In case you missed it, last week I wrote about the first day of the Lancaster Christian Writers Conference. This week I’m summarizing the second day. Saturday was a much more full day. It started at 8:30 AM which wouldn’t have been nearly so painful if I hadn’t woken up at 3:30 AM with insomnia, finally giving up trying to sleep at 5:30. So, after much coffee, devotions, and finishing reading Walking on Water, I logged into the conference.
Keynote 2 by Roseanna White
I’m not going to lie, I had a little bit of a hard time with this one. You all know, if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, how much I hate the modern writing rules. However, Roseanna managed to put it in new terms for me that I didn’t really like but had to acknowledge might be true. Here are a few points.
- Being passionate about something means being willing to suffer for it
- Undaunted used to be applied to horses that were untamed or unbroken. We, as writers, love that idea. But the truth is, undaunted horses have to learn to thrive in harsh environments, and in order to be the best we can be, we actually need training – someone to push us.
- Make sure the trade-off is worth it for you–giving up some freedom in order to reach more readers.
Michele Chynoweth: Speakers Sell More Books
Again, not my favorite subject, which is why I tuned in. You all know how I feel about speaking, despite having spoken professionally for years. But, she made some very good points.
- Workshop leaders/speakers sell their books. Other people don’t.
- You can help others by giving your takeaway message…Find your purpose.
- Giving your signature story is the most impactful thing you can do
I know none of that is especially ground-breaking…but I guess what I most took away from this is that, as much as I don’t really want to do public speaking, there is actually the possibility that God plans to use me that way and I should open my heart to it.
P Robinson: Men are More than B&W Part 2
This was just as good as yesterdays, but today concentrated on male tropes. Making sure the male protagonist is realistic, and a good role model. Here are three top things I took away:
- Men THINK differently. Their thoughts will be short and to the point. They don’t drag it out the way women do.
- Make sure the men have a good spiritual arch, and can act as a role model for male readers.
- Allow the men to have flaws! Make them realistic, not the way you WANT them to be.
Roseanna White: What Are You Looking At?
I LOVED this one. Okay, so it wasn’t necessarily, well, necessary, for writers. But getting a behind the scenes look at how book covers are made was SO interesting! Quick things that I never thought about:
- The cover always:
- Invokes an emotion, a question, or an interest from the book
- tells you the time period
- tells you something about the book
In addition, book covers have had to change to increase the title and author name font size so that people can read it in an Amazon thumbnail!
6 Book Writing Secrets – I’m not going to tell you who by because I am speaking badly about him
Okay, I hate to say it, but…I tuned out after “Secret” number 3. First, he increased the number to 14, randomly. Second, most of what he said was just advertising his own books and talking about how they did well or did not do well (which was never his fault). Not saying he doesn’t have good books…just saying I ended up tuning out of his talk. Also, in the faculty question and answer session, he said that he has written more books than he has read in the last like fifteen years…and I just feel like there are so many issues with that. What writer hasn’t read 30 books in fifteen years???
JP Robinson: Men are More than Black and White Pt 3
Yes, this was my favorite series of the conference. In this one, he concentrated on archetypes and tropes and how to overcome them. Things that stood out:
- The thing that differentiates your book from all the others with the same plot/trope/archetype, is characterization.
- Your character should be 3-dimensional: he/she should have three specific aspects: physical, intellectual and spiritual. Most secular novels cut out spiritual. Most Christian novels cut out physical.
- The simplest test for sexist remarks is to substitute the opposite sex. Similarly, the simplest test for prejudicial language is to substitute an imaginary people group.
All in all, it was an excellent workshop and I learned more than I wanted because that means I have a lot of work to do. 🙂