This weekend I drove to Fort Collins to attend the annual Northern Colorado Writer’s Conference (NCWC). The food, decorations, people, and—oh yeah—writing workshops were all wonderful. I was so exhausted from stuffing my brain, I slept like a dog in its “off mode” when I returned.
Here are 5 things I learned:
1. We read it first from A Visit from the Goon Squad, “He looked short, but that was always true of famous people.” Then we met our speaker, actor and travel writer Andrew McCarthy. It’s true. Celebrities really are shorter than what they should be. Maybe because they’re larger than life on screen, we imagine they’ll be larger than life in person.
2. Always choose a conference based on the free stuff they give you. Free popcorn? Check. Free colorful bag I should use for green grocery shopping, but will never remember to? Check. Free inspirational decoupage magnet? Check. Free copy of Andrew McCarthy’s memoir? Check.
3. How to write a sex scene with beautiful sentences. You know you want to learn. List 10 nouns (bed, sheets . . .). Pick a profession. I vote dentist. Now choose 10 verbs relating to that profession (drill, brush, floss . . .). Smash the nouns and verbs to get some beautiful creative sentences (The sheets flossed their legs). Easy, right?
4. Sometimes you don’t receive the thing you want and instead receive something much better. NCWC’s creative team painted gorgeous pictures that were up for raffle. I hoped to win the Piet Mondrian-style painting for the hubster, but didn’t. Don’t be sad. Because then my name was drawn for the big kahuna prize—I’m going to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference for free! Enter victory dance.
5. Trust your creative instinct. If your gut says your manuscript needs a stronger voice difference between your guy and girl protagonist, then you need it. Or if it’s whispering your action sequences are lagging, pay attention. Your inner creative voice whines for a reason. Better to wrestle the problem out now than to receive that rejection later.