I am ensconced in my room at the ACFW conference now. Had a great evening chatting with a couple of friends about marketing. The conference doesn’t actually start until Thursday. Those of us who are early are here because we have duties. I sit on the Advisory Board and we’re having the annual board meeting on Wednesday.
I read a really excellent book on the plane: HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD MYSTERY, by James N. Frey. This is by the writing teacher James N. Frey, not the James Frey who wrote A MILLION LITTLE PIECES.
It was an excellent read. Frey has written several books with similar titles, beginning with HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL. I’ve never read any of them until now, but I loved what I read today on characters. I highly recommend his book. So I think our next topic will be developing characters. It’s about time we talked about craft again.
I want to wrap up a few odds and ends from today’s comments that you all posted.
Christophe’s comment about when humor is and is not appropriate in a bio was right on the money. Your bio should be sync with what you write.
I liked Camille’s new revisions on her bio. That is a reason that is believable and interesting. Some editor somewhere is going to like that, I think.
Lara asked me to blog next on characters. You win the prize for clairvoyance, Lara! That’s just what I want to talk about next.
Pam asked what to do if two agents want you.
Randy sez: That’s easy: Hire one and marry the other.
OK, that might not be practical or legal. I would ask myself which agent I like working with better. My agent used to be Chip MacGregor, before he left agenting to be a publisher. Chip always said that you should work with people you LIKE, because you’re going to be working together a lot for a long time. That always made sense. I’ve always liked Chip and enjoyed working with him.
Tami asked if it’s possible to buy the CDs of the conference. Yes, I think so. I’ll get more info on that in the next few days. I’m teaching on a topic that I’ve never taught a full-length course at a conference before–internet marketing for novelists. I expect it’ll be a fun course, and I certainly found it helpful to write up my notes (120 pages of them!)
Andra asked a question about proposals: If you’re writing comparisons of your book with others, is it OK to talk about books written in a similar style, even if it’s not the same genre?
Randy sez: Yes it is.
Several of you made suggestions for other topics to discuss. Hold those thoughts, folks! We’ll come back to them shortly. Tomorrow, I’ll try to start talking about how to create characters. Feel free to leave a comment telling me what sort of problems you face in creating your own characters.