As some of you know, I spent last weekend attending David Wolverton’s writing workshop, Write That Novel, in Indianapolis. It was my first ever workshop/conference/retreat and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I anticipated an intense couple of days where we would be writing down so much stuff our hands would cramp. Turned out this workshop was more relaxed, with David sitting back in his chair and describing his approach to writing, sprinkled with all sorts of anecdotes. I suspect he didn’t cover nearly as much territory as he would have liked, but since he emailed us a copy of the workshop notes, I have all the info I need right on my Kindle.
The workshop was a smorgasbord of topics, including how to make your story resonate with the widest audience, how to maximize your income from books (including the handling of movie rights, which I suspect none of the attendees are ever going to have to worry about), and what to consider when negotiating with a publisher.
David is also dabbling in self-publishing, and he spent time explaining what an author needs to do to self-publish a book readers will want to read and how to market it, including how to write back cover copy and where to purchase artwork for cover designs.
One concept he discussed at length involved try/fail cycles. I already knew the MC should struggle and fail through most of the story, succeeding only at the end, but David told us that each story needs (at least) three major try/fail cycles, each more difficult than the last, and each requiring a larger percentage of the book in order to tell.
Overall, David was able to keep me interested for two eight hour sessions, which is no easy feat. So now I’m motivated to jump back into my stories and apply what I’ve learned. Wish me luck!