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Ah, the scent of wood smoke and rain tells me another year is gearing up for the fall and it’s time for a well-earned break. You know the kind, the type you use to reward yourself for surviving another round of new projects, writer conferences, pitch sessions, the merry-go-round of queries, new releases, and the never-ending whirlwind of life in general.
Last month I tackled the Sinister Synopsis and some time during my battle preparations it hit me that perhaps a discussion should be had on the various incarnations of paring a book down. In this season of conferences, authors are forever challenged to wrap their precious bundle of pages into smaller and smaller packages in an effort to snag the illusive attention of those fabled editors and publishers.
Every format of story telling—written, sung, painted, sculpted, photographed, inked, digitally enhanced—shares a sprinkle of an illusive elixir, a potion which will enable the viewer or reader to step into the magical world crafted from the artist’s mind. It is combination of words, note arrangement, brush strokes, use of lines, lighting, or shading that snag the listener’s imagination and set their hooks in so deep they believe, for a heartbeat or a collection of moments, that the artist’s fantastical world is real.
With the upcoming conference and contest session upon us, writers may be scrambling to craft that perfect one-liner that captures the 300 plus pages of perfection to lob to an editor or agent. There may be some who are quietly being fitted for white jackets with buckles as they pare down their beautiful creature into 1 to 5 page synopsis to accompany that one-line pitch. If you’re hoping for words of wisdom on these two items, sorry, I’ll leave that to someone else better suited and not currently tearing their hair out trying to accomplish the same thing.
For all those who have interacted with small humans in the kinder-to-third grade arena, you might be familiar with Flat Stanley (also known in some cases as Flat Lizzy). For those who haven’t had the joy of meeting this illustrious character, a quick introduction.
In January I started a new series project. This time I did it right. During my writing career I’ve morphed from a complete pantser (one who dives in with no set plan) to an assisted pantser (one who must have significant sign posts to complete the story journey safely). With my first series, The Kyn Kronicles,
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Jami Gray as she shares with us “To Conference, or not to Conference, That is the Question.”
You survived November’s month of word carnage (aka NANO), you’re sliding across a sheet of ice straight for the Christmas Tree, and when you get up to dust off the pine needles, the New Year will meet you with a hard glare for your foolishness and demand a plan for the upcoming months. Welcome to the holiday season for writers.
Did you see that blur? Were you able to make out the bits of green of Spring 2015? Or the shimmery waves of heat of Summer 2015? Did you miss the burnished coppers of the impending Fall 2015? I sure did. As a matter of fact, when I bothered to poke my head up lately, do you know what was staring back at me?
Ahhh, the joys of tags. These are those pesky things writers tack after a dialogue run. They tell the reader who’s talking or what they’re doing, or sometimes they do both. These innocuous critters have stirred up quite the debate in the writing community. I’m sure you’ve heard them, whispering in the corners of the coffee shop or library: