Horror Writers Association

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RAVENCON 2015

Published May 20, 2015 by ellarite

I plan to attend 3 conventions this year:  RavenCon 2015, World Horror Con 2015 and Scares That Care Weekend 2015.

My goals for con attendance are:

1.  Hone My Writing

2. Network

Of course, the unofficial goal is to ‘have fun’, but I never feel the need to document that particular plan.   Soooo, let’s begin.

RavenCon2015: THE CON OF OPPORTUNITY

A weekend celebrating the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

Location:  Midlothian, Virginia

 I’ve attended the following panels…

1. The Business End. The panel focused on the ‘business’ side of the writing career:  monetary advances, royalties and taxes.

Pic courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Pic courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

I enjoy attending these types of panel.  It sparks my fantasy of sitting in front of my accountant surrounding with piles of receipts while he screams in frustration…”You’re selling too many books”.  Hey, I’m allowed to dream!!!

Bottom line:  Everything dollar   you earn is taxable.  Ensure that you document ALL business transactions.

 

2.Plotting and Pacing a Short Story.

This panel discussed the basic need and structure of short stories.

Common error found in stories from aspiring writers:  Cramming short stories with useless background information, too many subplots and/or characters.

Bottom line:  The basis of a good short story has a unique (interesting) protagonist with one realistic goal and a motivated antagonist with an opposing goal.

shortest horror

3.  The Villain’s Journey. This panel discussed the importance of identifying the ‘real’ antagonist of the story.  It’s useful to have one BoogyMan as the overall bad guy and a dedicated group of local antagonists that work on the head guys orders.

I’m prior military so this idea made a lot of sense.  In essence, the Admiral is the BoogyMan.  The Captain, who is powerful in his own right, acts on direct orders issued from the Admiral.

Pic courtesy of starwars.wikia.com

Pic courtesy of starwars.wikia.com

 

Ex:  In the Star Wars Trilogy (the original, yeah…I’m dating myself)…Darth Vadar acts as the main antagonist.  However, he is merely the Captain acting on orders from the real BoogyMan of the trilogy…The Emperor.

I enjoyed myself and plan to attend RavenCon 2016 in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The great news is that the convention is moving to a hotel closer to me.  Yaayyyy!!!   This following blurb is located on the convention’s website: http://www.ravencon.com.

 RavenCon Moves to Williamsburg

Due to a variety of contractual issues and lack of good function space, we will be moving to Williamsburg in 2016. RavenCon will now be held at the Doubletree, right down the street from Busch Gardens.

Hope to see you to see you there.

Stay tuned for my next blog…I talk about my experience at World Horror Con 2015.

Until next time,

Ella

 

Redefining ‘HARD’

Published April 29, 2015 by ellarite

I’m goal-oriented.  Once I set my sights on something, then nothing, short of hospitalization, prevents achieving said goal.   Throughout my many years on this planet, folks have applied various names to this trait:  ambitious, tenacious, go-getter and focused.

There have been other names, but I choose to focus on the good.

Whatever its’ called, this trait has allowed me to check my own personal boxes of success.  I’ve become a homeowner, obtained a college degree, retired from the US military and raised two boys into college-educated men.  Hell, I even bought my dream car.

Not too shabby for a poor girl from Detroit.

What’s the problem?  This damn writing business!!!  That’s the problem.  It’s damned hard.  So very, very hard.

Don’t get me wrong.  I expected hardships, I expected days of painfully vomiting words onto a page to meet my daily word count. The fact that the quality of my work would send agents, editors and publishers straight to the loony bin did not dissuade me from my goal.    Hey, don’t look at me like that.  I have revision plans. My point is that I started on this journey understanding that…

WRITING IS HARD!!!

To quote Merideth Grey from the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”…  ‘it’s supposed to be hard, that’s how we weed out the weak’.   It’s about creating realistic characters, with motivation, pet peeves, goals and personality.  The characters should evoke emotion from the reader.   Whether cheered or jeered, your character should feel ‘alive’.  Which is very hard work.  Not impossible, but very hard.

To quote Tom Hanks character from one of my favorite movies, “A League of Their     Own”… ‘the hard is what makes it great’.  (pic) I welcomed ‘the hard’.  Heck, I relished the hard.  I CAN DO HARD!!!

Professional authors who give advice to aspiring writers, like myself, state that the path to a successful writing career is based on a few key steps.   The order of the steps vary depending on the author, but the following bits of wisdom tends to overlap:

1.|Hone your skills…I attend writing workshops.  See previous posts.

2.  Keep writing…I have 3 novels in various stages of completion and 14 completed short stories.

3.  Network/Connect with other writers…I’ve joined the Horror Writers Association, 2 local writing critique groups and have a monthly dinner with a group of girls I met in a writing class.  I have a twitter account and a facebook page. (Admittedly, I not social media savvy.  I treat my online accounts like a bear trap …I only visit to see if an unsuspecting victim got caught and need help bandaging their wounds.)

I’ve learned the art of the cover page, the elevator pitch and the succinct author’s bio. The result:  I have more rejection letters than I have stories.

To be fair, some rejections contain warm & fuzzy comments like… ‘well-written, but not for us’ or ‘interesting story, but we’ll have to pass at this time’.  I even have a few ‘we hope you submit again’.

My favorite magazine sent my manuscript back to me in the stamped, self-address envelope that I provided:  No comment, no ink on the pages, nothing.  I took it as “here’s the stupid story you submitted.  Do us a favor and burn it.”

 The folks who define the writing career as ‘hard’ have pulled the wool over our eyes.

They’re giggling behind our backs.   Why?  Because they know the secret.

 The definition of hard is significantly different

when describing a writing career.

 Depending on the dictionary, the definition of hard varies from ‘not easily penetrated’ to  ‘demanding the exertion of physical effort’. For writers, the real definition is as follows:

 Hard (verb):

Eye-bleeding, finger-throbbing, mind-numbing, soul-crushing, solitary activity

required of writers who seek success.   Activity may take years.

Maybe that’s our golden ticket:  the piece of knowledge that allows us to embrace our fears of failure and continue on the quest. I was mistaken.  I didn’t really know hard…but now I do.  My quest will continue!!!

Until next time,

Ella