Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Me: How the Muse Online Writers Conference Helped Me

Many of you wanted to know how The Muse Online Writers Conference went this past week. It was overwhelming, but great. I signed up for way too many courses and wasn’t able to participate in many of them. However, a few of the workshops came at the right time.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been struggling with the last quarter of my manuscript. Something just wasn’t feeling right. Then, it hit me. I was using the wrong slant and the wrong killer. Ugh. Yeah. Big problem.

The first romantic suspense I wrote was dark. Most of the r/s I read are dark, but I do read light r/s, too. This manuscript was light. I was okay with that. I really was. In fact, when Allison Brennan told me I’d have to chose between writing dark and light so my publisher would know how to market me and I could create a following, I thought I’d made the right choice. I even went through my other story ideas and found some of them were dark, but some were light. Hey, I could turn the darks into lights, right?


If that’s not my voice, it won’t work. So, back to the drawing board I went. As it turns out, I won’t have to do a lot of changes. The interaction between my hero and heroine will remain the same for the first part of the book anyway. However, because I decided on another killer, I needed some information before I could develop him into a realistic character. That’s where The Muse Online Writers Conference came in handy.

I took two workshops on mental illnesses and was able to get a great sense as to how my killer thinks and how he would evolve during the story. I also was lucky enough to learn how he can murder his victims through a workshop about poisons. So, now it’s a matter of putting this new knowledge to work.

What about you? What did you learn from the conference? What was your favorite workshop and why?


  1. I'm so glad you got something out of the muse!!!! I was pretty bummed when I was denied a space with agents. I guess that turned me off to the event. I did print out a mass of great work sheets and those were invaluable!!

  2. Glad you got a lot out of it. I printed out a lot of handouts and cut and pasted the chats from some of the classes I was interested in. I haven't had a chance to go through all the information, but it looked like a lot of good stuff.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed the muse! Had some really good luck with my Pitch Sessions too...

    But that's a whole different story ;)

    Glad you got some great stuff out of the works shops!!!

  4. Sounds like you had a great (if busy) time!

  5. I just hope next year my week isn't already full! I missed one day due to a seminar and two more due to a book festival. I had fun doing my chat, but I really wasn't able to get into all the workshops I wanted...

    Glad it helped you though! Happy rewrites.

  6. I didn't have the opportunity to attend this year but I plan to register for 2010. It sounds like there were some great workshops offered.

  7. Glad it was such a great experience for you.

  8. Glad you learned so much! Sounds like a really valuable workshop! Not sure how online works, that's new to me!

  9. T.Anne: There were so many writers trying for the pitch spots. If you didn't get your name in right away, there wasn't much of a chance. If you signed up, you can still go through the forum to copy and paste info from the workshops.

    Roni: I haven't had a chance to go through many of my chats or workshops either. In fact, I still have to copy and paste a whole bunch of them.

    Marybeth: Do tell!!!

    Janna: Yeah, but it was worth it, and FREE!!

    L. Diane: Too bad you were so booked up. I signed up for your chat, but missed it. I'll have to snag it from the transcripts.

    Jane: I'll post a reminder once registeration opens up again.

    Dawn: Sanks.

    Jody: If you've ever taken an online course through a Yahoo or similar group, you'd see this is set up in the same way.

  10. I enjoyed the conference as well, though the last 3 days I was so busy I didn't have time to complete any assignments, which was a bit disappointing. But, the first 4 days were excellent. I really enjoyed Devon Ellington's Dialogue workshop -- I actually hadn't planned on attending or participating in that one, but did it on a whim. I got some fantastic feedback, and was very encouraged through the few assignments I submitted.

    Christine Amsten's worldbuilding workshop was also excellent and very useful -- I ended up working out some logistics of a world I'd been kicking around in my brain for awhile, which was unexpected.

    I'll definitely return for next year's conference. There's still plenty of material I haven't gone through yet as well.

    Like you, I didn't bother with most chats. I went to a few and found them to be fairly useless, though I plan to get the transcripts for some. It was the waiting and waiting and not necessarily being able to ask your question that put me off... and the participants (or guests) were often very slow typers. :) So, transcripts it is.

    Thanks again for letting us know about the conference! I really appreciate it, and it was definitely worthwhile. Time consuming, but worthwhile. :)