In which Flinch not only wishes Dorothy Bornemann a happy Mothers’ day, he also tells fibs, talks to strangers, and doesn’t even make his bed.
In which Flinch discovers he may have more to lose than he first thought…
In which Flinch must contend with a promising dilemma….
In which Flinch affects a change in his status….
Just a heads up that Flinch is showing little inclination to return from his sunny beach getaway while I’m busy incorporating conference and reader comments into the PP manuscript. It may take a week or two more for immigration to uncover his status and send him back to us. Until then!
This was my second Writers’ conference.
As we were packing up the car to make the trek to San Diego, I must confess I was wondering whether the trip was going to be worth the cost. After all, I’d just attended a conference in September, and probably not much had changed in the publishing world since then. Not only that, but by an odd twist of fate, almost all the agents there already had a copy of my manuscript, which meant I’d be going without any opportunity for a meaningful advance submission critique.
I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t already know, but I’m going to say it anyway–I needn’t have worried.
At the last conference, I’d taken the approach that as a beginner, I should lurk to see what the conference was all about. Even when I had the opportunity to read, I passed. Such conventions develop a certain culture, and I wanted to see how things worked before I jumped in.
Not so, this time. If I wasn’t going to get an advance submission, at very least I was going to get feedback. You see, a couple weeks ago I’d gotten some valuable beta-comments that the manuscript could really benefit from an introductory chapter that put the early action into a broader context. I now had that chapter in hand, and I was proud of it. But that didn’t mean it couldn’t benefit from the attention of talented experts, and there would be talented experts aplenty in San Diego.
This time I did not lurk, I dove in. I presented my new chapter in four different workshops where it was dissected and analyzed by a host of writers and editors. As proud as I was of my chapter, I soon learned several key ways to improve it. My biggest epiphany was that I had been lazy about character introduction, leaning heavily instead on my love of snappy dialogue. The problem is, of course, that even the snappiest dialogue rings hollow without a solid mental image of the characters engaging in it. Sure, I had a clear image of those characters, but that’s no substitute for making sure the reader has the tools to ride along with me.
So, if you are wondering what the San Diego Writers’ Conference can do for you, allow me present a concrete example: I offer the first page or so of my introductory chapter (accessible by clicking the links below) as it existed before the conference, followed by the same segment of text after applying all that conference expertise:
I see an enormous difference, and I think you will too!
I’d like to give a special shout-out to the moderators of the various workshops, whose expertise and enthusiasm I found so inspiring:
In alphabetical order:
You’re all rock stars!
Tonight I came across this item on Huffington Post-books:
I confess to having been taken aback by the headline, which suggested that two-time Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel had been less than gracious in references to Kate Middleton. The first few paragraphs of the article seemed to confirm: seemingly odious quotes and negative reactions by a number of famous persons. Only at the very end of the article did Huff Po suggest that the initial interpretations may have been taken out of context. To their credit, however, Huff Po included a link to the full text of Hilary’s speech. Given my current interest in authors and publishing, I was curious as to why such a respected author would go out on a limb like that, and I did what no doubt many would not have bothered to do: I clicked the link.
What I found there shocked me, even though by now, I should know better than to be taken aback by such things. Turns out that in context, Hilary’s comments do nothing of the sort. Sadly, someone who only reads the headline will undoubtedly come away with a negative opinion of the author. That unfavorable opinion will only be bolstered by scanning the first few paragraphs. Many readers won’t get any farther than that. Even reading the entire article, although it might cast some doubt on the initial impression Huff Po worked so hard to produce in those opening lines, it won’t dispel it entirely. However, reading the entire transcript produces a vastly different impression, and instead of being offended, it made me wish I’d been in the audience!
Treat yourself: click the link.
As a regular Huff Po reader, I’m left to question whether all their other articles are similarly reflective of the actual truth.
Is such character assassination by subtext truly worth the paltry clicks this salacious headline will generate? How many books will Hilary fail to sell as a result of readers’ reactions to this article? Even if this misleading negative publicity generates more sales than it loses, as consumers of media, do we really prefer to be titillated rather than informed? Really, Huff Po, is this all the better you can do?
Update: Huff Po now has this subtitle linking from their books page to the article:
However, the title of the article once you get there is still:
Kate Middleton Attacked? Author Hilary Mantel Calls Princess ‘Plastic,’ ‘Designed To Breed’
Hmm. One wonders where the Prime Minister might have gotten an impression so erroneous that his comments make him look stupid…
Still, nice to see the media are at least making making some progress.
In which Flinch finally learns the price of freedom….
In which Flinch learns that it is far more difficult to create than destroy….
In which Flinch willfully commits a number of Ordinal sins….
In which Flinch finds himself in the distinctly unpleasant position of being able to say “I told you so….”
In which Flinch finally gets a glimpse of the light at the end of the swamp….
Seeing as how I was involved in some exciting writerly activities this last weekend with an eye to promoting Practical Phrendonics to potential agents, Flinch graciously agreed to permit me a weekend off this week. While he expects to be back next weekend, I have yet to break the news to him that the Holidays are fast approaching, and that his appearances may be a tad sporadic for awhile. Regardless, I’m sure he’ll join with me in wishing everyone the best Holiday Season possible!
In which Flinch entertains noble questions….
In which Flinch uncovers a whole new body of evidence….
In which Flinch is schooled in the difference between right and righteous…
In which Flinch finally confronts the little voices in his head…
In which Flinch comes to appreciate the surprising health benefits of throwing back a good stiff drink…