Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

writing- #SiWC16 Keynote by Donald Maass October 26, 2016

Transcribed from my notes at Surrey International Writing Conference last weekend..  While I was sitting in the front row, I wasn’t typing, so he was speaking faster than I could record.  This is what I got.  Others may have something different!

Donald Maass keynote SiWC luncheon. Sunday, October 23, 2016

We live in a very angry age.  Everyone wants you to listen to their complaint and live as they do.

SiWC is our place of positivity. Our tribe.  We want to live here all the time, but it ends.

So as SiWC 2016 comes to an end, how will we survive the year until SiWC 2017?

We will write.

We will schedule writing time, give ourselves daily word count or time goals, put Xs on a calendar, work with a critique group so we have deadlines, read books on writing.

(Check his blog Writer Unboxed for ideas).

 Why do we write?

Orwell says it’s for hubris, aesthetics, a historical impulse, or to lead the way.

Susan Orlean says it’s to learn about the world

American Christian Fiction Writers say it’s to answer your own questions

Jodi Picoult says it’s to puzzle out the questions she doesn’t understand.

Exercise: For a minute free write why YOU write.  (Everyone writes)

Take that ^ exercise and make it visible, remind yourself daily why you do what you do.  Don’t worry about publishing.  Just sit down every day and write what you need to write.

When we write we connect to others.  When we read, others’ experiences become our own and we are no longer alone.

We are passionate about writing- we’re excited about conveying truth

Matter in motion creates energy.  Writing what matters creates energy.

Life disappears in a moment.  There might not be a chance beyond the writing session today.  Write your best truth in the best way possible.  Today.

#ThisDayWeWrite

(Donald at the podium, me directly in front of him with the long white and purple hair)

 

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21 Days of Writing 21st Century Fiction: Donald Maass’s full list of prompts July 7, 2013

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:56 pm
Tags: , ,

Whoa. This should keep me thinking for a while!

Victoria Bell

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while: here’s a compilation of the 21 tweets that agent Don Maass sent out on Twitter for 21 days from the end of August, beginning 21 days before the release of his brand-new book on writing craft, Writing 21st Century Fiction. I’ve preordered said book, because judging by the taste I got at the “Writing 21st Century Fiction” workshop in Colorado Springs back in April, it’s going to be amazing.

To steal a line from this sneak peek over at Writer’s Digest:

The notion of writing fiction that is highly personal and filled with conflict, emotion, and intensity is at the core of Don’s book. His approach to fiction writing is one that encompasses both those authors seeking commercial success, as well as those who write for the love of the craft; that is, literary writers.

My goal with my own writing is to…

View original post 775 more words

 

What else did you do at SIWC? October 26, 2012

Aside from the pitch and blue pencil time, The Surrey International Writers’ Conference offers an amazing variety of workshops and keynote addresses.  As a teacher, I love learning, and it was wonderful to learn from the following:

Friday Keynote by Jane Espenson– screenwriter of Buffy, Husbands, Once Upon a Time, etc.  She’s very funny and inspired us with the tale of achieving her dream to be a writer.  Our words have power: “SO SAY WE ALL!”

How to Be a Well Paid Blogger by Carol Tice.  In the next few months, you’ll see some changes to my blog, and many of them will be because of this rather astonishing workshop.

What to do with the Back story by Diana Gabaldon.  This workshop focused on how to subtly introduce elements of back story without stopping the action of the story.  To be honest, my favorite part of this workshop was when I raised my hand to ask a question, and Diana called on me by name.  <g>  In my blue pencil, we referenced things covered in this workshop, so I have specific things to remember…

Diving Into the Past a panel of historical fiction writers including CC Humphreys, Mary Balogh, Anne Perry, Jack Whyte, and in the audience, Diana Gabaldon who contributed now and then to the discussion when asked.  I was pitching to an agent during part of this session, and missed half of this panel.  The biggest tip I took from this was that you can research forever and never start writing.  Research enough to get going, and then write!  Don’t stop the fluency of writing to research, stick a question in square brackets and keep going.  Later, after the first draft is done, you can go back and figure out what you needed to know.

Keynote speaker for Friday night was Robert Sawyer who told us not to track trends and figure out what’s hot.  Rather, we should figure out our story and speak to the world the things we have to say, because we became writers to tell our own stories.   We have to trust others will love what we love.

The Night Owl event was Shock Theatre 5 with Michael Slade narrating a radio play mash up of classic horror stories, voiced by Jack Whyte, Anne Perry, Diana Gabaldon, Sam Sykes, with folly work by KC Dyer and a special appearance by CC Humphreys.  It was hilariously bad.

Saturday morning J. J. Lee gave an emotional keynote that had the crowd teary eyed and on its feet.  We write magic.

I missed the first session of workshops waiting in line for 70 minutes to see about getting a second agent appointment.  When I finally reached the front of the line it was 11:30 and I had to fly into the room to meet with Diana Gabaldon for my blue pencil.  I was so close to missing my appointment, I nearly had an apoplexy.

Taking Control, Advanced Social Media with Sean Cranbury was interesting.  His focus is essentially the anti-thesis of Carol Tice’s.  He believes in free sharing of information and celebration of the arts of joyful community.  However, he had a lot of good ideas about layout and professional presentation.  These will be reflected in some up coming changes to this blog.

History: Riding the Wave with CC Humphreys.  Poor Chris was feeling quite ill, but he was enthusiastic and had lots of interesting stories to tell about writing and researching A Place Called Armageddon, his latest book.  Chris and I had a mutual Fluevog admiration society going on throughout this conference.

The keynote on Saturday evening was Susanna Kearsley with whom I’d been speaking during the book fair, trying to place ‘where do I know your name.’  She had no suggestions, but when she was called up to do the keynote I had a face palm moment. So embarrassing.

There was a Night Owl movie event, but I was too tired at this stage.  My plan was to go back to my hotel for an early night, but in the end, I sat in the lobby chatting with Val King and Randy McCharles of Calgary instead.

Sunday morning, I was very slow moving.  I was a bit late for the morning key note by Diana Gabaldon who spoke about something moving and amusing, but I’ve completely forgotten the details.

Luckily Ursula recorded it, and here is every word!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhgHPPMuMNs

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I missed the first workshop session standing in line to  book and then having another agent pitch appointment.

My final workshop was Rhythm of the Word by Sam Sykes who showed how prose can be empowered by playing with rhythm in structure and dialogue.

Jack Whyte and me at the 1920s themed Banquet at SIWC2012

The final keynote was by New York agent Donald Maass.  He declared this a time of positive change and growth in publishing, and challenged us to use our words to write works that will CHANGE THE WORLD!

We had something to do every day from about 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.  Every meal we sat with other writers, agents, publishers, or editors discussing projects, life, and writing.  There were 700 like minded souls sitting down to dine each meal, and just that was completely brilliant.  I loved sitting with new people each day and discovering new things!  It felt like ‘home’ in the most amazing way.  It was wonderful meeting authors I love, getting my photograph taken with JJ Lee, Diana Gabaldon, Anne Perry, and Jack Whyte.  Last time I attended SIWC I was too shy to approach any pros for photos.  It’s fun being able to put up photos in my class room.  Next time, I will take more photos of the people I mix and mingle with, so I’ll have “I knew them when!” photos! 🙂

 

3 levels of story: Donald Maass workshop June 7, 2012

I am beyond excited to be going to Surrey International Writers’ Conference next fall (in 133 days!).   I attended SIWC in 2009 after I’d written Grace Awakening, and successfully pitched it there.  I was a walk in registration on the Saturday that year.  This year,  I registered and paid on the first day I could for the full conference.  As a result, I have appointments with agent Victoria Marini and with Diana Gabaldon!  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

In the midst of my excitement, I’m feeling the pressure to be finishing up book 3, Grace Awakening Myth, and getting back to work on Grace Beguiling.  Beguiling is the book I was in France to research in 2011, and it has already had some help from Diana Gabaldon, as she responded to some historical questions about Roman Catholic practice that I’d posted on the Compuserve Writers’ Forum.   I was poking around the Forum today, looking for some interesting conversations and tips, and I came across links to this blog post that is the notes that L. S. Taylor  took at SIWC in a masters’ class by agent Donald Maass in 2011.    Maass handles some serious talent, and I’ve heard him speak before.  This workshop is so full of fantastic stuff that I thought I’d direct you to the link.   I’m going to be chewing on this for a while.  Taylor records, “Fiction that keeps us enthralled works on three different levels at once: the macroplot, the scene structure, and the line-by-line tension. A throbbing beat that keeps us dancing/reading, enthralled.”

Click here to read Taylor’s notes from Maass’s Master Class: Impossible to Put Down: Mastering the Three Levels of Story.  Thanks Laura for taking these great notes and posting them on your blog for us all!

 

 
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