Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers. ~Logan Pearsall Smith

Had a fabulous day back on July 10. Eileen Charbonneau held a one-day Novel Writing workshop at the Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook, NY. It was a nice change of pace to meet with writers in other genres.

The first part of the workshop was on the importance of beginnings and the first 16 lines of your story in capturing an editors attention.

We previously submitted the first 15 pages to Eileen for critique and I received a huge ego boost when Eileen read the first 16 lines of Love By Design (she read from 2 other writers in the group as well).

Everyone enjoyed Love Design - but the biggest thrill was when they laughed when they were supposed to laugh. I think I’m hysterically funny but well that’s in my head. During lunch 3 of the other writers came up to me separately and told me how much they loved it.

During the day we wrote little assignments. I normally freeze in such an atmosphere and would never ever read my work, but after the conference in William Paterson University where I read my work (and again they laughed when they were supposed to ) I felt able to do so. I feel like I’ve really grown as a writer this past year. Anyway - here are the two assignments:

1)We learned a scene should do multiple things - So choose a setting and tell it through the eyes of the character that will show the reader who they are and what matters to them.
I wrote from Victoria’s POV (NYC interior designer from a wealthy family)

The walls painted in a stark white made the large abstract painting colored in dark red hues pop. The designer who selected the patterned fabric for the upholstered seating did so without a thought to how it would clash with 5th Avenue fashions.

2) Ask your character questions like how do they learn? (audio? visual? touch?)
- are they a problem solver? - competitive ? - are they open to new ideas? The list went on but you get the idea. The answers will determine how your character deals with the world. So my character Victoria does not like change - at all. We had to pick one apparently - but I was at the bathroom - but I got back in time to write this:

Victoria goes along with change like a cat goes along with a bath; scratching and clawing.

We all learned a lot that day and kudos to Eileen for a fab day!


  1. Great ideas!

    And it is a funny story.

    Say "hi" to Eileen.

  2. Thanks for sharing the exercises - I'm going to have to try them. LBD IS funny and it is great others recognize it.

  3. Thanks taryn and yo! - you guys 'have" to like it - lol

  4. Liz. Sounds like a wonderful time. Eileen is a great teacher and I sorely miss her in critique.

  5. Hi Liz!
    Great post!
    I enjoyed your examples. I don't think I'd do well writing under pressure like that, but what you came up with was really good.

  6. Your work has always been great, but I think as we keep going forward in this journey we begin to gain more confidence. We realize we don't suck. And you have a great sense of humor - the workshop sounds wonderful and I miss Eileen. So glad you could go and support her too.