I enjoyed the buffet breakfast one last time, then heard another great motivational speech.
8:30 Sunday August 27 – Where Do You Go From Here?
The closing speaker Pamela Fagan Hutchins said she has observed that after a conference, people typically do one of three things: they go catatonic, their heads explode from an overload of stimulation and information, or they experience 13 weeks of mouse-on-a-treadmill meteor-to-ashes writing before collapsing. She suggested giving yourself permission to write at your own pace. Her key line was, “You only have to do this today – tomorrow you can quit.” She closed with a line that mirrored the opening speaker’s message, telling the audience to find joy in the milestones.
I have a novel that has yet to find a home. I suspect the beginning has issues, so I was eager for the opportunity to run those critical first pages by an agent. Annie Hwang from Folio Literary Management generously reviewed two pages from five authors in a round table setting.
Ms. Hwang did a terrific job of explaining the elements she needed to see in the opening line and first few pages. A light bulb blinked on for me, as I understood what she meant, and how my opening was lacking those elements. I think I have a great book, but I need to focus on creating a beginning that instantly lets an agent know what the story and characters are about.
At this point, completely saturated with wisdom, inspiration, and more socializing than I typically do in months, for some inexplicable reason I began watching my Fitbit for the time. It was still set to Colorado time. I realized I was fifteen minutes late for a panel on comedy. I decided I could either just not show up, or fulfill my obligation despite arriving embarrassingly late.
10:50 Sunday August 27 – That’s Funny: How to Write Comedic & Humorous Thriller / Mysteries
Ross Cavins – moderator; Barbara Collins, Catherine Dilts, Elena Hartwell, Charley Pearson
Hopefully I redeemed myself for my late arrival with my response to whether murder could be funny. As an example, I used Carl Hiassen’s inventive and hilarious murders, such as death by dolphin sex. People who had read Hiassen nodded knowingly, as they erupted in laughter. The panelists, who all write mysteries, discussed the fine art of humor. Some had made a study of the elements of humor, explaining the difference between a joke and comedy. They even touched on that difficult concept, what makes people laugh?
As we headed back to Colorado, I typed up notes from the panels I had attended. I enjoyed this friendly conference, met several new writing friends and reconnected with others. I left with my basket full of gold nuggets of wisdom and inspiration to keep me going until my next conference.
Registration is already open for Killer Nashville 2018.