On Saturday, February 13, I went to Pikes Peak Writers annual Write Your Heart Out event. This was a preview of the actual Writer’s Conference, to be held in Colorado Springs during April 15-17 2016. What surprised me was that the majority of the attendees were women.
Angel Smits a multi-published author who specializes in heartfelt family stories, walked the audience thought how to create and use secondary characters that deepen the story without slowing it down, or letting them take over. Some pointer from her:
- Keep track of your characters. Don’t put main characters in the secondary characters.
- Introduce secondary characters after introducing the main characters.
- Introduce secondary characters twice.
- Anchor them to the setting.
- Give accent or make them unique.
- Use kids as secondary characters because they get away with the darndest things.
- Secondary characters don’t give opinions.
Jody Anderson, on the other hand, talked about, Keeping All The Balls in The Air: Multiple Streams of Productivity and Revenue. She advised to explore opportunities in ever evolving writing market.
“Writers don’t have to limit themselves to one thing,” she said. Use new tools to increase productivity and focus. Find different venues for writing and revenue. For example, curriculum writing, greeting cards, short stories can bring in money. Additionally she recommended to always keep track of three points:
- Productivity: Focus on what and how much you want to produce. Don’t make excuses like I can’t write because I don’t have time, or how will I edit. Give yourself permission to write the first draft. Use online tools like Pamodoro App to keep track of your
2. Schedule: Set up a daily writing schedule. Sit down to write. But move around after a little bit of writing to refresh. This is your career.
3. Plan: Make a formal and informal plan similar to a business plan. For instance, you can write 1,000 words but what’s the big picture.
She added, “Read a book and analyze why you like it or why you don’t like it?”
The best advice she gave was this: Don’t make stuff because it will make you money or bring fame. Give your best to your work/writing because it’s your gift.
Judith Robbins Rose. The award-winning novelist and playwright talked about nailing the voice in your work. Her latest novel is Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco.
“Don’t just put down words. Hear the voices of your characters. Listen carefully when and where your characters pause, where does the voice have a lilt, a pinch and tone. Read words aloud so you can hear accent and dialect. Pay attention to silences. Don’t write he paused.”
Keep dialogues short and a dialogues shouldn’t be longer than seven words. Dialogues should be loaded with conflict. They shouldn’t be used to give background information. Dialogues should have subtext. For example, if a character says, “Why do I have to go?” It’s better to say, “Why are you so lazy,” instead of giving a reason.