What I learned from a conference

Saturday, Sept. 12 I attended the Mystery Writers’ One-Day Getaway from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Twinsburg, Ohio.

The Northeast Ohio Sisters in Crime hosted the event with speakers bestselling IMG_0031author Nancy Pickard; literary agent Vicki Selvaggio and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Megan Testa.

Authors Amanda Flower (Isabella Alan); Shelley Costa; and Casey Daniels (Kylie Logan) also talked about their writing experiences.

This was the first conference I have attended and even though my published books are historic romances, I learned a lot from the speakers.  I thought I would share a few highlights.

Vicki Selvaggio talked about writing a query letter.  Make an impression with that one-page letter of introduction.  Also, whether an agent or a publisher, research to match your writing with what they’re looking for in a story.  Focus on what makes your book unique.

In the query, be professional, specific about the finished work, give a blurb or jacket flap summary of the story, your biography related to writing, and a polite closing.

Nancy Pickard talked about revealing emotions in your writing and that moment in the story when the character has an epiphany and changes.

Most writers are plotters or pantsers (those who fly by the seat of their pants) but need to be both.  The story needs structure or a plot but the characters have to tell their story.

Writer’s block is often a sign that something is wrong with the story not your ability to write.

Use dialogue for important information and not mundane facts.

Pickard stressed conflict, action, surprise, turn and senses as necessary elements of important scenes to maintain interest and bring characters and settings more alive.

It’s been raining all day so it was great to get reenergized with a conference and meet others in various stages of their writing.  The most important advice is to be prepared, finish your novel, so that when opportunity knocks, you’ll be ready to answer.

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