list and get feedback.

Authors Guild’s advice on agency clauses and agency agreements: https://www.authorsguild.org/member-services/writers-resource-library/all-about-literary-agents/authors-guide-agency-agreements/

NEW WAYS OF PROCURING REPRESENTATION

Twitter: #pitchwars #pitmad https://pitchwars.org/