One last post about the 2008 meeting of the Romance Writers of America in July, this time featuring at least one tip from each session I attended.
1. Assign your character three or five character traits and then show at least one in every scene the character appears in. (Cherry Adair, “How to Layer and Texture Your Novel for High Impact”)
2. Put as much action into every page of your manuscript as possible without being frenetic. (Cherry Adair, “How to Layer and Texture Your Novel for High Impact”)
3. “Go to sleep with a wonder, not a worry.” (Eric Maisel, “Creativity for Life”) That is, consciously think about points in your book when you go to bed. Your brain will work on problems in non-REM sleep and answers will be near-conscious when you wake up.
4. Generate mental energy quickly by falling back in love with words. (Eric Maisel, “Creativity for Life”)
5. Create in the "middle of things." We are always in the "middle of things "and should keep our “writing muscles” toned by continuing to write anyway. It hurts one's writing to believe there are events during which one can’t write. (Eric Maisel, “Creativity for Life”)
6. Become an anxiety expert. “Choosing provokes anxiety.” Because writing a book involves a long series of choices, it provokes anxiety. The writer needs to try out and find methods that reduce anxiety for them, whether it’s deep breathing, guided visualization, energetic activities, silent screaming, or something else. (Eric Maisel, “Creativity for Life”)
7. Create family agreements so that everyone in the family accept your goals and your writing time and process. (Eric Maisel, “Creativity for Life”)
8. Check the demographics of who has viewed your book trailer. Change the key words if it appears you are attracting the wrong audience. (Diana Holquist and Lindsey Faber, “The Down and Dirty Guide to Making Your Own Book Trailer Videos”)
9. You can build name recognition and get speaking experience by volunteering to talk at literacy days at local libraries and school libraries. They don’t care if you’re not yet published. (Ruth Kaufman, Theresa Meyers, Berri Russell, Gina Black, and Michelle Ann Young, “Making a Splash, Even if You’re Waiting to Sell”)
10. Cross-genre books often run longer because you’re trying to fulfill the needs of two different groups of readers. Not every publisher makes allowances, so it’s important with a cross-genre novel to go through every sentence and ask whether it can be condensed or dropped. (Robin Owens, Ann Aguirre, Catherine Asaro, and Cindy Hwang, “Writing—and Selling—Crossover Fiction”)
11. Give each character a motto and a set of core values and have the character’s behavior and choices (and sometimes conflicts) reflect these. (Susan Gable, “Story Superglue: Make It Stick with Readers”)
A three-CD-ROM set containing MP3 files of most of the conference sessions can be purchased at https://www.billspro.com/order/rwa/index.html.