Nashville Novelists Workshop
A brief post mortem on Saturday's events....
Funnily enough, I wasn't the only person who was disillusioned upon moving here to find that all of the "Writers' Nights" advertised were for song writers. This was actually an event for those of us crazy enough to write fiction, and it went very well. I sat at the front table with the earnest women who've been working their lives in support jobs and would like to do something more fun with their lives than alphabetizing someone else's importance. The nice ladies who wrote for their church newsletters were at the table directly behind ours, while the surly young friendless screenwriters and sci fi novelists hunkered in the back. We also had the requisite elder statesmen who were trying their hands at Larry McMurtry and the teenagers who want to be Meg Cabot and J.K. Rowling.
River Jordan wouldn't cop to admitting her name is fake--which reinforces my belief that it is her invention. No female novelist would pass up the chance at a good story about her mother and where she got her name. I should know. My mother named me after the king's whore who became a Christian mystic.
The advice for aspiring writers?
1. Read a lot. (got that one nailed, thanks.)
2. Write a lot. (have more trouble with that one)
3. Watch a lot of movies and plays to get a sense of dialog. (done and done.)
4. Sign up for any workshop you can get your hands on and make the sacrifices to go to conferences. (This one sounds deceptively easy. Since they already pointed out that most writers are introverts I can only imagine what benefits will be derived from an auditorium full of people staring at their shoes.)
I was the only person who held up her hand when "River Jordan" asked which of us were extroverts. Tim later explained to me that I'm really an introvert who is good at playing an extrovert when the situation calls for it. Best description of me I've heard yet. (That' I'll cop to. The kid who mooed at me in Target the other day is being ignored.)
Best discovery of the day? Panelist Eric Wilson, who writes spiritually-driven thrillers. I was so excited about his books that we made a special trip to Barnes and Noble to pick them up.
IN THE RELIGIOUS FICTION SECTION.
Bah. Eric talked about how his goal was to reach people who were disillusioned with The Church (TM Socieity) but were still searching for the Christ experience. He writes thrillers that have spiritual content but are intended for the mainstream audience. Sort of your basic tax-collectors-and-sinners style of writing (which is very similar to my own.) Christians read mainstream fiction, but general readers don't pick up a Christian book for fun. I hope that my works can get shelved outside of the God Ghetto, where they may actually reach more people. I also hope that Eric's publisher can work with B&N to get him some endcap or etegere placement where the books can move. Dude needs the money, and his books need to reach their intended audience.
All in all, it was the most fun I've had in a long time, and has inspired me anew to sit at the keyboard and bang out some pages.
Bonus Eric Wilson Tip : For those of us who are in love with the romance of longhand composition, he suggested using a stylized font and color to make the typewritten word seem less sterile. I've gotten more done in the Lucida Handwriting font than I ever did in Times New Roman. Thanks, Eric!