FINALLY! Some of my notes have been transcribed, and they are here for your knowledge and enjoyment.
I mainly pulled out the most important points I’ve learned from the talks, so some of these will be really short. I hope you like what I have so far, more coming soon!!!

** I’d like to say that Mary Alice speaks beautifully. She loved to use the word niggle, which I found funny, being the immature prat I am, but her talk was very inspirational. Here are the two main things I took from her workshop:

Finding the Soul of the Story – Mary Alice Monroe

  • The soul is the heart or voice reflected in the story.
  • Imagination is the playground of creativity

Alesia is a hilarious speaker! I was laughing the whole time. She’s energetic, fun, and great to listen to. In additon, she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.

Battling the Voices of Doom – Alesia Holliday

  • Don’t judge your work on the basis of random contest feedback.
  • Try to avoid “voice of doom” people and situations.
  • It’s okay to feel envy (over others successes), but not okay to wallow in it.
  • Pull out of the good stuff and reflect on that when the voices of doom try to do their diryt work.
  • All it takes is one editor to get it, to love it.

** I learned so much from Bob’s workshop. The man is chock full of information that it was hard to get it all down. Thank goodness he’ll be at a local conference in October, maybe I will be able to fill in the blanks!!! Anyway, here is a lot of good stuff:

Making Your Characters Real to the Reader – Bob Mayer

Characters are pre-eminent
– people identify with people, not with things.
– everyone wants a sense of community.

Develop characters
– Do you understand yourself?
– Where do you get them from?
– How do you get to know people?
First impressions
Don’t make it negative!
– Reacting in a crisis or lose-lose situations will show true personality
– Must act naturally

Types of characters
– hero/heroine (protagonist)
– villain (antagonist)
– foils (supporting and named)
– spear carriers (not named)

– stick to one name, else you’ll confuse the reader
– name must fit the character
– use the alphabet–don’t make all characters have names that begin with the same letter

Show Them
– show, don’t tell
– get inside their heads, to the point, and with good reason
– evoke reader empathy
– actions speak louder than words
– the smallest action speaks the loudest
– words speak for the character directly in dialogue

– most critical factor
– once characters have it, author is no longer in control
– must be believable to the reader
– traits are double-edged

Ask your character: What do you want? Really want. No, REALLY want.

– inner, personal, universal, money, sex, religion, family
– rooted in different motivations

Characters and Scenes
– who owns the scene?
– who is s/he?
– what does the action in the scene mean?
– how is s/he different after the action?
– was it a turning point?

– external goal: what is it a cover for?
– what is at stake?

Blind Spot
– everyone has one
– strongest defenses are built around it
– denial (usually thought to be a strength rather than a flaw)

– must always have one
– reluctant
– readers must care about him/her
– blind spot is the flow that leads to the darkest moment
– would fail in the opening scene if faced with the climax then.
Needs to become a better, stronger person
Needs to build a team.

– believable motivation, not necessarily evil
– initially drives the plot, and the plot would collapse if removed
– doesn’t have to be human

– can people change?
– how?
Moment of enlightenment: light bulb moment
Decision: made because of moment of enlightenment, not necessarily the right choice
Sustained action: training, leads to change, intellectual and emotional, rewiring of brain and body, externally forced, and chosen internally

Stages of Change:
– Denial
– Anger
– Bargaining
– Depression
– Acceptance

More coming soon. :)

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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