I recently returned from the most amazing workshop - The Breakout Novel Intensive V2.0. It's put on by Free Expressions and literary agent Donald Maass. If you aren't familiar with his books on craft get your hands on at least one of them pronto! My autographed copy of his newest, Writing 21st Century Fiction, is sitting on my desk as I write this post.
It was an overwhelming, exhilarating, roller coaster of a week and more than a few meltdowns were had - and not just by me, thank you very much. My only regret is that I didn't attend one of these conferences earlier in my career.
I'm drowning in notes and critiques and recorded one-on-one sessions with Donald Maass and the editors from Free Expressions, and I don't really know where to begin regarding sharing some of what I learned. So, I think I'll start with the part that really made the whole conference experience worth it for me . . .
How to write more fearlessly, more boldly.
Now, I know some of you don't have this problem. But I do. I tone down scenes, I tame moments. I'm afraid - for some reason - to let the story go where it wants to go. I rein it in, hold it back. I've known it for awhile but I didn't know exactly how to fix it. Until now.
Imagine there's a more fearless writer than you and he/she becomes your mentor. He/She says "This is what I'd do in your story . . . " What is it? Do that thing!
What's a line you won't cross in your novel? A word you won't use? A feeling that's too ugly or too sweet?
What's one ironclad rule of the genre you're writing in? Write it down. Now do this - BREAK IT. Readers bring expectations to every story so if we want to shake them up a bit, then we need to find a way to break a rule or two. Do the rules really need to be rules?
* SET YOUR READERS' EXPECTATIONS FOR AMAZEMENT. *