Creative Writing 101,  Inspiration,  Motivation,  Writing World

“Fail Better Next Time”

Middle Tennessee Writer’s Conference 2013
The last Saturday in September I had the privilege of going to my first ever Writer’s Conference on the MTSU campus sponsored by MTSU’s very own non-degree creative writing program: The Writer’s Loft.

The itinerary included a energetic poet, an awesome historian, a quirky playwright, and two successful fiction writers. All quality speakers and I wish you could have heard the keynote speaker the most. He talked all about perseverance through failure. But I took notes, disjointed as they are, and have laid a few of them out for your viewing pleasure in an order I hope makes some kind of sense.

Quotes & Helpful Codas
When seeking feedback, as your critiquer how the passage in question makes me them feel. What emotion are they feeling. Strong Emotion = Tension = Conflict

Conflict is essential. “Hell is story friendly. Heaven is where you go when the story is over.”
Conflict starts in the first couple of pages.

“Writing is like driving through a snow storm. You know where you’re going, but you get there a little at time.”

“Failure is inevitable.” You will face disappointment.
Writing exercises and experimenting with different styles in flash fiction can be a great way to get yourself out of funk. Don’t focus on failure; focus on the writing.

(Samuel Beckett) “Ever try. Ever fail. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Strive to fail better than the last time.
“Be fearless in the face of failure.”

Writing is a muscle. The longer you go without writing, the harder it is to get started again. The more you write, the easier it is to sit down and get some work done.

Writing Exercises
1) Take two characters and write a short scene where one is lying to the other. What kind of movements did you character make that could give away the fact that they’re lying to reader? What did you learn about the character who was lying?

2) Think about a scar you have. What memories are evoked by looking at it? How did you get it? Write a poem about it.

3) Draw a layout of the first house you grew up in. Where did you spend most of your time alone? What are you doing? How do you feel? What would you as an adult say to your younger self? This is a good exercise to do if you have a character with strong memories of their childhood home.

Book/App/Software Recommendations
*How To Write a Lot: A Practical Guide To Productive Academic Writing
*AEON Timeline
*Scrivener
*Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die
*Story Toolz
*DEVON ThinkĀ (said to have a steep learning curve)
*Apps (apple): Day One, Ever Note

Presenters/Speakers
Bill Brown (poet)
Holly Tucker (historian)
Linda Busby Parker (fiction)
Claudia Barnett (playwright)
Keynote: Kevin Wilson (fiction)

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