Here’s the next installment of my adventures at the RWA conference.
After lunch was over, the workshops began. I went to Hips Don’t Lie: Body Language Between the Sexes, where I learned humans are vulnerable in three main areas: the neck, the heart, and the groin. When you see someone covering those areas (crossing arms or legs, hand at the throat, arms down with hands over the groin, etc…), they’re trying to protect themselves both physically and emotionally. According to the presenter, straight men aren’t good at reading body language, but women and gay men are especially good at it. Interesting, eh? Remember that when you’re writing and trying to show the difference between your hero and heroine’s POV.
Next, I went to Discovering Story Magic. This was a two hour workshop and the presenter still didn’t have enough time to go through everything. However, I was finally able to see how a storyboard works and am planning on using it as a tool when I’m evaluating manuscripts as well as editing my own. The presenter also showed us how to make a character grid to make it easier to verify the character’s arc. If you have a chance to attend this workshop, I recommend it.
After the workshops were over, I met up with my roommate again. We went out for dinner and hung out in our hotel room the rest of the night. We were both a little overwhelmed and wanted to get a good night sleep. Kind of boring, I know, but I’m a workshop whore, so I needed to have a fresh mind in the morning.
I started my day on Thursday with Virna De Paul’s workshop. Virna did a great job presenting Bargain Hunter: Getting the Best Bang for Story Structure and Turning Points. Okay, maybe I’m a little biased because she’s my friend and it was cool to see her teaching the workshop, but I still believe this is a worthwhile workshop.
Next on the agenda was Not Another Sex Scene. I have too many notes on this workshop. I’ll write another post all about what I learned in this workshop after I’m finished going through my first RWA experience.
I was very excited about my next workshop: The Romantic Suspense Market: Advice from the Pros. Best-selling authors Karen Rose and Stephanie Tyler were paired up with Shauna Summers, editor for Bantam Dell. My biggest take-away from this workshop is that you need to be able to express how your characters and story are different from all the other romantic suspense novels out there. The same advice would apply to any genre. Editors want a unique twist to stories that have been done before, but they don’t want something so far out there that they won’t be able to sell it. Readers have expectations, too, so both the writer and editor must keep that in mind.
The next workshop I attended was Got High Concept? by Lori Wilde. I must admit, I’ve heard conflicting reports on what exactly is “high concept”. Everything I’d known it to be was wrong according to Lori. It’s not Jaws meets Harry Potter. It’s not the back cover blurb or a series of hooks. So, what is it? I can’t say I have a good enough grasp on the definition to be able to teach anyone what it is. Lori sells all her books using high concept. However, other authors and agents at the convention said it wasn’t necessary. A good book is a good book. Period.
If you’ve gone to a conference, were you overwhelmed? Did your mind feel like it was going to explode? Did you party at night or was your brain too fried? What do you think of “high concept”?