June Rodriguez
SARAH: I found a really cool Plot Structure sheet. It helps you to figure out the stages of the manuscript and the critical turning points. Another find was the WIP Workbook from Jeannie Ruesch. The sections she has on Characters really helped me focus on what my H/H's Internal and External conflicts were and how they tie into GMC (Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.) Using the WIP Workbook and the Plot sheet (as found on Kimberley Killion's website), I have a MUCH better grasp of my plot--and the places where I needed to ramp things up. I realized that I'd been focused on making my plot work and not developing my characters. I felt like I'd been visited by Little Bunny-Foo-Foo! Talk about seeing the light!

JUNE: Thanks for all the great information on plot structure, Sarah. I can’t wait to get started on it. Working on my internal conflict has also taken a back seat to the external conflict.

DORI: Since I write plot-driven, versus character-driven, novels it is easy to skim over the internal conflict issues, but to do so is a mistake, since plot-driven books with strong characters are better stories. The character's internal conflicts are the things that readers understand and empathize with. We can more easily put ourselves, as readers, into the character's shoes if we experience and feel his/her internal conflicts. It is also what helps us accept the things they do as being reasonable (in character) or not (out of character). Without internal conflict our characters are more two-dimensional than three. What many refer to as cardboard characters.

JACKIE: I've already started on the WIP workbook, and I love it. I began listing things about my characters that I never thought of before. Doing so made me realize the "why" behind the decisions I had my characters make, and this was important because for one, it led me to better understand what future actions they would take (this is soul of storytelling) and two, what actions they would not be taking (thus saving missteps and plot drops in my storytelling). All Hail Bunny Foo Foo!

JUNE: There are a lot of writing conferences and workshops available this year. I’m looking at a mystery cruise in November and maybe a small conference later in the year. I would love to go to the RWA National conference in July but it is too far away to fit into my budget. I know some ladies that are going and I am looking forward to hearing all about it when they get back.

DORI: I have only been to one major writing conference back in 2006, which was a conference specifically for lawyers writing fiction. The conference was held in Cape Cod. Definitely worth the money, but expensive none-the-less. This year I am planning on attending three that are affiliated with the mystery genre. March is Left Coast Crime, which will be held in Los Angeles this year. So close to home I couldn't pass up the opportunity. October is Bouchercon, which will be held in San Francisco this year and therefore an event close to home that I will go to if possible. November I'm booked on the mystery cruise being organized by our former critique group member, author Sunny Frazier. I'm working on June to go with me on the Mexican cruise, both for the vacation and for the conference. Budget and time are always an issue, but if possible I'll make it to two if not three of these events. Looking to be quite the year for writing conferences.

SARAH: There are three conferences this year that I'd like to attend. The RWA Nationals in Nashville, the Desert Rose in Scottsdale, and the Emerald City in Seattle. If I had my choice, it would be the Emerald City. My hope would be to pitch my completed MS to an editor and agent. What a prize to keep my eye on! Better make sure I cross the finish line this year, huh?!

JUNE: I like the info for the Emerald City conference. I have lived up by Seattle before. Maybe we can go together. I think I am going to go on the cruse with Dori. Can’t pass up the chance to mix writing with a vacation.

JACKIE: I don't have a conference on my immediate agenda, but I do want to attend any small venues close by. There is one in Palm Springs for all genres that is in early Fall. Every year I have had to pass on it but this year, I am going to try and sneak over there, even if it is just for a day. I will share info on this when I receive it.


JUNE: I found some good sites for you guys. They are submission trackers. We can use them to keep track of our submissions to contests and publishers.
The first one is http://www.writersdb.com/. You have to sign on first to get into the info.
The second one is http://www.duotrope.com/ and it has a great Deadline Calendar that tells you the publisher and the theme of submission they are looking for.

DORI: I recently discovered duotrope as well. It is a wonderful source for keeping writers informed of contest and publishing opportunities. I will certainly check out the other site that you've listed. Can never have enough resources. Now the issue is producing work for submission. As we all discussed Friday night, this is the year everyone wants to complete their first novel. In the meantime, it would be nice to chalk up some publishing credits and if earn a few dollars in the meantime. However, that means writing short stories, articles, etc. that take time away from writing those novels. Key will be to find balance. I have found a lot of satisfaction in finishing up a short story or article, while I'm working my way to the end of a novel.

SARAH: I hadn't heard of either site. I'm looking forward to scoping them out. Thanks for sharing, June. Another site full of tips and charts for tracking submissions is Jenna Petersen's Passionate Pen. Before I had the good luck to find you ladies, I referred to that site religiously.

JACKIE: Excellent, ladies. I look forward to gathering them all up.

JUNE: The best thing about our group is that not only do we work together online but we do get together in person every week. And this week Sarah updated our Blog with a new WIP progress bar. Sarah thanks for being our go-to girl for the latest and greatest in the blogosphere.

DORI: Kudos Sarah for making us all look better on-line. As I told all of you Friday night, when you are talking webese it's a foreign language to me. Glad you all can figure it out, since I don't ever plan to. The WIP bar looks great and will certainly up the ante in putting the pressure on getting the words written, especially when my bar is barely out the shoot and way behind the rest of you.

SARAH: Not a problem! Nothing like putting it all out there for the world to see! I love the challenge of figuring out the HTML "stuff". I'd really like to take a class in website design. Additionally, I think a lesson or two in making banners and titles would be a benefit, too. That way when the time came to make my own video trailer, I would know how to contribute to the process.

JACKIE: You did a great job, and made working with the HTML "stuff" not seem so daunting. Thanks a bunch. It is beautiful!

JUNE: Maybe we can get some help from my son. He is teaching himself how to do You Tube videos and I already asked him to teach me.
3 Responses
  1. Hi ladies -- I'm thrilled you're finding the WIP Notebook useful! Thank you for the mention and I hope it continues to help you in your writing.

  2. A conference you may not have considered is the Public Safety Writers Conference in June. This year we have 4 small-press publishers attending. I think you are familiar with Treble Heart. The conference is in Vegas, you can choose to attend a single day. Best way to get a foot in the door is to meet a publisher in person.

  3. Thanks Jeannie, Your book is a great resource to getting the basics down. I'm working with it step by step. Thanks for stopping by.

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