Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I wanted to post a picture of our little group at the Hawaii Writer’s Retreat, but for some reason I couldn't upload the pictures. Blasted technology! You can see it on my author website at:www.dorrainedarden.com
Dreams are powerful. We all have them, but catching them is another thing entirely. I’ve always felt you must first know what you want to have it. Writing our goals down is a great place to start. The Hawaii Writer’s Retreat has been on my list for seven years, and, sigh… I finally made it there.
There are many awesome writer’s retreats, but in my mind this was the mother of them all. And what a great mother she was. Seasoned authors attend here, still learning and growing. If you’re coming here to loll about the island, you’d best come a few days early. Once you start the six day retreat, or writing intensive, you’ll be drenched in classes. Classes before classes. Classes after classes. So many great author/speakers you won’t want to miss. Your day starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends, minus homework, at 4:30 p.m.
First let me mention our amazing author and instructor, Anne LeClaire. She had the patience of a monk and the grit of a soldier. Talented to the max, she left no rock unturned when it came to our manuscripts. This is no place for sissies. Or the ego. We were here to learn and learn we did. Anne had this uncanny ability to see exactly what was needed to turn our manuscripts into gold. She taught us how to flip our stories. She taught us to be better liars and that’s the truth! It's all in the details.
In regards to your story, ask yourself, what would happen if? Here’s an example from my latest: The Passion Diary. A pastor accidentally ends up with a woman’s diary, which changes their lives forever. Now: What if that same pastor takes a woman’s diary? Immediately the story has more flavor. Why would a man, let alone a pastor take a woman’s diary and read it? What happens now that he’s fallen in love with her? Don’t you want to know?
Oh, right. Guess I now have to figure that out. I also discovered this novel I’ve worked on off and on for four years needs to be told in first person rather than third. Holy crap. I now have to rewrite the whole ding dang thing. But you know what? I’m thankful because I just might have something in the end that will attract an agent. We like attracting agents, don’t we? And by the way, your first page should sing like Beyonce. Most agents will not turn to page two, so you must capture them on page one.
The women I worked with in class were not only talented but witty and humorous. It was a joy getting to know them and I hope to have them in my life for along time to come.
Do you know what separates the real writers from the rest? Yes, you need talent, but the key ingredient is perseverance. Some of you knew this already. Those, like myself, who have been slogging quietly along for years, believing when nobody else did. Belief in your abilities must start from the inside out.
It’s nice too, when people come along who see that you’re not just some fly by night, hokey poky, I’ll write when I want to kind of chick. I hope you are blessed beyond measure that way. I have been so grateful for those who’ve gotten aboard my dingy. We get nowhere in life without the support from others, which means we need to Pay it Forward also, which by the way, is a great movie.
In the coming days I’ll be sharing more tricks I learned to make your writing sing, so stayed tuned and keep catching those dreams.
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