Monday, May 16, 2016

GenreCon 2016

I attended GenreCon this last Saturday with Becky, who was kind enough to clue me in to this event. It had special guests Kristin Nelson and Angie Hodapp of Nelson Literary Agency, who described the job of literary agents and then spent some time talking about what catches their eye, submission-wise, as agents. Then they did the favor of reading audience submissions aloud, saying what worked, what didn’t, and if they would have requested more pages based on the submission. They didn’t read mine, but in retrospect I’m fairly glad they didn’t, because reading over my first three pages I realized that they are kind of a mess. They’ve got some good ideas and imagery, but the frame of mind I was in while writing them (just fucking write, Elly, it doesn’t matter if it sucks) definitely showed a little bit. Mostly, it was an ordering issue. Everything needed to be shuffled around and reordered, to find its own place and occupy it. So even though the pages did not meet the “automatically likely to reject” criteria, they were still far from ready for analysis. But, that was a good thing to be able to see with my own eyes, and try to remedy.

Though, really, I need to keep moving forward. My first three pages can be a #SecondDraftProblem. (Yes, I’m officially calling this a first draft, for convenience’s sake.)

The keynote speech and slush-pile reading was followed by genre workshops, where writers meet with published authors of their chosen genre for specific guidance, tips, tricks, etc. Mine was mystery.

Because of the extensive research I’ve done with regards to my chosen genre, at first, it actually wasn’t super helpful. But when I corrected the author about the actual definition of “noir”, I got engaged in the presentation. In the end, we did an exercise wherein we got together in groups of five and constructed the plot of a mystery. It was way more fun than I expected it to be. All three groups had politically-motivated mysteries (without knowing or intending the similarity), which was fun. The exercise was:

  1. What is the crime?
  2. Who committed it?
  3. Who is the victim?
  4. Who is the investigator?
  5. What error did the villain make in the commission of his/her crime?
  6. How does the investigator solve the crime?

I’d never thought that building a mystery was so… simple. It’s a little disheartening, considering all the drama I’ve been going through trying to figure out the bones of my story.

Today, I’m working on my Racing Snails t-shirt design. I’m hoping to have time to write afterwards, but I don’t think that’s super likely. See you all Wednesday, faithful readers!

Word Count: 6,631 (᧧)


Becky Munyon said...

I've just started calling them "next draft problems", though I realize that eventually there will no longer be a next draft.
I think it's awesome that you were correcting your published author on definitions. That's neat.
Keep writing!

Elly Conley said...

I am! I have now written 530 words today. Color me happy =)