The past four Sundays of November, eight other writers and I attended the River City Writers' WRITE BETTER FICTION Workshop. River City Writers is a new endeavor by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore to offer various lessons to writers who want to leverage Chris & Jim's combined expertise as published, working writers. (see their website for more information)
The atmosphere was fun, comfortable, and respectful. We had a good mix of writers with various experience and skill. A lot of us knew each other from past cons and coffeehouses but we also had people who were new to the crowd. I believe they felt as welcome as the rest of us.
Topics covered included; establishing strong openings and setting, theme, plotting (even from a pantsing point-of-view,) characterization, looking forward plot-wise toward twists, turns, and climaxes of the work. Also, Jim & Chris hit us with the red-ink to get our grammar knocked into shape.
Indeed, I came out with a good feel for making my story--a contemporary horror tale--reach novel length. I pantsed my way through 8200 words* and it felt more solid than I'd imagined pantsing would feel. I also picked up on grammar weaknesses I tend to repeat. It is a useful skill to spot when I am doing that now and correct myself as I go.
The River City Writers will be offering more workshops, retreats and events covering everything from writing, to publishing, to book sales/signing events. I am looking forward to seeing what they offer. I will more than likely be participating in many of their events and workshops as I can manage!
Thanks, Chris & Jim!
(* = The wordcount wasn't the goal. The workshop was not about writing a novel in a month. It was about being more thoughtful writers and establishing solid bases from which to launch our stories.)