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My day was so horrible before the Redwood Writer’s Conference on 4/26.  In every possible way, I was shaken. With the support of my husband and friends, I pushed myself to go to this conference. I had planned to go for several months.

Am I glad I did! My day was totally lifted up — way up! And I want to share the top ten things I took away.

1. Novellas can be 30,000 words, Contemporary Romance 50-70,000 words.  What difference could this make to you? In the world of being successful as a writer with multiple books, it means everything. You can plan on breaking a story into a series, or writing about several characters in novellas rather than a novel, and so on.

2.  I picked up my copy of the Redwood Writer’s Poetry Anthology “And The Beats Go On” where several of my poems were published. What does this mean? For a new author like me, it means I can now add to my bio that I’m somewhere. I have a ground, a place, from which to build.

3.  I purchased a book written by nine romance authors called “The Naked Truth About Self-publishing.” I’ve published my first novel, and I know all of the serious, hard, and expensive work it takes, but never-the-less, I always want to learn and pick up anything new about the process, and since it’s the genre I’m specializing in, the interest is extreme for me to read it!

4.  I bought another book from a very wonderful man named Nathaniel Robert Winters, called “The Adventure of  the Omaha Kid”. It’s outside the genre I write, but exploring how other writers craft their art is invaluable, and meeting him was all the more wonderful.

5.  I learned the proper way to outline a book (who knew) thanks to Anne Jordan. She also teaches a class at the Santa Rosa Junior College and says that Hollywood is looking for material that fit her outline — hear that new writers?  She also says every successful author follows her outline. Act I is your intro to the world you’re presenting and you better do it quick. And by the way? Dump the back story. Find a way to include it throughout your story, don’t jam it all into dialogue or your prologue or first page.

6. We also had the pleasure of meeting John Rothmann, talk show host on 910 am. His overriding message? Do it for you and say thank you.

7.  Ransome Stephens talked about craft and what point of view might be best in telling your story.  Third person allows the most freedom, but to actually get into the mind of a character there’s nothing like first person (but also the most challenging.) His examples: First person – I drink beer; Second person – You drink beer; Third person – He drinks beer;

8.  A wonderful panel of Romance Novelists, because I write in that genre I suppose, I LOVED IT! Seeing these successful women talk about their adventures in writing, publishing, and earning (yes — this isn’t a mistake) MILLIONS — opened my ears, eyes, and well, everything. One tip they shared was that Amazon’s algorithms have changed and you want to hold a special event or giveaway or do some promotion at the 30/60/ and 90 day mark of having your book listed there.

9.  Who can forget the poet :Dana Gioia, who read with such tone and music in his voice that we all floated in the air with him. He talked about the weirdness we all share as writers. Our creativity takes us over and we’re naturally different from others. His poems . . . all I can say is you’ll be wowed.  Get his books. You’ll love them. Read one to your partner or child. They’re mesmerizing.

10.  I could write so much more, but I want to thank everyone that worked so hard,from the great snacks and lunch, to the venue, to the classes and speakers . . . it was wonderful. I can’t recommend enough. They hold one every two years. So in 2016 -BE SURE TO GO!



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