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7 things I Learned from Pikes Peak Writers Conference

I spent last weekend in Colorado Springs at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. What I love about conferences are, not only the workshop know-how you stuff into your brains, but all the slightly neurotic writers you bond with. My people. (chest thump.)Pikes_Peak_Writers

Here are 7 things I learned from the weekend (I might turn a couple of these into longer blog posts later):

1. Don’t be afraid to talk to others. Even if big groups intimidate you, you can still grab someone one-on-one for a more intimate conversation. There were many people I’d love to keep in touch with. (And you may find an editor who is attending the conference as a regular attendee . . .who gives you their card—I did.)

2. NYT Bestseller Gail Carriger spoke as one of the keynote speakers. She wrote down every single event that happened to her during her debut year, from different editing rounds to cover movel emails. (note to self—do this) Did you know she had almost 3 books of her steampunk Parasol Protectorate series written by the time the first one hit the shelves? I had no idea books were written this far in advance.

3. When world building, keep in mind all aspects of the culture. History (could include myths), arts (music? Painting? Literature?), government, social groups (how are families structured? Friend groups?), ect. I’d even add geography to the list. (How does the actual land influence how people live? Can they farm? If so, they might have school systems based around that, and so on)

Adding in these details will make your story more rich and more satisfying to the reader.

4. In the workshop, we had different authors read aloud dialogue-heavy pages of their books-in-progress. The rest of us had to guess how old the characters were. Talk about an eye opener. Most characters didn’t sound close to their age when read aloud to strangers.

If you see me descending upon little old ladies trying to grocery shop in a flurry of pages, you’ll know why.

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Q: is for DON’T QUIT #AtoZchallenge

QWhenever I start a new project, I feel this tingly-tickle way down in my toes and undeniable urge telling me to charge forward. I jump into planning, and I’m an adult on a sugar-rush without actually consuming candy and calories.

Then my little bony ankles get wet and bring me to my senses. I take a moment to stare at the river I’m wading in and the tingly-tickle gives way to an oh-crap-belly-drop. What did I get myself into?

And I want to quit. The river’s too wild. The project’s too big. My novel’s too outside my comfort zone. My painting’s too much outside my skill level. The _____ is too ______.

original photo found here:
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P is for Patience in Watercolor and Writing #AtoZChallenge

PIf you’ve ever tried to pick up watercolor only to shake your fist at the ceiling lightbulbs screaming “I DEFY YOU UNIVERSE!” because, once again, your painting has been foiled and your paintbrush is permanently embedded in the far wall . . . chances are you’ve run into the key ingredient needed for successful watercolor paintings:


This is a watercolor piece in progress I started last week
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