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For all of my Dallas peeps –

Y’all really might want to take a look at this month’s meeting of the Dallas Area Romance Authors. This month’s speaker is Winnie Griggs, and she’s presenting on Secondary Characters and Telling Details. Now tell me, which one of us doesn’t need help with these???

The workshop is Saturday, May 23rd at the Holiday Inn Express in Richardson (I75 and Campbell Road). There is a $5 door fee for nonmembers. Runs from 9.30 am – 11.30 am, and they serve a continental breakfast.

Secondary Characters – Drawing on the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,” Winnie will discuss: What is a secondary character; the three broad classifications of secondary characters; the many roles secondary characters play in fulfilling their story purpose, and the effective use of these key functions, classifications, and roles to enhance and further the primary story plot.

Telling Details – Using examples from published works, Winnie will also discuss how to use the right details to add color and vividness to scenes. She will discuss a checklist covering the key dimensions of setting, character, and mood; a filter to help writers choose just the right details for particular scenes; and a process to help writers skillfully weave these select details into scenes in an unobtrusive manner.

Okay, for those of you that haven’t been following the bouncing ball…

I’m doing a two-week program called “Fast Draft” (again, courtesy of Candace Havens – thanks, Candace!). I got my 20 pages today (my own little goal), so after 6 days, I should be at 120 pages, right?

Well, not quite! I’m actually at 80. DOH!!! A full 40 pages behind. However, I’m still plugging away, and will continue until at least Friday.

In the meanwhile, today’s burnt offerings included my creation of the first love scene between my Viking hero and our heroine, the captive Frenchwoman from Fontevraud Abbey. I was fanning myself before I was done. Who knew that a Viking and a woman raised in a convent could make the Song of Solomon sound so good?

I’ll keep you posted on “Fast Draft”.

Meanwhile, for a little entertainment, here’s this fun little Viking cartoon – I promise, this one looks nothing like the barbarian hotness in Odin’s End!

Viking-ness

Viking-ness

Okay, so I went to Saturday’s meeting of Dallas Area Romance Authors, a chapter of Romance Writers of America (and if you write anything that might be considered “romance”, you need to join!). I caught up with two great people Aelle Ables and Pat Van Wie, and picked up some great pointers not just from the meeting, but specifically from them!

One of these was a series of online writing classes by Candace Havens, a Dallas-area author and nationally syndicated entertainment columnist. One of her online writing classes is called “Fast Draft”. Basically, you commit to writing a certain number of pages or words every day for 14 days. Now think about this. If you commit to writing 20 pages a day for 14 days, you’ve got 280 pages – you’re almost done!

It’s almost like one of my perpetual diets (I swear, I’m always dieting, but that’s another post altogether). I have a goal number of pounds and a target date to lose them. Except I’m trying to add pages (not lose pounds). And I’m a heck of a lot more likely to reach my goal!!!!!

When I heard this, I almost freaked out. My current project, Odin’s End, contains several secondary story lines, a lot of historical research, and Old Norse vocabulary, and I figured there was no way that I could participate in this. But never fear – the goal is to create nothing more than a first draft. That’s it. And you can even have a crappy first draft at that.

Now there’s no way for me to do justice to this concept. I’m at the end of day 2, and I’ve done 38 pages out of 40. And for someone like me who’s an endless “tinkerer” with a chapter or scene, this works. Because I’m going to tinker with them anyway. Might was well give myself permission after having at least gotten through my first draft! WHOO HOO!

And yes, looking at the scenes I’ve scripted, they are crappy. But they’re there. And they’ve really helped me link together my sequence of events in my book, as well as identify areas of research before I actually get to them. For veteran folks – you’re probably saying “So what?” and I’ve gotta luv ya for that! But, newbie that I am, this is really working!

In case you’re wondering, Candace’s online classes require membership in the Write_Workshop: The Writing Workshop group on Yahoo!

Check it out – if nothing else, join for free and see which of Candace’s classes might be for you. I’m definitely looking into others (only after Fast Draft, of course)

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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