Tuesday, May 13, 2008

LB&LI 2008

It's about time to start planning PBW's Third Annual Left Behind & Loving It, a series of virtual workshops I'll be holding here at the blog from July 28th through August 3rd.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this summer ritual, it's something I started doing a couple of years ago for writers like me who don't attend RWA National. We spend a week sitting around in our pjs and bunny slippers while we talk shop, I give away goodie bags, and we have fun. Fun that does not require us to eat mystery chicken, wear name tags, dodge buzzkillers or squeeze into an occasionally-working elevator with Suzanne Brockmann and thirty of her most devoted stalkers.

Last year I blackmailed persuaded a group of authors into holding virtual workshops on their blogs, and I'm certainly willing to do that again, but I thought this year I'd just offer an open invitation to any blogging writer to join in. If you're willing to teach a workshop(s) at your weblog at any time during that week, I'll be happy to link to it -- the more, the merrier.

Now it's your turn -- what sort of workshops would you like to have at LB&LI this year? Any particular topics, techniques, trouble-shooting, etc. that would be of interest to you? Let us know in comments.

53 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lot of fun.

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  2. You know...almost everyone does workshops about craft or how to query / pitch. I want to see a workshop about what to do when you get an offer to rep from an agent. The kind of questions to ask, the kind of things to look for in agency agreement, what to do about other outstanding submissions, etc.

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  3. I'm going to be in Alaska.

    So I'm definitely going to be loving it.

    ;) Trying to figure out if I can do a workshop without actually being around to respond to questions.... hmmmmmm

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  4. How about a workshop on how to stop hating all your ideas? :) Lately, every novel concept I've started to develop I've ended up scrapping because I just don't *dig* it, ya know? This has been going on for a frighteningly long while now, and I'm nearly tempted to call it writer's block. This has never happened to me before and it's a bit disconcerting. Part of me thinks I'll never write again.

    I need ideas that set me on fire, that drive me to write, that get me buzzed. Lately, the stuff I come up with drives me to hit the fridge or clip my toenails instead.

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  5. Debbi wrote: This sounds like a lot of fun.

    It is, plus we all have a chance to learn something without dropping $1500 for the privilege. Optional: quietly snickering over blog reports about how horrible RWA National is this year.

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  6. Angelle wrote: I want to see a workshop about what to do when you get an offer to rep from an agent. The kind of questions to ask, the kind of things to look for in agency agreement, what to do about other outstanding submissions, etc.

    Like an Acquiring an Agent 101 class?

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  7. Shiloh wrote: I'm going to be in Alaska.

    Sure, run off to the frozen north and leave the rest of us to swelter.

    Trying to figure out if I can do a workshop without actually being around to respond to questions.... hmmmmmm

    Or you could have folks post questions with the understanding that you won't be able to answer them until you get back.

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  8. Rob wrote: How about a workshop on how to stop hating all your ideas?

    Lightning would strike me, lol.

    Lately, every novel concept I've started to develop I've ended up scrapping because I just don't *dig* it, ya know? This has been going on for a frighteningly long while now, and I'm nearly tempted to call it writer's block. This has never happened to me before and it's a bit disconcerting. Part of me thinks I'll never write again.

    Sounds like a major dry spell. We all go through them, so it would definitely be a workshop we could all relate to.

    Are you looking for practical or philisophical ways (or both) to solve the problem?

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  9. World-building.

    Yes, I know, you've already said TONS on the topic, but I'm a junkie for that stuff.

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  10. OH OH OHHHHHHH I'll do something!

    OMG

    *stabs for in eye*

    Did I just say that out loud?

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  11. I've signed up to attend the conference in SF this summer, but some new things in the family life (good ones, VERY good ones) means I may be staying home. Not sure yet, but if I don't go, I'll definitely sign up for a workshop!

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  12. Like an Acquiring an Agent 101 class?

    Yeah something like that, but only focusing on what to do and so on AFTER you get an offer to rep.

    I think there are already tons and tons of sites and articles and blogs dedicated to how to write query letters and synopsis, but I don't think there's enough information on what to do once you get that lovely phone call from an interested agent.

    For example, I know you should let the other agents know that you got an offer to rep. So how do you contact them? Call? Email?

    If they say they want a chance to offer too, how much time should you give them without making the first agent feel bad?

    And so on. :)

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  13. Lynn wrote: Are you looking for practical or philisophical ways (or both) to solve the problem?

    I'm looking for anything that works. I'm getting desperate. So practical is probably best. Though I will take anything you got at this point. :)

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  14. Yeah, I like the Agent 101 thingie idea. We know how to hunt the elusive creatures...but what do you do with one once you catch it?

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  15. Selah wrote: World-building.

    For the civvies out there, also known as writer crack.

    Yes, I know, you've already said TONS on the topic, but I'm a junkie for that stuff.

    True, but I haven't gotten a good slap-down for my heretic minimalist world-building theories in a while . . . I'd enjoy rocking a few overfestooned boats.

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  16. Amie wrote: OH OH OHHHHHHH I'll do something!

    Excellent. And, ladies and gents, it's bound to be hot.

    OMG

    *stabs for in eye*

    Did I just say that out loud?


    Yep. But if you back out, we'll just say bad things about you behind your blog. ;)

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  17. Alison wrote: I've signed up to attend the conference in SF this summer...

    Well, everyone has moments of temporary insanity, lol.

    ...but some new things in the family life (good ones, VERY good ones) means I may be staying home. Not sure yet, but if I don't go, I'll definitely sign up for a workshop!

    That would be lovely and much appreciated, thank you, ma'am.

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  18. Angelle wrote: I think there are already tons and tons of sites and articles and blogs dedicated to how to write query letters and synopsis, but I don't think there's enough information on what to do once you get that lovely phone call from an interested agent.

    Gotcha. Now that I think about it, I've never seen anyone talk much about that, although I will start looking around and see what resources are out there (one thing I like to do with my workshops is to link to writers and sites with other/different opinions, so you get a spectrum versus the one-note approach.)

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  19. Rob wrote: I'm looking for anything that works. I'm getting desperate. So practical is probably best. Though I will take anything you got at this point.

    Self-doubter that I am, I've got a whole arsenal of that kind of stuff. :)

    One thing I want to mention (and you've probably read this before from me) is to try writing something purely for the pleasure of it -- a story that's a new idea for you and that you don't have to show anyone else. I went from writing torrid romances to a SF semi-parody. The story was so much fun I wrote two more, and then I combined the three into a novel, and then I wrote a sequel novel. It was like I'd found an entirely new well.

    Doing that kind of writing took all the pressure off me (no more worrying about if it was good enough to submit, I didn't feel compelled to over-edit it, I played with ideas I never thought I could get published, etc.) It got me out of the depression and self-doubt abyss, and the fun stuff I wrote ended up being the first two books I published.

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  20. JC wrote: We know how to hunt the elusive creatures...but what do you do with one once you catch it?

    Gently saute with some shallots and a little wine. . . . must stop reading Thomas Harris.

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  21. I'd like to see a workshop about combining parenthood and writing. Some days, no matter what I do, I'm doing it wrong.

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  22. I'm In!!

    I'm definitely not going to RWA, and while I rarely feel qualified to do workshops, I love to jump off cliffs...so yeah, I'm in.

    Not sure on what though? I'm thinking either Voice. (Cuz I think I know a bit about that) or Some sort of motivational bit..yeah..I think I might feel inspiring... and then it's all about opinion..not so much craft. Right up my alley *grin*

    Might be something than could help you, Rob, as I'm just creeping out from where it sounds like you are.

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  23. Hm. What WOULD I like to see? Something on Revisions/Drafting - you know, I've written the first draft of a novel, NOW WHAT? sort of thing because this is where I always trip over my own two feet (I'm just about to do it again, too.) Perhaps something on Voice, yes, on owning your material better.

    and I would shyly volunteer to particpate if I thought I had anything to offer; I'm too new at this to do one. If anyone is interested in Being a Christian Writer but not Writing Christian Fiction, well, that I could do, LOL. We're moving in late July so I don't know how my internet sitch will be anyway.

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  24. How about a little something on "beyond the but"?
    Lots of us closet "but" freaks out there.
    "I really loved your writing, BUT..."
    "Fantastic story, great voice, loved it, loved it, BUT..."
    "I would consider representing you, BUT..."

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  25. I just wanted to say that I probably know all 30 of those devoted Suzanne Brockmann stalkers. I might have even been one at the Atlanta RWA 2006. Too funny.

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  26. i want a post on overcoming fear. I find that my biggest obstacle isn't lack of ideas but fear , what if i fail, what if i succeed and actually suck? Why i should let stupid thoughts like that paralyze me i don't know but they do. how do you shut that down and just get to writing?

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  27. Sure, run off to the frozen north and leave the rest of us to swelter.

    I'm gonna guess you've never been to Alaska in July.

    Three words-

    Heaven. On. Earth.

    :)

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  28. How about, Staying Sane in the Crazy World of Publishing? (Although honestly the worst day in publishing seems a lot saner than life with preschoolers...)

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  29. Leigh3:54 PM

    I'd love to read something on how to deal with indecision, I've got loads of ideas for where my WIP could go but none jumping up and down squealing "Me! Me! Pick me! I'm the best idea!"

    I'd also be quite interested in a post on overcoming fear as jessiegirl suggested - which I suspect, is the real cause of the indecision.

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  30. I think this sounds fantastic. I would be happy to do one on What Writer's are looking for from Critiques or anything having to do with podcasting your fiction or marketing you fiction with new media.

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  31. Margaret wrote: I'd like to see a workshop about combining parenthood and writing. Some days, no matter what I do, I'm doing it wrong.

    Balancing family life with the writing life is an ongoing struggle for most writer/parents. Good suggestion. :)

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  32. Sasha wrote: I'm In!!

    Very cool. Thanks, Sasha.

    Not sure on what though? I'm thinking either Voice. (Cuz I think I know a bit about that) or Some sort of motivational bit..yeah..I think I might feel inspiring... and then it's all about opinion..not so much craft. Right up my alley *grin*

    I think you have a very clear, genuinely emotional voice that comes through clearly in your characterizations and their relationships with each other, and that's something we don't often see come out in romantica and erotica, given the primary focus of the physical. So I'd love to see you do something related to that -- not that I'm trying to bully you into a topic, lol.

    Might be something than could help you, Rob, as I'm just creeping out from where it sounds like you are.

    Any motivational workshop would be great, too. We all need a kick in the muse at some time or another.

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  33. Jess wrote: Something on Revisions/Drafting - you know, I've written the first draft of a novel, NOW WHAT? sort of thing because this is where I always trip over my own two feet (I'm just about to do it again, too.) Perhaps something on Voice, yes, on owning your material better.

    Both are great suggestions. :)

    If anyone is interested in Being a Christian Writer but not Writing Christian Fiction, well, that I could do, LOL. We're moving in late July so I don't know how my internet sitch will be anyway.

    Sounds very interesting to this inspirational author -- keep us in mind, just in case you do have a chance to do one (without making yourself crazy during the move, of course.)

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  34. Raine wrote: How about a little something on "beyond the but"?
    Lots of us closet "but" freaks out there.
    "I really loved your writing, BUT..."
    "Fantastic story, great voice, loved it, loved it, BUT..."
    "I would consider representing you, BUT..."


    Are you looking for a snappy comebacks workshop, or a way to cope with/get past those big fat buts? :)

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  35. Beki wrote: I just wanted to say that I probably know all 30 of those devoted Suzanne Brockmann stalkers. I might have even been one at the Atlanta RWA 2006.

    Ha. I had a momentary run-in with a couple of them in Chicago (what do you MEAN, you prefer AF stories to Navy Seals????) but I diffused it by praising the happy face sticker solution to that hideous cover art for Lucky's book.

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  36. This sounds like a lot of fun! I'd like to see a workshop on promotion. I recently signed my very first contract, so this topic would be GREAT. :)

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  37. Jessiegirl wrote: i want a post on overcoming fear. I find that my biggest obstacle isn't lack of ideas but fear , what if i fail, what if i succeed and actually suck? Why i should let stupid thoughts like that paralyze me i don't know but they do. how do you shut that down and just get to writing?

    It's definitely a topic that concerns all of us, no matter where we are with the work. We were discussing one aspect of fear, self-doubt, over at Joely's place here just the other day (and her post resonated with me on multiple levels, because I wrestle with the same fear every time I open a document.) And there are tiers of fear you go through in the biz that run the gamut from the I'll-never-get-published crushing doubt to the sheer terror of I-don't-want-to-be-this-famous.

    Anyway, I'm going to give it some serious thought, J. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  38. Shiloh wrote: I'm gonna guess you've never been to Alaska in July.

    I was stationed there once in time for the roads turning to mud and the bugs swarming, lol. Helpful hint: if you ever see a pastoral herd of caribou, RUN AWAY.

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  39. Charlene wrote: How about, Staying Sane in the Crazy World of Publishing?

    How to move to Tibet to live in a cave and become a poet in five easy lessons. ;)

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  40. Leigh wrote: I'd love to read something on how to deal with indecision, I've got loads of ideas for where my WIP could go but none jumping up and down squealing "Me! Me! Pick me! I'm the best idea!"

    Great suggestion -- another thing we all arm-wrestle on a regular basis, I think.

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  41. Kimi wrote: I think this sounds fantastic. I would be happy to do one on What Writer's are looking for from Critiques or anything having to do with podcasting your fiction or marketing you fiction with new media.

    Oh, podcasts and marketing, please, that would be very helpful -- we hardly ever see anything hands-on regarding those topics. Thanks, K!

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  42. Carol wrote: This sounds like a lot of fun! I'd like to see a workshop on promotion. I recently signed my very first contract, so this topic would be GREAT. :)

    Congratulations, Carol, and welcome to the majors. :) Promotion is something I've been thinking about a lot this year (mainly because I made a vow not to do a lot of it in 2008) and I'd like to see some ideas on more innovative/low-cost ways to promote books.

    It would be interesting to interview some of the conservative and radical self-promoters out there and see what they're doing and how it's working for them. I think the biggest obstacle is getting hard stats on returns for promotion -- they tell us making a thousand-dollar web site or a five thousand dollar book trailer will bring us new readers, but I never see any real numbers offered along with the promises.

    Anyway, another thing to think about, thanks. :)

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  43. I'd be interested in doing a workshop, if you'd take one (or more, if I made them mini ones) from an unpubbed writer.

    Possible topics:

    -moving from being a 'pantser' to a plotter (I'd always heard it wasn't possible, but I've done it)
    - day-to-day task management
    - what to do when you have no idea for your next novel (having JUST escaped this little nightmare myself)
    - computer backup strategies and techniques (former software developer and elementary school computer teacher, so I'm VERY backup-oriented)
    - how I got through a combined fear of failure and fear of success and now write daily

    If none of these grab you, I will just show up and read everyone else's. :)

    Heather

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  44. I'm late to the show (still grinding away at the final pages of the wip), but I'd love to participate again this year. Not sure what, exactly. Maybe fear, expanding on our discussion?

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  45. I can do a talk on storyboarding or on test reading (both sides of working with test readers).

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  46. Lynn--I've been wracking my brain for another topic for a workshop and I wondered if anyone would be interested in something on 'Critique 101' or how to give and receive critique.

    While I'm still in the 'working to be published' camp with my novels, I have been the head moderator of a large poetry workshop board for many years and probably have a million words in just the crits I have given, LOL.

    I would give examples from both poetry and novels.

    The other workshop I could do is looking at poetic technique to 'punch up' your prose. This would be an expansion and follow-up to an article I wrote for Vision a few years back.

    What do you think?

    Best,
    lisa

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  47. Lisa wrote: . . . I wondered if anyone would be interested in something on 'Critique 101' or how to give and receive critique.

    That's a topic I don't think I've ever seen diligently covered outside the boards of FM. Since I think a lot of writers would like to work with crit partners, but might not because they're not sure of how to give meaningful critique, it would be extremely helpful.

    The other workshop I could do is looking at poetic technique to 'punch up' your prose. This would be an expansion and follow-up to an article I wrote for Vision a few years back.

    This is another great topic idea. Much of what I do with pacing, style and impact in my prose is related to what I've learned from poetry, and I'm always discovering new ways poetry infuses my work, so I'd be in the front row for this one.

    I'd go with whichever one appeals most to you, Lisa.

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  48. Poetry it is, Lynn. :) Can you give me a poke when it's getting to be time to run the workshop?

    Thanks!
    lisa

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  49. Lisa wrote: Poetry it is, Lynn. :) Can you give me a poke when it's getting to be time to run the workshop?

    Will poke, prod and e-mail you the week before. :)

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  50. While I think Ms Burge should be giving said workshop on promotion, I still think it's a great idea for anyone generous enough to tackle it.

    And as I'm not going to RWA either, I'll toss myself into the fire. Is there anything in particular ppl want to know from the editing side of the fence?

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  51. I'll put my hand up to run a workshop on the opening paragraph.
    I'd like to run it as an open forum via the comments - is this what you are envisaging?
    I could post stuff on what the opening para is about, and open it up to everyone - all kinds of fiction. It's a biggie for everyone. How do you hook the reader/editor into staying with you?

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  52. I'll do a workshop on Covers "From Form to Finish".

    I'll talk about tips and tricks for filling out your cover art forms, the steps/stages a cover goes through, the finished product and I'll give a few tips on using your cover to make a static banner ad.

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  53. I would like a workshop on setting: how to work it in without slowing the story, what to use and leave out.

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