Yesterday was the long afternoon and evening writing workshop and dinner sponsored by Sisters in Crime. It was outstanding. The four hour session with literary agent Donald Maass was exhausting and demanding. We had to think and work all afternoon. I have more than ten pages (college-ruled notebook) of notes and ideas that will launch a writing frenzy on my WIP when I get home. The method he used to get those writerly brain cells working was to suggest a topic related to character or story and then start asking questions about the topic while we jotted down answers off the top of our heads.
For example, he might ask, What is the one thing your protagonist would never do? What if your protagonist did that one thing? How would she feel? What would be the worst thing that might happen as a result? All the while he would continue asking more and more questions, delivering them as writing prompts. I came away with more story ideas that you can possibly imagine.
Maass is a topnotch speaker with a great sense of humor. If you ever get a chance to attend one of his workshops, I highly recommend it.
Our dinner speaker was the wonderful mystery writer and entertaining speaker, Nancy Pickard. After dinner there were two workshops to choose from. I selected Hallie Ephron's workshop on Plot Twists to sharpen my plotting skills. Again, more pages of notes.
I'm excited. Can't wait to get back to the book. I may even steal a bit of time during the conference. If you ever wondered whether good workshops, conferences and conventions are worth the money, I'd say yesterday's money was well spent.
Tomorrow I'll write about today's convention panels.