Friday, September 22, 2017

Continuing Education for Writers

I had two ideas for today's post that are intertwined. The first idea occurred to me when I was thinking about a brief exchange I had with a friend and fellow writer about when we would be arriving in Toronto for Bouchercon. The Sisters in Crime pre-Bouchercon workshop, SinC into Great Writing 2017, is on Wednesday. I mentioned that I am going to miss the workshop, but I have the book (Screenwriting Tricks for Authors) by Alexandra Sokoloff, one of the presenters. 

That upcoming workshop reminded me of Sokoloff's book and that I want to go back and have another look at it. When I first read, I wished that I was working on a standalone rather than a series entry. Now, I have a historical thriller in progress, and I want to channel Alfred Hitchcock. Time for a second look at Sokoloff on structure.

Do you, too, engage in "continuing education"? Collecting multiple books about writing and dipping into them when you start working on a new book or when you're trying to think through a plot or bring a character to life?  Do you still seek out online courses and go to workshops? Still take notes at panels when another writer says something you want to remember?

It could be the teacher in me but even though I have a pretty good grasp on the basics after all these years, I feel I need to keep polishing my credentials. I worry that I might have gotten too comfortable in my process. That there might be new techniques or old techniques that I could apply better.

And that brings me to my second idea for this post. I've been invited to speak at an annual event of a literary volunteers organization. The event is an authors' night -- students and tutors will "share true and life-affirming stories". I will be the local author for this year's event, giving a 10-15 minute talk. I am going to speak first -- the "opening act" so to speak. The spotlight will rightly be on the stories of the students and tutors.

Do you have favorite topics when asked to speak about writing? I have a few on my list -- such as "Why writers write". But all suggestions appreciated.


Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Hi Frankie, I always find folks are interested in where our ideas come from. Hope to meet you at Bouchercon.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Thanks, Judy, a good idea to add to my list. I'm going to see if I can find out more about the people in the program and go from there.

I hope to meet you at Bouchercon, too. I always like to put faces to names.

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

I have shelves of books on the writing process generally and crime writing in particular. I dip into them for both reassurance and inspiration and to broaden my understanding of the writing process. I don't know Alexandra Sokoloff's book and will look it out. Thanks. Regards topics for your opening act, yes, why we writers write is a good one, but I think more specifically why we writers write crime fiction or mysteries is even better :)