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How my over-edited novel looks: I know it's in there somewhere.

How my over-edited novel looks: I know the original is in there somewhere.

Is your script missing something? Does your story meander? Or maybe you can’t seem to find your rhythm? Join the club!

CPR for your script: form and structure

I’ve been working on the same *insert-swearword-here* manuscript for nearly three years.

My draft has been through a zillion carnations and reincarnations. It’s been called The Cockroach Book, The Half-witch Wars, Exploits, Ranger and now Short-changed. It’s been edited to within an inch of its pathetic over-edited life: in fact, there are no longer any cockroaches — or indeed half-witches — anywhere to be seen in the manuscript.

The result is a lot like an Egyptian mummy: so much band-aid, you can’t see what’s underneath.

Help! Where’s my novel?

Enter the Australian Writer’s Guild, with another of their super-useful workshops. This seminar is on structuring a feature film, and it’s run by UCLA graduate Barbara Connell, now pursuing a PhD at Murdoch’s School of Media, Communication and Culture. I know a feature film isn’t a novel, but writing for kids is a whole lot of action, dialogue and fast-paced fun. Feature film, anyone?

I sign up for Barbara’s seminar because deep down I am hoping she might have a secret potion or magic word or infallible technique that can unwrap my mummy and reveal the novel inside. She does.

And the secret is…

“Writing is not about manuals. It’s about manual labour. The only thing that’s going to get you there is sitting down and doing it.”

Argh! I know this. But ouch, it hurts to hear.

Barbara admits craft and technique have their place alongside hard work. Over the morning she runs through the script structures used by a dozen different screenwriting textbooks, and there’s something useful in each one.

But, says Barbara, there’s no need to go overboard.

“For me it can sometimes be too much,” says Barbara. “It can do your head in.”

I quite like the science of all that theory, but if your story is drowning in formulae, Barbara says go back to basics: watch and analyse movies like the one you want to make, and ask yourself the big questions:

Three-step CPR: Grab, maintain, reward

A great film is basically “a good story, well-told, with heart and substance,” says Barbara. It’s that simple. So, if your story needs urgent medical attention, start with its three vital signs:

Grab: Is it a good story? Is it worth telling? Is it a story someone wants to hear?

Maintain: Do you have the craft and technique to keep the audience in their seats?

Reward: Does your story have heart? Does it have substance? Does it satisfy the audience?

Barbara says nailing the reward is often the hardest. “How do you want your audience to feel at the end of the film?” she asks. “Form and structure is about architecting the story so the audience has an emotional experience.”

And that’s my problem!

I’ve dissected the heart right out of my story. I’ve created a sort of Frankenstein’s monster, and it’s wandering the page — functioning quite nicely, thank-you-very-much — but it’s missing a few essential organs.

Perhaps it would be more sensible to bury this thing deep in a pyramid somewhere, and begin on a new creation. I say no!

Breathe, damn you! Breathe!

I’ve had enough of half-finished projects. I’m going to bandage and sew and cut and glue until this thing works.

Watch out world: this story lives!

 

Photo credit to scrappy annie

Cristy Burne: the culture of tea

Lush liquids: the culture of tea (in CRAVINGS magazine)

When I write, I drink tea. When I need comfort, I drink tea. When I’m catching up with friends, I drink tea.

And I’m not alone.

If you’re a fellow lover-of-tea, or you want to know…

  • what teas to serve with fried eggs, or
  • how to store your tea, or
  • what to serve when Prince Charles drops in…

…Here’s a story I did a few years back for CRAVINGS magazine. Make yourself a cuppa, and enjoy!

LUSH LIQUIDS: THE CULTURE OF TEA

Few beverages have had greater influence on our history than tea. Tea has long been a symbol of friendship, cherished for its fine flavour, and cemented in our daily ritual as a respite from cold, fatigue, and ill health.

Five generations of tea

Tea has such a complex social history that connoisseur Hilary White has collected a library of more than a hundred books on the subject. “My family has been in tea for five generations,” he explains. “Three of my four great-grandfathers came to Ceylon to grow tea…one from New Zealand, one from England, and one from India. They married locals and stayed on for a hundred years.”

Hilary now owns Elmstock Tea, the largest tea wholesaler in Australia. He is also part-owner of the Leaf specialist tea houses in Cottesloe and Mount Lawley. “I’ve been in tea for 27 years,” he says. “It’s still a very genteel trade. Everything’s done with a handshake.”

Elmstock’s Balcatta warehouse is stacked floor to ceiling with some of the world’s finest teas; its contents turn over every month. “We supply about 32 million cups of tea a year,” Hilary explains.

tea-TEA

Maidens in muslin gloves

As we chat, Hilary prepares water in a pot for two. He walks the length of his laden display cabinet, then selects a white tea: Silver Needles. “White tea is made from only the buds, hand-separated from the leaves. Traditionally it was picked only in the morning, by young maidens wearing muslin gloves. They cut the buds with golden scissors into muslin bags.”

He carefully scoops two teaspoons of shrivelled silver-gray tea into the glass pot. “This sells for around $400 a kilo, but you get 400 cups. In ancient China, only the nobility were allowed to drink white tea.”

The kettle whistles to its end: he takes it up and begins to pour. “Now watch them dance,” he says, and steaming water gurgles into the pot. The tea needles whirl and jump with the currents. “It’s almost as if they’re alive,” he says with wonder, and it is. Each needle seems to move of its own accord, stretching into the warmth of the water, lapping up its heat.

Tea for two

We chat while we wait for the tea to brew. There’s a strong sense of ceremony, but it’s welcoming and comfortable, like I’m in my own kitchen.

When the liquor is tinged with gold, we are ready. Hilary pours into two half-sized glass cups and hands me the one closest. “Cheers,” he says. And we breathe in the velvet smell, warming our hands through the glass. And then we drink.

The tea tastes pure, light, as if I’m cleansing my soul as I sip. “It’s a very subtle brew,” smiles Hilary. “You could drink this all day.” He sips again and exhales with approval. On finishing his first cup he stretches back in his chair. “How very civilised,” he beams, a picture of satisfaction. We pour a second cup and continue to talk.

brewing-teaThe Beatles, Bin Laden, Mick Jaggar

“Tea crosses boundaries,” Hilary explains. “Who drinks tea? The Beatles, Prince Charles, Hilary Clinton, Osama Bin Laden…Our stockman drink it. Mick Jaggar has it in his dressing room. Tea is a cultural thing. It’s international. An Indian villager in Darjeeling will drink tea from an iron mug. That same tea will be drunk at the Savoy, served on fine china.”

“You don’t have to drink the same tea that your granny drank. I drink a Chinese tea called Lapsang Souchong…it’s smoked over pine logs…you only use half a teaspoon. The nearest thing in flavour is Laphroaig Single Malt Islay Scotch.” (I take a whiff of the Lapsang leaves and am nearly knocked out. It’s a rich, pungent smell that reminds me of campfires and blows to the head).

A royal drop

Apparently Prince Charles’ favourite brew is, naturally, a white tea. “It’s called White Peony. When he came in 2005 there was this mad flap to find it, and of course we had it. We knew he was coming two months before it was even announced.”

It’s no surprise that Elmstock had the Prince’s tea: they stock 120 different blends, some traditional, some more curious. Their caramel black tea comes with chunks of caramel, the Pina Colada green tea is a symphony of pineapple and coconut (“just like the drink”), and one whiff of the quince-flavoured tea has my appetite racing.

Then there’s cinnamon orange, choc mint, chai masala… The colours and smells are sensational: there are reds, rich purples, blues, pinks and bright yellows. “There are different teas for different times of day and different occasions,” says Hilary. “Not all teas are the same. Just like wines, each region’s tea has a different characteristic. When a tea sales catalogue comes out it might cover 2000 teas.”

Matching food and tea

While coffee is usually served alone or at the completion of a meal, tea has for centuries been integral to fine dining. In the same way as certain wines complement particular foods, different teas can be selected to enhance your gastronomic experience.

Fried foods, eggs, bacon, smoked meats: Ceylon Pekoe, English Breakfast, Dimbula, Irish Breakfast, Flowery Pekoe, Assam, Darjeeling, Jasmine.

Breads, cheese, jams: Ceylon Pekoe, English Breakfast, Flowery Pekoe, Dimbula, Assam, Darjeeling, Jasmine.

Light savoury meals and brunch: Ceylon Pekoe, Dimbula, Assam, Darjeeling, Green, Oolongs, Sencha.

Meats and game: Earl Grey, Jasmine, Assam, Lapsang Souchong.

Poultry: Darjeeling, Oolong, Jasmine, Lapsang Souchong.

Fish: Darjeeling, Oolongs, Earl Grey, Green, Sencha.

Spicy Foods: Ceylon Pekoe, Dimbula, Darjeeling, Oolong, Green, Jasmine.

Strong Cheeses: Earl Grey, Green, Lapsang Souchong.

After a meal: Darjeeling, Green Tea, Oolong.

Tea time: Any tea! All teas!

 

Hilary White shares his tips on great tea:

Storage

  • “The enemies of tea are dampness, light, and age. If you ever see tea served out of glass jars, be careful. In seven days that tea becomes like straw…it loses all its subtleties. Use a ceramic jar and keep it airtight.”
  • “Tea absorbs anything in the area. If you put vegetables next to some tea, that tea will taste of vegetables the next day. It just soaks up moisture and odours – that’s one of the characteristics of tea.”

Water

  • “We recommend rain water or spring water…boil it once, then tip it out. And always use freshly boiled water”

Choice of tea

  • “75% of all tea is now drunk in tea bags. But we don’t want to encourage that.”
  • “Always go for quality. It tastes better and you use less, because there’s less rubbish in it…less stalk.”
  • “The price difference between my tea and supermarket tea is probably ten per cent. A cup of supermarket tea might cost you 5c, so my tea costs you 6c. You don’t pay much more for a quality experience, and you’ll notice the difference.”

Brewing time

  • “One teaspoon of black tea for three minutes, maximum. Half a teaspoon of green tea, for one minute only. A lot of people don’t like green tea because they brew it for too long. And they use too much.”
  • “Longer brewing does not equal a better taste: letting the tea ‘stew’ releases more tannins.”

Caffeine in tea

  • “A cup of black tea has one third the caffeine of a coffee, green tea has half of that again. White tea has virtually no caffeine; infusions have no caffeine at all.”
  • “If you have a problem with caffeine a good trick to is to brew a pot of tea as normal, then tip it out within the first minute. When you brew the second infusion it will have much less caffeine. Most of the caffeine is extracted in that first minute.”

More tidbits on tea…

  • A teaspoon is around 20% larger than a coffee spoon
  • Tea is an infusion of the leaves of Camellia Sinensis plant in boiling water. Herbal teas aren’t strictly teas because they aren’t made from this plant.
  • Tea contains zero calories and can aid metabolism and digestion.
  • The English habit of pouring hot tea onto cold milk was developed to protect their delicate porcelain from shattering due to the heat.
  • Until 1784 the tax on tea was 119%, enough to encourage a thriving smuggling trade, complete with underground tunnels, clandestine encounters and cloak-and-dagger antics. Most of this excitement ended when William Pitt the Younger reduced the tax to 12.5%.
  • On April 25, 2007, Harrods held an auction of fine and rare teas, continuing an annual tradition dating back to 1679. Guest including tea connoisseurs from Russia, China and the Middle East competed to purchase limited edition tea lots from some of the world’s premium tea estates.

Photo credit: chumstock

Photo credit: Micke Nordin

 

Amanda HiggsAfter graduating film school, Amanda Higgs followed her own advice: she worked hard, and she stuck to her passion. “It took ten years to get my first production credit,” she says. “If I’d known it would take that long, I probably would’ve quit.”

But Amanda doesn’t strike me as a quitter.

Her number-one message is work hard: “Keep writing, all the time. Even if you have nothing to do. Just do something. Do whatever you can.”

I’m at Amanda’s screenwriting workshop thanks to ScreenWest and the Australian Writer’s Guild. The room is full of writers and producers, it’s scattered with lolly bowls and coffee cups. This could be intimidating, but Amanda makes it feel like we’re chatting over a cuppa. She’s candid and natural, the very opposite of unapproachable.

Now the independent producer of loads of great Aussie TV, including The Secret Life of Us and The Time of Our Lives, Amanda has been executive producer and head of drama at the ABC, script editor for The Slap, and chief-tea-maker-coffee-fetcher for many years in between.

Getting your start in the TV industry**

Breaking into TV is highly competitive. “It’s about building relationships, developing ideas and getting industry experience,” Amanda says. “You need experience and creativity.”

Getting that experience can be a challenge, she admits. “Script editing is a great way to get a foot in the door. All that experience makes you better at your own show, honing it, simplifying it, making it clear.”

Another great step, she says, is to find your way into a writer’s room, that legendary spot where a team of writers hide away to nut out new plot arcs, characters and storylines.

Pitching for TV

As part of the workshop, Amanda gives everyone a chance to pitch their TV idea, giving us professional feedback on the spot. What an opportunity!

I learn from watching and listening: a successful pitch needs to be absorbing, succinct, and informative. It needs to answer lots of questions without sacrificing passion, spirit and tone.

 

Does your pitch answer these 10 questions?

  1. What’s the story? Story should be the jewel in your pitch’s crown. Present the story up front, and make it catchy: “As concise as possible,” says Amanda. “As clear as possible.”
  2. What is your show is about? “Make sure you have something to say,” says Amanda. Why make this story? Why now?
  3. What’ll be happening? Who are the characters? Be specific. The more specific your concept is, the clearer your idea will be.
  4. Why should I care what happens? The stakes in your story must be high. How will you keep upping the ante?
  5. What is your show’s tone? “Tone is one of my favourite words,” says Amanda. “What will I feel when I watch?” This tone should shine through in your pitch, she says, especially for a comedy.
  6. Where is your show’s home? Home is where the heart of your show is. It might be a workplace, an apartment block, a café, a family home…
  7. What is your show’s audience? “You absolutely have to think about the audience,” says Amanda. She suggests checking out the ratings of similar shows (using websites like TVtonight.com.au) to work out what audiences are responding to what shows, and whether you can see similar audiences responding to your show.
  8. What similar shows are out there? Feel free to compare your show to other shows, but not to hugely expensive blockbuster shows that your free-to-air network will never be able to make.
  9. Who is your team? Having an experienced and respected writer or producer on your team can help to open doors. “Every project needs just one champion,” says Amanda. No experienced member on your team? It’s time to get out there and meet people.
  10. What’s the logline? Develop a one-sentence logline that summarises your concept. “Every scene should be about that logline. That’s very hard to do.” (Amanda’s favourite logline? “His fame was their fortune,” from Entourage.)

I’d love to see Takeshita Demons on the screen, or to work on an entirely new franchise (anyone need a screenwriter on their team?), so all this advice is incredibly useful.

Struggles, mistakes, disappointments

Just two years before The Secret Life of Us found its feet (and went on to become the Aussie drama most watched by 16-39 year olds), Amanda was fired from her position as script editor at Water Rats. “That was great,” she says, deadly serious. “It was a really well-paying job, it was really comfortable.”

I would have crawled under a stone and cried myself to sleep; Amanda grabbed the opportunity.

How refreshing is that!

Comfort doesn’t always go well with creativity. The struggles, mistakes and disappointments are all part of the learning journey (a fact I wrestle with every day).

“You have to be smart and you have to be strategic,” says Amanda. “You have to play the long game.

“The greatest gift as a writer is that you get your show made, and you get to see what doesn’t work. You need feedback, you need criticism. The business is about practising your craft.”

How brave!

I walk away from the day invigorated and full of ideas.

And ready to fail to the best of my ability. It’s one more step on the road to success, right?

 

**Do you live in Western Australia? Check out ScreenWest’s amazing Tele-navigator program, offered again this year. There’s no info on the web just yet, but subscribe to their newsletter to find out how to apply.

ErnieBond-300x254Meeting Dr Ernie Bond feels like meeting an old friend. He’s super-friendly, down-to-earth, and shares a passionate love of children’s literature.

“Ooo! Ooo!” he says. “This is not referred to in the text at all! This is not in the text!”

Ernie is an expert in visual literacy: the art of reading images, and he’s in Fremantle to speak at the Children’s Literature Centre for SCWBI about teaching kids (and adults) how to better appreciate and understand illustrated texts.

A picture book paints a thousand words

“Ninety-nine percent of what we’re talking about is never written in the book,” says Ernie. “Kids can get a lot of meaning from the images, and a lot of times they get a different meaning from the one adults would get.”

Ernie draws attention to the excess of white space surrounding a black character in a story from the Civil War.

“That’s a pretty powerful metaphor,” he says. “Are kids going to be able to understand that?” He throws his hands up in the air. “Of course they are!”

How to read a picture book

I must admit: the first (and second, and tenth) time I read a picture book, much of the meaning probably passes me by.

But when I take a minute to really look at the pictures, a whole new meaning can emerge…

Allow yourself to wonder….WHY?

Why do illustrators choose to portray each image in the way they have? Why did they make the choices they made?

Ernie shares some beautiful illustrations, from books created all over the world, and he points out things to look for when deconstructing picture books and reading images.

I’ve listed these things below, and added a few more ideas. I hope you find them useful.

12 things to look at when reading images:

1) Use of colour
Where is the colour? How is it used? Where are the warm colours? The cold colours? Where is there less colour? No colour? What emotion do the colours evoke?

2) Direction
Western readers move from left to right on the page. How does direction change the way you view an image? How does something moving from left-to-right create a different feeling from something moving right-to-left? What way is rain falling? How is the wind blowing? Which way are characters moving across the page?

3) Panels
Are the illustration divided into panels? If so, what effect does this have? What size are the different panels and why might this be? How is time passing? How is space delineated?

4) Frames
Is an illustration framed? What effect does this have? Is it isolating? Is it protecting? Are we looking through a window? At a photo? How does delineation add to the meaning of the image?

5) White space
Where is the white space? How much of the page is white space? How are elements of the illustration positioned to interact with white space? What might be the effect of this?

Ever notice how the white space retreats as Max's wild imagination takes flight?

Where the Wild Things Are: Ever notice how the white space retreats as Max’s imagination takes flight?

6) Appearance of text on the page
Where is the text? How is it distributed across the page? What fonts are used? What size are the different words? How does the visual presentation of the text add to the meaning of the words?

7) Perspective
What is emphasised? Where does your eye naturally fall? What path does your eye follow? Are we looking up at something? Or looking down on something? How might this add to the meaning of the image?

8) Style and media
What style is the illustration? Is it a cartoon? A sketch? What media has been used to create it? Is it water colour? A collage? How do these choices influence the tone and feel of the book? Does genre influence style? What about vice-versa?

9) Implied action
What action is implied in the illustration? What might happen next? How does the implied action extend the narrative? How has the illustrator used technique – like blurry lines, brushstrokes, angles and perspective – to demonstrate tension and action?

10) Exaggeration
Are any parts of the image exaggerated? What effect does this have? Why might the illustrator want to draw attention to particular parts of the image?

11) Retellings
Is the story a retelling of another story? How might aspects of one version apply to the other version? What are the two stories really about? What is the relationship between the two stories?

12) End papers
What secrets are held in the illustrations on the inside cover? The jacket flap? How do these illustrations add meaning to the story?

 

Ernie’s three-step approach to visual literacy

As the session draws to a close, Ernie gives a three-step approach to working on visual literacy.

I really like these questions and can see this working in the classroom, and on our family couch.

Pick one double-page spread and brainstorm:

1)      What’s on the page?

2)      What might be going on?

3)      What do you want to know about this story, now that you’ve looked at this page?

 

Watch for the wolf…

As a final example, Ernie points to an illustration from a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. At first I can’t see it, but then I look again: the entire landscape resembles the head of a sleeping wolf.

“The teacher who discovers that,” says Ernie, “is going to get kids so much more excited about literature.”

The session runs over, but not for long.

Don’t you have a plane to catch tonight?

“Oh yeah! That’s right!” Ernie grins. Not even the promise of 36 hours on a plane can dampen his enthusiasm.

And me? I can’t wait to read more picture books!

Shell Questacon Science Circus 2001

Me on tour with the Shell Questacon Science Circus team.

I adore science and innovation: thanks to science, I have light bulbs, a fridge, and a sense that the world is a wondrous place and incredible things can happen.

And yet, I don’t work in science. 

Why not?

Because I found something that I love even better! Science communication :-)

Do you have a science degree, and an itch in your feet? Join the circus!

In 2001 I joined the Shell Questacon Science Circus, and I’ve never looked back.

Want to apply? All you need is a science undergraduate degree and a willingness to tour Australia with a bunch of other new performers. After an incredible, stretching, social and educational experience, you’ll come away with a Masters degree from the Australian National University, and a wild bunch of memories.

Oh, and did I mention the entire course is on full scholarship?

Shell Questacon Science Circus 2014Merryn McKinnon joined the circus with me in 2001. She’s now Dr Merryn McKinnon, and a lecturer at the Centre for Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University, and she’s helping to recruit a new troupe of performers.

“The Science Circus is an amazing opportunity,” says Merryn, “and one I have never regretted. It opened my eyes to possibilities I never even considered. The skills and experiences I had in the Science Circus have allowed me to try lots of different jobs, all around the world.”

Absolutely!

My experience mirrors Merryn’s, and that of dozens of other science circus alumni. Since graduating, I’ve worked as an editor, journalist, teacher, presenter and science writer, in countries all over the world.

I joined the circus for the excitement and the challenge, and I came away with so much more.

So, if you’re a science undergraduate, and you care about spreading the word of science, and you want to have the experience of a lifetime, apply for a Masters in Science Communication Outreach, and join the Shell Questacon Science Circus.

It’s important work, and seriously good fun.

Shell Questacon Science Circus alumni 2001

Spot me far right with the yellow funnel, and Merryn in the centre with a Dalmatian growing out of her elbow.

 

Climbing Hua Shan in China

Facing your fear in a book is safer than facing it on the mountain :-)

Monsters under the bed? Ghosts in the hallway? A looming feeling of anxiety or fear?

Two of these things are (probably) fictional. The third is something that many of us, especially children, often deal with.

I am morbidly afraid of falling.

As a kid I would have recurring nightmares: falling out of trees, falling off ledges, falling into pits. As a child, I actually did fall, tumbling from an enormously high slide (the kind they would never allow in modern parks), and breaking my arm.

Falling is just not my thing.

So, I did a skydive.

I didn’t sleep the night before. I nearly lost my lunch in the plane. And the second we jumped, I flailed like a windmill, waving my hands in a wild search for something to hang on to. I did not make the beautiful swan shape you are supposed to, not until my instructor forcibly grabbed my hands. Then, after a few seconds of terror, I realised I quite liked falling from the sky.

I don’t think I’ll skydive again, but if I was ever in some James Bond aeroplane movie and needed to save the day, I know I could.

I think scary books are like that.

Kids who are afraid of something — anything — can face their fears in the pages of a scary book. They can dare themselves to keep reading. To confront a monster, tackle a demon, jump from a plane… and all from the safety of their couch.

This vicarious experiencing is why I love (and write) scary books.

I’m not talking full-blown horror.

I’m talking gentle, spine-tingling, pulse-racing fear. The kind of read that makes your heart beat faster but doesn’t leave you with nightmares. The kind of read that leave kids feeling empowered and braver than before, ready to face their real-world fears thanks to some imaginary foes.

When I presented on this topic recently with Canadian author Mahtab Narsimhan, we showed this video from The Neverending Story. What do you think? Can you see yourself in Bastian? After reading a scary book, do you feel that you too could jump from a plane (or maybe ride a dragon?).

After a very funny lunch with the girls

Conferences can be hard work, and great fun

How can you best prepare for a writer’s conference or literature festival? This is what worked for me…

It’s crunch-time

I’ve prepared my presentations and printed my business cards.

I’ve worked out what I want from the 2014 Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore,

Time to put all that into action.

Once you’ve done all your preparation, go forth and be yourself. Enjoy the conference, enjoy the people. That’s certainly what I did.

Thanks to my conference prep, I met dozens of interesting people, gave out nearly 100Cristy Burne business card business cards, thoroughly enjoyed presenting my two sessions and received great feedback. I feel I really achieved my goal of cementing myself as a writer of children’s science and non-fiction, and I had a great time doing it.

So what’s Tip #4?

Tip #4: Allow yourself to stray from your goals

Being at a conference is like a caffeine bomb to the head, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Follow your game plan, make choices based on the list you wrote back home, but don’t be afraid to jot down new ideas, even if they stray from your goals.

Don’t wait till you get back home to come up with ideas: I took notes at every session, and then brainstormed on the spot to apply those notes to my career. Some ideas worked in with my goals, others didn’t, but by following that stream of consciousness, I arrived at some even better ideas.

Example: conversation with me and my session notes

What is the session about? Blogging more effectively. Writing posts that will help your reader answer their questions.
My brainstorm: Could I blog about encouraging children to read? About diversity in children’s fiction? About the importance of non-fiction in the classroom? About how to get the most out of attending a writer’s conference?
Result: Ta da! You’ve just read the result. And watch this space, because I’ll be implementing some of those other ideas too.

And finally…

Tip #5: Follow-up!!

Remember all those people you met and the business cards you gathered? Remember all the notes you took and the ideas you jotted? Remember all those goals you listed? Well, the conference is over, baby. It’s time for the real work to begin.

For me, it’s time to follow up on leads, implement ideas, motivate myself to achieve the things on my list.

And that, dear reader, is the most important tip of all. The whole point of dancing round the conference, filling your notebook with ideas and your wallet with business cards, is to put a rocket under your career. So go to it! Get started!

What is next on my list?

More writing. I’ve a non-fiction manuscript to edit, another to write, a fiction manuscript to rewrite and some freelance deadlines to fill. So, to work!

See you at the next conference!

Part 1 of How to make the most of attending a writer’s festival or conference.

Part 2 of How to make the most of attending a writer’s festival or conference.

 

 

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