Tag Archives: free tips

Networking

Since I’m headed off to the RWA National conference like many other writers, I thought I’d offer up some tips on networking!

Conferences are one of the best ways of not only improving your craft skills, but also provide wonderful opportunities for meeting new people and expanding your contacts. That kind of networking is invaluable in today’s publishing climate.

So what are some things you can do to accomplish that kind of networking?

  • 1. Get out of your room and down into the common areas. Mingle and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone who is sitting beside you or standing alone in the lobby if they seem open to communication.
  • 2. Know when not to approach. If two people are standing there talking, heads close together or directly facing one another, they probably don’t want to be interrupted. Also, don’t hover by expectantly. Step away and approach only when they are ready to invite another into the discussion. How do you know that? Look at their body posture. People standing side-by-side or not directly facing one another have not closed themselves off to others.
  • 3. Make sure you have business cards. If you’re a published author, have one card for business contacts and another for fans and readers. The first should have detailed contact information and the latter should have info on your books as well as your website.
  • 4. If you’re published, have bookmarks available to hand to fans and readers, but not to publishing people. They don’t need your goodies, but do need your business card.
  • 5. If you want to submit to someone, see if they are attending and wait for a good time to approach them. In the few minutes before their workshop is not a good time! Also, remember they are people as well. They likely will appreciate some general talk and getting to know you first. Let the conversation segue naturally into talk about what you do and your submission.
  • 6. Be positive! Negative talk is a total turn off so always try to look on the bright side of things and always offer a smile and a thanks. Positive vibes are always welcome.
  • 7. Last, but most importantly, have a good time! Meet new people and reinforce old friendships.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Tuesday Tips. We’ll be traveling tomorrow, so look for some photos and updates on Thursday.

Show, Don’t Tell

Click here for more on the Liberty States Fiction WritersBesides attending the monthly meetings of the Liberty States Fiction Writers, I have a smaller group that meets once a month at a local bookstore.

Last night we were discussing an oft-used phrase: Show, Don’t Tell.

One of my friends asked, “How do you know you are doing telling and not showing?”

My friend Anne Walradt is an expert on the subject and does a wonderful workshop on the concept. I can only offer some very basic advice and examples.

First, if you read it aloud and it sounds like a laundry list — You’re telling. An example of telling:

The alley was dark. It smelled of old garbage. There was movement at the end of the alley. It was a large man. He looked like a criminal. Fear gripped her. She ran away.

Was that interesting at all? Did you get involved in what was happening? Did you impart any of your knowledge to the scene, thereby becoming involved in the story?

If you answered “No”, then you understand what’s bad about telling rather than showing. So how you do write the above scene by showing? Here’s a shot at it:

Darkness swallowed her up as she entered the alley. Days old garbage filled a dumpster, making the air rank with the smell of decay. Shadows shifted at the end of the alley. A man stepped forward into the muted pool of light cast by a security lamp. Blue-black prison tattoos covered his arms and his face had the look of a boxer who had lost one too many fights. Her stomach clenched and a cold sweat erupted across her flesh a second before she whirled away.

A little better? Do you impart your own experience to what decay smells like? Did you wonder what the shadow was? Did the description of the man show you he was a criminal and/or trouble without telling you? How about the fear aspect? Didn’t use the word fear, but her reaction demonstrated it and you as the reader, recognized it.

That’s the biggest difference. When you show, the reader becomes involved in the story by interpreting what you are writing. With a laundry list, there’s no involvement on the part of the reader because it’s plan and simple. Of course, that does not mean that you should so confuse your reader with how you show something that they are lost.

So, that’s a very quick rundown on the concept of Show, Don’t Tell. I hope this Tuesday Tip was of help!