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Space Coast Writers Conference

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 31, 2012

First, congratulations to MAUREEN HAYES who won my January blog contest!
Remember to check my dates in February (click on Appearances above) and comment on my blogs and guest posts to enter a drawing for more free prizes.

This past weekend, I had a great time meeting new friends at the Space Coast Writers Guild Conference.

As a published author, I served as a mentor to three newbie writers. My experience is more fully described on Wednesday over at The Kill Zone . Based on those sessions, I wish to offer these writing tips for your opening chapters:

  • Start with action or dialogue. If you absolutely must begin with a description, make sure it is emotionally evocative from the main character’s viewpoint.
  • Leave backstory for later or weave it in with dialogue. Or drop it in a line or two at a time in the character’s head if it relates to the action.
  • Make sure all conversations serve a purpose.
  • Remember to include emotional reactions during dialogue between characters.
  • Make sure your characters are not talking about something they already know just so the reader can learn about it.
  • Keep the story moving forward.

We all gained a greater understanding of our work from this interactive mentoring experience. I helped my group with critiques of their work, suggestions for author branding and promotion, getting an agent, etc. They helped me determine suspects’ motives for my next mystery.

I also presented a session on Getting an Agent, which included writing the selling synopsis and query letter. I didn’t get to attend many sessions myself, except for one on working with Amazon Createspace. But we attendees had a couple of meals together where I met new friends and heard interesting keynote speeches. The hotel on Cocoa Beach was on the ocean so we got to watch the sun rise over the water. A good restaurant in town is the Lobster Shanty if you ever go there. During the book signing, I sat next to mystery author Lois Winston. We chatted and traded info about the industry.

As an experienced author, you’ll see how much you know and how far you’ve come when you attend conferences with mostly beginning writers. I hope I was helpful to the people I mentored. Now I can face my next story with renewed enthusiasm.

Sunrise (800x600)


Lois Winston (800x600)


If you have any doubts about whether you should sign up for a writers’ conference, do it now. You’ll pick up new gems of writing advice or industry buzz, make new friends, gain name recognition, and come away reenergized. It’s worth the time and money to invest in your career.

After this intense conference, we relaxed at the Magic Kingdom. The expansion of Fantasyland continues with construction evident. Other attractions were closed for refurbishment as well. It was a perfect day, sunny in the seventies. We just enjoyed strolling through the grounds and admiring the flowers and landscaping. As always, we had one new experience. We got stuck on the Carousel of Progress in the 1920’s scene. This kept repeating itself and we didn’t revolve to the next diorama. Everyone got up after viewing the scene for the third time and left through one of the exits. I saw later that they had fixed the ride. Oh, well. It didn’t obstruct from our pleasure.


SPLASH MOUNTAINSplash Mountain (800x600)


4 Responses to “Space Coast Writers Conference”

  1. Nancy, those new writers got a gem when they were fortunate enough to get your help. You have a lot of knowledge to share. How about a workshop for us at FRW?

  2. Mary, I’m always willing to share. Those writers/mentorees got me for six hours. I hope my comments were helpful to them. What topic would you like covered?

  3. Bill Allen said

    Hi, Nancy. I’ll speak for all of us at SCWG and say we always enjoy having you here and hope you will join us again in years to come. Glad you had a good time.

  4. Thanks, Bill. It’s always great to get together with other writers and shmooze about the business. We learn from each other.

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