Why Write?

On Saturday I did something I love to do. I spent the day socializing with my peeps at the Colorado Romance Writers mini-con.There was something for everyone. An editor, Kristen Sevick of Tor/Forge, for pitches. A silent auction, which I am happy to report was full of wonderful critiques and gift baskets. And of course a whole day spent sucking up the wisdom of our guest, Kara Lennox.

Kara has published sixty-eight books. Sixty-eight! In an amazing feat Kara provided a one-woman conference, doing workshop after workshop for the whole day. We started with queries, moved through three act structure and right on into movie tricks for romance writers. Her plot-fixers and agent advice finished out a marvelous day of information overload.

Even when its a topic I think I know something about, I still learn something. I took pages and pages of notes and intend on reviewing them to see what I’ve already forgotten. For example, the three act structure. I use a plot structure when I write that is based on something like three act structure. I am going to do exactly what she suggested and peek into my mid-point and see if its where it should be. Did it move during those many revisions?Kara used movies as her examples. She explained that movies are exactly three acts and when you write screenplays, there had better be three acts. Its something I do and something I’ve learned, but the way she explained it has me wanting to pull out my stopwatch and check my Disney movies for their exact mid-points and black moments.

Many authors want to ignore structure and fly by the seat of their pants, but even fly-by-fabric writers should have some sort of map. Kara said many people think the three act structure is hardwired into our brains. That we look for it, and if an author doesn’t stay close to it, the reader feels cheated.

The most exciting thing for me was seeing that even after so many books, and the ups and downs of a long career, Kara is still excited about writing. She loves her plots and characters. She’s written category romance and screenplays and hopes to publish in single title, but the common theme for the long, long, long day was her enthusiasm.

She kept us interested right to the end. I always wondered how anyone could be as prolific as a Harlequin author. How do they keep coming up with new plots that are fresh and interesting book after book. After listening to Kara, I think I know the secret.

She loves it. You can see as she talks that she feels lucky to have made a career out of romance. And who wouldn’t? A lifetime of creating new stories, new characters and new happy ever afters? Why wouldn’t everyone be struggling to do this for a living? Well, maybe because it isn’t the easiest thing to do. You have to be prolific to pay the bills and there are the rejections and revisions.

But seeing someone who has been successful and prolific and still loves writing? That’s a calling. That’s inspirational. That’s who I want to be.

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13 Comments

Filed under channeling success, Optimisim, writing craft

13 responses to “Why Write?

  1. I love seeing that kind of enthusiasm for writing. I feed off of it! It sounds like you do too. What a fantastic day you’ve described.

    I agree that the three act structure is ingrained in us. It’s those struggles and plot points that get us exactly where we need to be to fully understand the message of the story.

    • I’m going to find a good book on three act structure and read about it. I do sort of do it anyway, follow a W plot line, but after her talk I really want to read Donald Maas. She also recommended a book on screenplay called SAve the Cat that I’ve heard of before. Just the little she told us about had me looking for usage in Two and a Half Men. You can really see some of the techniques. Pope in the Pool, is used quite well! I will definitely keep an eye out for more of Kara’s workshops, especially the kind where you get to work with her. She has a lot of knowledge.

      • I’ve heard a lot of great things about Donald Maas. Also, check out Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He does a great job of breaking it down and since he’s a screenwriter as well as a novelist, he understand all aspects of it. Great resource.

      • That might have been another one she suggested. Have you ever written a screenplay? My brother has written a bunch, he’s in school now for creative writing but he took time off after high school to write screenplays. It didn’t go anywhere. Tough business. There is another book Margie Lawson reccomends, I can’t remember the title, but its written by a woman on using acting techniques for writing. So many books to buy and read and not nearly enough time!

        j

      • Ha! No, I haven’t. Maybe one day when my book gets optioned. 😉

      • Or there is that Romancing the Script Contest!

  2. Sounds like a great conference, Jessica! My RWA chapter in Toronto brings in great speakers each month, but we’ve not yet had a conference. I’d love to see a conference here and a mini one would be a good way to start.

    I love the way there is always something fresh to learn in writing. Old news is new again when it crosses our paths.

    • Minis are terrific. One day is manageable and you can usually get great attendance. We open it up to non-members too. The silent auction made some nice cash to help out with the costs, so we were able to keep it to $25 per person. That included the speaker, the room, the agent and the food. As well as goodie bags. Our president had a fantastic idea too and had a professional photographer and makeup artist you could make appointments with. $50 for 4 pics. Not bad! We also usually work with a second chapter so our events have a larger attendance. Denver is hopping with RWA chapters.

  3. I have to agree that my favorite time is socializing with all the people in our writing group and community. Although I really believe that I owe Kara a big apology for running in and out of the room all day! Yikes! Kara was a great speaker! You are so on your way too! The mini-con was great!!

    Hillary Seidl

    • Thanks Hillary,
      Kara was fantastic. Its tough at a minicon when everyone is in the same room and the appointments are all going on at the same time. I’m sure she’s done this before. I hadn’t realized she did a class for CRW in Jan. Bet that was great too!

      j

  4. Isn’t wonderful to be inspired by other writers? The enthusiasm spreads faster than the flu and is much beneficial when we go back home and to our WIP.

    Can’t wait for Nationals for a little dose of writerly energy!

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