*Wow, two weeks of coming up with something to put on this asterisk.

TL;DR: I went to an excellent Writer’s Workshop, and I hit the programming, hard. Then I hit the bed, hard.

Despite taking off from the party at the unseemly hour of 11pm the night before, I had a terrible night’s sleep, waking up several times and not getting back to sleep for a while. Of course my internal alarm went off at 7am regardless, and so I woke, groggy and feeling like I was ready for a bad day. I lay in bed for another hour or so, debating whether I could actually function as a human being. I wasn’t hung over. I wasn’t sad or anything. I think I had just started to reach my limit. But hey! I had a writing workshop to attend, bucko, so I had no choice but to drag myself out of the comfy, comfy cocoon I had made and spread my wings once more.

Breakfast was a harbinger. I ate a plate of stuff, and had mixed my coffee and cream to a delightful tongue-tingling quality. Hm, thought I, a bit of pastry would offset this quite excellent coffee quite excellently. So I popped over to the pastry table (it’s a buffet) (I accidentally wrote biddet there, and autocorrect fixed it properly. Go autocorrect!), grabbed a chocolatine, and made my way back. 18.9 seconds had passed. My table, cleared. My coffee, gone. A single tear rolled down the cheek of my soul. Of course the apologies came as fast and as furious as a new cup, but I didn’t get the mixture right, alas.

The writer’s workshop was wonderful. Lora O’Brien presented it, and she went over several topics, including how to generate ideas, how to put yourself into a creative mindset, things to do if you have too many ideas, and then she ran through how to get through the long and trying process of writing a novel. How she explained it was through the use of a modified snowflake methotrexate (um, no, autocorrect, no. Just because I praised you earlier doesn’t mean you get to pull that kind of shit…) METHOD WITH iterations of character building interspersed throughout. I’m familiar with the snowflake method (as you can tell because I know its name even though Lora never actually named it in the workshop), and I’ve used it successfully (to a degree) with TWTUD. Follow this link for an in-depth discussion of it, but in short what you do is write a sentence that describes the essence of your novel, then write a five sentence paragraph that expands on the first sentence, then a paragraph for each of those sentences,  and then flesh each of those out until you have about a page for each paragraph. This is your outline that you can then describe scenes that will carry the story through each part. It WORKS, mate!

After this, the meat of the workshop, she touched on (because we began to run short on time) editing, getting betas, finding people to guide you when you are in uncharted territory (SMEs, I mean), and how to comport yourself when dealing with the norms. She said a couple of things that I found worthy of underlining: “Everything we write is practice for the next thing.” and “Writers need lots of useful people in their lives” and  “writers are literally shaping the world.” This last one in regards to how people take what they read and apply it to their lives. I think this is more aspirational than otherwise.

After the workshop:


Despite the whole “no sleep, feel lousy” of the day, I ended up with a full platter of panels that I not only stayed alert for, but that I enjoyed thoroughly. This included: Fiction – Beyond The Novel; Fairytales Across Europe; Can’t I just Google It? How To Research; Project Gutenberg – liberating classics or killing them?; and Science Fact: Animals in Spec Fic.

Of all of them, I have to say that my favourite, one that I actually wasn’t originally going to attend before Irena convinced me, was the Animal in Spec. Fic. panel. Go figure. The day caught up to me, though, and instead of heading off to the closing ceremonies, I crawled off to bed, where I stayed for the most of the night. I woke up after 2 hours of napping, but I watched TV rather than dead dogging it (I did pop down for a bit, but couldn’t find anyone I knew, and I wasn’t in the mood for introductions and all that). I watched a Gaelic Football match, and a T20 cricket match, and I slept.