Monday, January 16, 2012

Writing Workshops for Fun & Free

I hosted a workshop this weekend for my local writing (and Nanowrimo) group, which I co-lead. It was a dialogue workshop entitled Toil & Trouble: Theatre Techniques to Sharpen Dialogue presented by the amazing Tom Leveen, local YA author of Party and the upcoming Zero (April). If you ever get the chance to hear him talk, do - his energy and passion for writing is inspiring.

Tom Leveen telling (and showing) his tips for revising dialogue

I've hosted several workshops and author talks for my group over the past few years (including one with Aprilynne Pike, who if you ever get the chance to hear her talk on the industry, do not miss it - her knowledge on the business of writing is very informative). They are a lot of fun to plan and throw, although the authors I can bring in are limited since we are non-profit and therefore have no money to pay appearance fees. However, I have been able to find some awesome local authors who, once they hear I can pack a room with 40 eager writers, are willing to waive their fee. ;)

If you truly want to become a professional writer, keep on constant watch for writing workshops, and attend as many as you can. They are a great way not only to learn more about the craft but also meet fellow writers that could potentially become critique partners - and good friends. And the workshop energy is infectious, so when it ends you'll be raring to get back to your story as soon as you hit the door!

Also, you might find out that if you publish a young adult novel and live in the Phoenix area you might earn the right to attend the local young adult author dinners they throw. How awesome would that be?! You never know what you'll learn at one of these things!

Sign up for local bookstore and library email lists - they sometimes host free or cheap workshops and conferences. Also check community colleges' continuing education classes. Browse for local writing groups, and your nearest Nanowrimo Region for seasonal and sometimes year-round programs (like mine). There are so many ways to find writing programs if you take the time to look for them, so consider it part of your writing research and make the effort. Don't be the stereotypical author, huddled at home over your keyboard - attend something! You may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

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