Monday, April 21, 2008

Today-not a book, but a workshop

Like any business, a writing career costs money before you make money. We each have outgo to learn the craft and improve our product (writing) with the risk of no income. With that said, where a writer puts the expense money is their decision. My friends on this blog have learned books make up a less costly investment in our business, so we've set out to give advice on which books help the most.

Today I'd like to focus, not on a book, but on a workshop. If you've read my individual blog, you know about my recent trip to Tulsa to take DiAnn Mill's fiction mentoring clinic. Yes, it costs more than a book and involves gas, hotel and meals, but compared to other helps I've received, the value is what's important.

DiAnn presented three packed days of instruction from determining the best title to preparing your proposal.

An example of what was studied comes on the second day. DiAnn loves to give exercises and homework. Writing from your antagonist's POV opens new visions to your story. Writing your most painful life experience made me cry while I wrote, but deepened the emotion when I transferred that to my protagonist.

Nine people discussed my first line hook and my story hook. Do you think that doesn't help? Then I learned by helping others decide their best beginning line.

In the "Plots that Dance" segment, DiAnn taught me the difference between conflict and tension. One or the other should be on each page of the manuscript.

DiAnn gave us this guideline. "No backstory on the first fifty pages." What a difference that makes in grabbing the reader. We built power into the first five pages of our manuscript while we shared together.

For those considering a little bit more outlay to invest in your business, go to DiAnn Mill's website and find out when and where her next workshop will be. I guarantee no disappointment. The cost is minimal, but the value is immense.
Happy writing,


  1. I attended DiAnn's Fiction Mentoring Clinic in Houston. I have to agree - this is the best workshop I have ever attended.

  2. Janet, hearing your experience makes me wish I was there with you. Sounds like you had a blast! All of us need to try to go to one of her workshops together.

  3. Wow Janet! Sounds like you learned a ton and had fun!

  4. Janet,
    You description reminded me of my own time with DiAnn at her workshop in Houston. I learned so much in those few days. I'm glad you were able to go.


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