Today (October 3rd) I attended a wonderful workshop with Laurie Schnebly Campbell hosted by my local Romance Writers chapter, CORW. The workshop was something completely up my alley and gave me loads to think about which, in my own estimation, is always a valuable thing. The ideas she brought forth, the techniques she showed were not quite unusual but reminded me that sometimes it’s a good idea to start with one word summations. It seems simple, no?
Perhaps it was back in the day of writing parsimonious research papers for various Psychology classes but now, writing a novel, it’s not something I often think of. To sum up a character’s goal, motivation in one simple word that works as an umbrella is incredibly difficult for me. My mind immediately takes things past the notion of “family”, “healing” or “career” to, just as an example: “a healthful, well-balanced family in which all people are free to form their own identities and be supported in their individuality”. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I think you get the idea.
This wonderful woman’s hand outs and manner of speaking got me thinking about language in a different way than I have been lately. I’m certainly going to consider these in the future as a new and viable technique when I add characters to a manuscript. Interestingly enough I was very much struck by an idea for what I want to do after I finish this current project… it will be a while before I start working on it as I really only have about 13 pages to the wip written- but it’s great to have ideas!
In addition to the fabulous work we were doing I also got to reconnect face to face with people I’ve only gotten to chat with over the internet in the last few months and connect with people I hadn’t met before! I got to meet Sandra Marton, hang out with the chapter president Laurie Gifford Adams, Anna Bowling, Kate Rothwell (aka Summer Devon) and many other wonderful women! (Incidentally many of these women have their own websites and/or blogs and they’re linked under “blogroll” along the side of this here blog)
Conversations seemed to flow about the projects we’re working on (or completed), literature, education and the internet (along with its many perils for the young ‘uns). The sense of camaraderie I felt today, amongst these women, was a wonderful and welcome addition to the fabulous workshop material presented. While it’s true I often ruminate about any number of topics, to walk away from something like this and be left thinking about x,y and z was an enriching experience and one I didn’t really expect.
While I enjoyed learning in this format I can’t help but wonder- how do you best learn? Do you like to do so alone and from a book? Have intellectual discourse? Round table discussions about the topic at hand and the application of the ideas presented? How about surrounded by friendly individuals with a break every hour or so with a fabulous meal break in the middle?