MidWest Writers Workshop & Writer’s Village University

The workshop was incredible!  The intensive session I attended on Thursday alone was worth the price of the whole event, and there were sessions after that and two more days of activities as well!

The intensive session was led by Kent Krueger.  It was “Writing the Novel:  The Essentials.”  We worked on writing a blurb to use as a guide for our story, then moved on to talk about the importance of first lines.  We drafted first lines and many people (me included) were bold enough to share.  There were so many terrific lines!

From blurbs and first lines, we went on to drafting opening paragraphs.  Again, there were a lot of great ones to share.  I wound up with a whole new first line and first paragraph for my manuscript, and confirmed my thought that I should switch to first-person.

We played around with redrafting famous first lines to change the tone.  We talked about narration and plot and the importance of having a writing routine.  It was an amazing workshop.

And then the rest of the conference went on.  We heard from agents about writing good queries.  We learned a lot about the publishing industry from Jane Friedman (subscribe to her blog if you are thinking of trying to publish – she has great information).  Brave people (not me) made pitches to agents.  Some folks (me included) submitted 5 pages of a manuscript for evaluation by an author.  Kent Krueger was gracious and kind and supportive and gave me good feedback on my five pages.  I’ve already worked with my new opening line and paragraph, along with his suggestions, and have a much stronger first chapter of the manuscript.

Along with all the great advice from Krueger, the thing I took away from this conference was the feeling.  The atmosphere was wonderfully creative and supportive and exciting!  I loved that feeling.  I found myself missing it and anticipating returning next year (and being brave enough to make a pitch).

That craving led me back to F2K at Writer’s Village University.  I hope to find a creative atmosphere online while learning more and practicing my craft more.  I’ve done F2K once before and enjoyed it (though I wasn’t able to complete the final assignment).  I hope to finish all the assignments this time around, and then I hope to look into some other courses on the site.  I need a writers fix!