OWFI 2015, part 1

OWFI 2015

Confession time—I have registered, and paid, for the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Inc. Conference twice before, but I failed to attend even one session. This year, I showed up and attended. I attended 11 workshops over two days. I am glad that I gathered the courage to get out of my car and walk inside.

The OWFI team was welcoming and organized. The Embassy Suites did a great job hosting the meetings. The presenters were outstanding!

The sessions I chose to attend were in two categories: marketing and writing. I am a good writer, but inexperienced at actually selling my work. I am also a rusty writer.

Here is a first round of reviews from the sessions I attended.

I appreciated “Revising Like  a Professional” workshop presented by Maria Snyder. She is a college professor and author who brought a very helpful set of guidelines. It was concise and upbeat. I took away a strong sense of how streamline the editing process so that it gets out of the way of the creative action of the first draft.

“Self-Editing” was presented by Sara Henning. Sara is an editor and author who brought a wealth of practical expertise to the discussion of editing your own work. I found the discussion of consistency to the especially helpful. Much of grammar and usage can be stylistic. She affirmed that as long as you have a good reason and remain consistent, it is okay to make some stylistic choices.

“How to Hook Your Reader on Page one…and Keep Settling the Hook Deeper on Every Page Thereafter” was presented by Les Edgerton. I enjoyed his dissection of the film, “Thelma and Louise” for story structure. I found myself dissecting my own novel-in-progress in the margins of my notes as he illustrated some basic story structure terms in an aggressive analysis of the film: Inciting Incident, Crossroads, Story Problem, Magic Room, Backstory. While all of these terms should be familiar to even beginner writers, Edgerton’s experience and teaching instincts brought their immediate importance into sharp focus. Sadly, I missed his keynote presentation at the Author’s Ball Friday night. I heard that it was outstanding.

“World building From the Ground Up: What color is the sky in you mind?” was presented by Trisha Leigh. Leigh is a successful cross genre author with great marketing experience. She conducted an active discussion of the nitty gritty of world building even using excerpts to help highlight the importance of getting the details of story world right. She uses Scrivener to write, as do I, so I appreciated the way her organizational skills fit my writing style. I enjoyed Leigh’s input in this and other session during the conference. She has an engaging style of marketing which is intriguing to me.

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