Tag Archives: Cate Noble

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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

 

delilah_slider25 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.

 

IMG_1454Anatomy 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 point in time (think: way back pre-2010), a writer could simply survive off of freelance assignments. But in 2013, the market has drastically changed and freelancers are forced to evolve with the times. Now, publications expect writers to be a one-stop shop: from the crafting of a story to the photography and right down to publicity and social media promotion. In order to rise to the top of a diluted market, there’s one thing you have to be: an entrepreneur.

 

CarrieHowlandGetting Past The Gatekeeper: How to get your work noticed by an agent

Carrie Howland

Getting an agent is a tricky business, and can seem overwhelming. How do you write the perfect pitch? How do you find the right agent in the first place? How do you stay out of the dreaded slush pile?! Agent Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson, Inc. will answer these questions and more to help you on your way to finding, and building a lasting relationship with, an agent.

 

How to Build Your Story

Margaret South

Learn the secret of telling a great story. Master your use of turning points to heighten meaning. Give yourself the opportunity to get the story right the first time.

 

If Writing Is Easy, You Ain’t Doing It Right

Joe Kovac Jr.

Tons of pointers, tips, advice and other random nonsense you may or may not need to survive the writing process. (Lesson One: It is anything but a process.) But if you sign up for this session, we’ll discuss the oft-maddening act of turning out page-turning stories, and how to know if you’re pushing yourself enough to do it.

 

Shawn DurhamI Wrote an Awesome Book … and You Can Too

J. Shawn Durham

So you’ve finally written that awesome, super duper, kickass best selling tome, eh? But now that you’ve penned that awesomeness, how are you gonna let the world know about it? Welcome to 21st century authorship, where it’s not just enough to be Next Faulkner, Ellison or Morrisson. You also have to get your I-net game up. You ready?

 

Making History Live (in Fiction)

Anthony Grooms

You’ve researched the historical facts, but how do you blend them into lively fictional scenes? The speaker will discuss strategies for scene writing for historical fiction.

 

Making The Most Out of Murder and Mayhem

Barry Reese

The heyday of the bloody pulps might have been the Thirties and Forties but the movement has gained new legs in recent years with the rise of New Pulp. What is it and why might it be the salvation for small press writers? Award-winning New Pulp author Barry Reese will take you through the ins and outs of the New Pulp world, including where and how you can become a part of it.

 

Never Say No: Building A Portfolio In The Gig Economy

John Rhett Thomas

With expertise in website development, social media, publishing, and project management in the comics industry – both as a writer and an editor – John Rhett Thomas will field questions on a variety of discussion points, including how to get and keep a freelance writing job, operating within the “gig” economy, and working for – and as – an editor. He will also highlight the importance of “never saying no” (with a few caveats) when you start your freelance writing career. And, oh yeah, comic books.

 

Novel Writing 101

Sarah Domet

Have a great idea for a novel, but you can’t seem to get started? Or, have you found yourself halfway through your novel, but stuck and stumped? In this session we’ll explore novel writing basics, from character development to story arc. We’ll take a look at what drives a novel, and we’ll examine techniques and exercises to keep you focused, creative, and working toward the completion of your first draft.

 

Kat+ZhangPlanning the YA Trilogy

Kat Zhang

The three-book structure is getting endemic. But looking at all the cases of “second-book syndrome” and complaints about overstretched plots, do all stories fit neatly in 3 books? And how does one go about selling a trilogy anyway?

 

Poems from Oblique Lexicon

Judson Mitcham

My ongoing project is a collection of poems called Oblique Lexicon. Emily Dickinson said, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” and that is the guiding principle of these poems. My session will involve a reading from the collection.

 

David Iserson 210Putting Words in Other People’s Mouths

David Iserson

I wrote a funny young adult novel and my day job is writing for film and television. I’ll discuss how to get started in those various kinds of writing, balancing different projects at once, and if I can get it on the plane, I’ll try to bring candy.

 

Story Telling in a Digital Age

Erick Erickson

The attention span of the average person has shortened considerably in the digital age. Instant on, instant off, and instant change affect the experience of connecting through words. This session will focus on capturing and keeping attention in a digital age.

 

The Author/Editor Collaboration

Marc Jolley

Mercer University Press Editor Marc Jolley will discuss the role of an editor and the ways authors and editors collaborate to make a better book

 

The Not-so Gentler Sex: How to Write Women. And Sex.

Delilah Dawson

Whether you’re trying to help your female lead leap off the page or make sure your hero’s love interest isn’t just a cardboard cut-out, there’s an art to writing women. Which leads us right into romance, sizzling chemistry, and the bedroom. Things might get bawdy, but they’ll stay honest, and this once prudish Southern girl is more than happy to answer all your questions about the inside and outside workings of women in fiction.

 

The Seven Questions That Will Revolutionize Your Writing

Lauretta Hannon

Go straight to the heart of the matter as we explore the most critical lessons and solutions for your project. Expect to be energized and inspired by this lively, thought-provoking session.

 

Submit To Your Editrix: The Pleasure of Dominating Text

Annabelle Carr

The relationship between a writer and her editor can be intense to say the least—yet it can yield transcendent results. As both a consumer nonfiction editor and a literary fiction writer, I’ve put considerable thought into that delicate balance between dominance and submission. In this session, we’ll explore the twisted psyche of the magazine editrix and learn from some of literature’s greatest copyslingers. Think of it as text therapy for your freelance career.

 

BerniceMcFaddenTrusting the Voice: The Art of Listening, Writing and Living

Bernice L. McFadden

It’s easier to trust the creative process when you also trust that a greater force is guiding that process. Bernice L. McFadden discusses her personal journey from aspiring writer to published author by moving beyond fear by believing that a greater force was guiding her creative process.

 

Writer VS. Studio

Adam Torchia

The process of screenplay development in the contemporary movie studio. This will include both the studio and writer’s perspective, the art of navigating the fine line between art and business.

 

Andrew-Hartley-02_-300x214Writing in Multiple Genres

A.J. Hartley

Most successful writers work in only genre, and trying to do otherwise can be dangerous for both your craft and your career. But only writing one kind of book has perils of its own–not least of which is boredom for the author and his or her readers. This session will explore the issues and possible solutions for writers trying to navigate writing and publishing in more than one category.

 

Writing Poems That Get Published

Kelly Whiddon

Want to write poems for a bigger audience than your mom and your cat? This session will tell you how to construct poems that sing off the page and have editors take notice.

 

IMG_1435Writing Stories That Will Sell

Nathan Edmondson

Want to write like it’s your job? Or have a job writing? All you need to do is throw some sex and gunplay into the plot, maybe blow a car or two up, and you’re halfway there. Or is there more to it?

 

 

 

Kathy writes and publishes as Cate Noble and Lauren Bach

Terminally Cheerful: an interview with Kathy Holzapfel

Kathy writes and publishes as Cate Noble and Lauren Bach

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 will inspire you. (I’m also a Life Strategies Coach and passionate about personal development and creativty.)

But most of that drive comes from remembering the pain and loneliness of chasing my writing dream for years and years with no support – or worse, with belittlement. When I finally took a creative writing class at a local college, the instructor said he thought I had what it took to be published one day. I was so shaken I couldn’t drive, but I will always remember how it felt to be encouraged. When I finally went to my first writers’ conference in the mid 80s, I felt reborn. I believe that only a writer can truly understand another writer’s joy and frustration.

C:  Who are your biggest influences? What have you learned from them? What have you learned NOT to do from them?

K: My best influences have been a handful of big name, contemporary authors – like Nora Roberts, Suzanne Brockmann, Sandra Brown, et al – who’ve been actively writing and hitting the bestsellers lists with consistently great stories. These are writers with 20-plus-year careers that I could study; people who could serve as ”virtual” role models. Even though I’d never met them, I could read their backlist and see how their writing evolved. I could read the scores of interviews published over the years and glean advice from them. And I could dissect their novels and examine the storytelling elements they used.

What I’ve learned NOT to do is to think that once you’re published, you’ve made it. That you don’t have to continue growing as a writer.

C: What are your roadblocks?

K: Too much isolation from other writers – writers with common goals. I just relocated to Georgia a year ago and underestimated the impact of being so rural. I have been in a “mastermind” type group before, with like-minded, serious writers, and only now realize how valuable that was. Hearing “pros” talk inspires me.

C: Is there anything at the conference that you’re especially excited about experiencing? Is there anything you want to ask our guest presenters?

K: Both of Saturday’s Talk Blocks have amazing panelists. If something strange happens – say, the ballroom doors becoming locked and barred, forcing everyone to stay put for an extra hour – don’t look at me.

I want to know if Chuck Wendig wrote outrageously back in grade school and high school. (Was he born that way?) And I’d like to know Sarah Domet’s take on character-driven novels versus plot-driven ones.

C: Why did you register for the conference?

K: Wanted to commit to being there, which was really more a commitment to myself as a writer.

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TIPS FOR THE WRITING JOURNEY – Part Two

novelist Kathy Holzapfel (aka Cate Noble) shares some of her tips

“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 solitude stifles creativity. Same with interacting solely with other writers. Seek a variety of people.

Identify and treat burnout. Don’t let weariness escalate to disillusionment.

CREATE BETTER LUCK

A lucky break is an opportunity to get your foot in the door. What is your action plan once opportunity knocks?

Luck is a temporary phenomenon. Luck is not going to stand outside your door forever, begging you to come play.

MLB executive Branch Rickey, the man who signed Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers, said, “Luck is the residue of design.“ Those words dovetail nicely with Louis Pasteur’s observation that “Chance favors the prepared mind.

BECOME A BETTER PLAYER

View yourself as a player in a game freely chosen. A game means it’s fun. You want to be here.

Learn the odds. View publication as a gamble and know your risk tolerance.

Study the rules of the game you agreed to play. Practice established techniques to build skills.

Memorize your personal stats. How many words-per-day do you consistently produce? How many hours to revise a 5,000 word chapter? Use those stats to set goals and measure improvement.

FAN YOUR PASSION

Be picky. You cannot be passionate about everything. Narrow your focus and specialize.

Know the difference between mere interests and true passions. Life is an endless loop of fleeting interests, but a true passion will linger to haunt and delight.

Check in with your gut and your heart. Passion is more about emotion than intellect.

GO. WRITE.

Act now. Action trumps intention.

Make messes. Experiment. Writing is rewriting. It’s playing with a lump of clay, coaxing formlessness into usefulness.

Keep things simple: At the end of the day, you either wrote or you didn’t.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

Honor all parts of the creative cycle, the moments of easy flow and the stubborn parts.

Celebrate completions. Acknowledge a project when finished and then clear the way for a brand new venture.

Your turn. What tricks have you collected along the way?

 

Creative writing professor Sarah Domet is author of "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

90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet

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 more. The prize at the end of those 21 days is a scene-by-scene outline.

But don’t relax yet. Weeks four through thirteen dig deeply into the writing and assessing of those scenes, examining details like pacing and characterization, within the three act structure. Your story is deconstructed, clarified, and strengthened following Domet’s progressive roadmap. At day 91, you celebrate a solid, first draft novel that is ready to be sent to outside readers while you take a break before tackling revisions.

As Domet points out, many famous authors, including Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen King, complete more than one novel a year. Sarah Domet’s book, 90 Days to Your Novel: A Day-by-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book, gives you an effective method to do the same.

 

catenoble

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


novelist Kathy Holzapfel (aka Cate Noble) shares some of her tips

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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 and standards of the publisher or digital platform you’ve targeted.
  • Join a professional writing association. Their trade journal or newsletter can be worth the dues. And many provide an opportunity for writers to connect online.
  1. DEVELOP A LASER-LIKE FOCUS
  • Select and execute on a single task. Multi-tasking is dead. Think: immersion.
  • Concentration skills can be sharpened through repetition. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Be in the proper mindset before you sit to work. You can’t create and edit at the same time. Remember: right brain for magic; left brain for logic.
  1. MANAGE PRIORITIES
  • Time management does not get things done; priority management does.
  • View time as one of the raw materials needed to build a project.
  • Think in financial terms. Investing time vs. spending or squandering time.
  1. START NOW
  • Author and coach Hillary Rettig defines procrastination thus: “Procrastination is a failure to start.”
  • Commit to a definite start time. Then show up. Better yet, show up early.
  • Willpower and discipline are tools – not personality traits. Keep them handy.
  • Start each morning with three magic words: “Today I will…”
  1. DEVELOP BETTER SYSTEMS
  • List your top three surefire writing techniques. Make them part of your routine.
  • Get organized, but keep the methods simple. The point is to free your creativity for writing, not exhaust yourself maintaining complex systems.
  • Utilize your optimum settings. Are you a morning writer or a night-owl? Do you need to “take ten” for every ninety minutes spent at your desk?
  • Create more efficient routines for non-writing events. Check websites like Flylady.net for ideas on faster/easier cleaning and declutttering.
  1. CONTROL HABITS
  • Identify your good and bad habits, and then commit to strengthening just one weakness. After one is fixed, tackle another.
  • Concentrate on improving key areas first. The return-on-effort is greater.
  1. IMPROVE YOUR WRITER’S SKILL SET
  • Define a successful writer’s skill set. (Imaginative? Productive?) Inventory your own skills and compare to the ideal. Hone and improve where needed.
  • Two more magic words:  Acquired skill.
  • You can learn to write better, faster, and even funnier. Mastery is a byproduct of perseverance.


Enough for now. Watch for more tips, in Part Two.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the Cate Noble website at www.CateNoble.com