This is why you registered for Crossroads

This is why you registered for Crossroads

You come for the classes and the comraderie. If you’re a returning Crossroader, you already expect to have a good time, learn a bunch and leave inspired to write more. Well, here’s a run-down with (almost all) our workshops coming up this weekend. We dare you not to be excited!     List of 2013 Crossroads Workshops   25 Steps to Being A Traditionally Published Author, Even Lazier Edition Delilah Dawson Instead of reading my 7,000-word guide to getting a traditional publishing deal, come listen to me talk about it–and answer the questions you’re afraid to ask. From finishing your first draft to getting an agent to what happens after your book is on the shelf, it’s possible to sell a book without having an MFA, a friend in publishing, or a reality TV show. Hint: it involves a lot of hard work.   Anatomy of a Book Emilie P. Bush Whether you plan to self publish or enter a deal with a commercial publisher, knowing your gutter from your half title page is important. Topics include publishing terms, an up-close and personal look at what a book interior SHOULD look like and the basic “rules” of layout.   Digital Storytelling Tim Regan-Porter Should you write differently for digital media? If so, how? What tools are best for telling a compelling story? This panel will address a variety of issues in writing for the web, tablets, and mobile.   Fiction Writing Tips Cate Noble Deconstructing story: the elements of compelling fiction, with tips for nurturing your writer’s soul.   Freelancing is Out; Entrepreurism is In Kristin Luna At one...
Terminally Cheerful: an interview with Kathy Holzapfel

Terminally Cheerful: an interview with Kathy Holzapfel

Crossroads: Why do you write? Kathy: Compulsion. I am published, but midlist. Wanting to write in different genre for larger audience. C: How’d you get started and where do you think you are in relation to your goal? K: I started writing seriously (translation: actively seeking publication) in my early twenties. I’d grown weary of mysteries and a friend gave me a romance novel to read. I knew immediately that I wanted to write a combination of those two genres. I’m largely self-taught (translation: I single-handedly invented half of those rookie mistakes all new writers are warned to avoid) so my journey felt long and arduous. (translation: it took twenty years of trying/quitting/whining/trying again before my first novel was published in 2001.) My initial goal was simply to sell a book. That goal morphed to selling another and another. But somewhere around book seven, my drive switched back to growing as a writer, which means moving beyond my familiar genre of romantic suspense. I’m still in the midst of that new goal, so it’s hard to judge where I am…but most days it feels pretty awesome. C: You really seem supportive of other writers and organizations, and we’re just curious where that comes from. K: Part of it’s just my nature. I’ve been told I’m one of those terminally cheerful people who others want to strangle when they’re down in the dumps and enjoying a good wallow. I want to haul you out of the mud and feed you cookies and give you pep talks and ask if you’ve tried this or that, while simultaneously checking my bag of tricks and remedies for something that...
TIPS FOR THE WRITING JOURNEY – Part Two

TIPS FOR THE WRITING JOURNEY – Part Two

“I never waited for my Irish Cream coffee to be the right temperature, with a storm happening outside and my fireplace crackling … I wrote every day, at home, in the office, whether I felt like it or not, I just did it.” ― Stephen J. Cannell My goal is to produce good work, on a consistent and joyful basis. That’s right. I want to be happy. Yes, writers write – alone, but that doesn’t mean I have to be grumpy and undisciplined. I am equal parts cheerleader and drill sergeant. Here are a few more observations from my journey: ACT LIKE A PRO Show up daily. No whining. No one is forcing you to do this. Produce and ship according to your plan. Give yourself bonus points for exceeding your goals. Rejection comes with the territory. Not every editor and reader will like your work. Read some of the scathing reviews posted on Amazon for bestselling authors like Stephen King and J. K. Rowling. Snark happens to everyone. Take nothing personally. LEAVE A TRAIL OF GENIUS (Hat tip: Marriott Hotel notepads) Imagine your thoughts, words, and actions ripple out to leave a psychic trail or energetic wake. Does your trail look inviting or repulsive? What sort of wakes left by others – inspiring or discouraging – has entangled you? REFILL THE CREATIVE WELL Recognize your creative needs. What inspires your imagination? Find places or activities which uplift and expand. Museums. Parks. Coffee shops. Libraries. Places of worship. Be open to new experiences. Hang gliding might meet the criteria, but so might reading outside your usual genre. Too much...
Review: 90 Days to Your Novel

Review: 90 Days to Your Novel

90 Days to Your Novel: A Day-by-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book By Sarah Domet Writer’s Digest Books, ISBN-13: 978-1582979977 Fiction writers are divided on the topic of outlining a novel. Some believe the process is vital to producing a great story – “couldn’t write otherwise.” Others dismiss it as stifling to creativity – “shoot me now.” Sarah Domet’s book, 90 Days to Your Novel: A Day-by-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book, will please believers while giving non-outliners a number of reasons to reconsider. So, why ninety days? “It’s difficult to write without a deadline,” Domet explains. More importantly, a finite time period requires a daily commitment – one of the book’s chief tenets. Domet suggests two to three hours per day. 90 Days to Your Novel embraces four key philosophies: “1. If you do not write on a daily basis, or a near-daily basis, you are not a writer. 2. Outlining is an essential component of novel writing. 3. Novels are written scene by scene, not character by character or action by action. 4. It’s possible to write a book in months, not years.” The book has two sections. Part One is relatively short, about 35 pages, and dissects the pros and cons of several outlining techniques. Domet then presents a mini-class on scene structure and type. Part One is meant to be read before the challenge starts. Part Two is where the actual work begins. The first three weeks have daily assignments for brainstorming and outlining as Domet reviews the components of a novel – plot, character, setting, conflict, point of view, and...
Tips for the Journey, pt. 1

Tips for the Journey, pt. 1

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”  ― Octavia E. Butler Writers write. Alone. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or fortune cookies, it’s you, all by your lonesome, putting words on a blank page. The weak perish. The persistent develop a collection of tricks to survive and thrive along the path to publication. Here are some of mine: DEFINE YOUR WRITING GOALS Make plans. Be specific. With clarity, a vague goal to “write more” becomes “wake up 30 minutes earlier Monday through Friday and write 540 words before work.” Start with broad strokes, then break it down. A plan to produce two young adult novels per year becomes a math equation: two books, at 70,000 words each, equal 140,000 words, or 11,670 words per month. That’s roughly 2,700 words per week, or 540 words per day, five days a week. Be clear on your Why. Why is fuel. Inspiration. Your reason for writing is as individual as your fingerprint. My desire to entertain is no less valid than someone’s resolve to build an income. KNOW THE FIELD Study the market. Learn the ins and outs of your segment of the publishing industry. If you’re going through traditional channels, know which publishing companies handle your genre. If you’re going indie, you are the company. Know what that entails. Be familiar with your audience. (Hint: most are reading the bestselling and popular writers in your genre.) Understand the accepted practices...