Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Be Smart not Stupid

I attended the Write Stuff Conference sponsored by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group this weekend and learned a lot. I'm not the kind of student who sits in the corner and never speaks. When I have something to say, I open my mouth.

But when I don't, I listen.

Under the guidance of an internationally acclaimed writing teacher James N. Frey, a class of about 60 plotted out a book from beginning to end in two days, his Plotting Like the Pros workshop. Jim, as he calls himself, took suggestions from those in the room, and at times the debate became intense.

One writer insisted our character, a tech sergeant in the Air Force, would live off base. Another demanded we drop her in the barracks. Still a third won everyone over in saying she lives in a little cottage on base.

And so the two days went with arguments and demands until we finally had a good story. I could never write it. Too much science, but it was a good story.

Some writers in the room, myself included, sat back and wondered why these small details mattered at the moment, but when Jim excitedly said the words, "That's a great idea!" to someone, we knew.

People love it when they're right and even more when they're recognized for it. I'm no exception. Yet, as I sat in the windowless room learning about plotting from a pro, I thought of the quote that's scribbled in purple dry erase marker on the corkboard next to me.

And it's today's tip.

"Anyone who loves knowledge wants to be told when he is wrong. It is stupid to hate being corrected." -Proverbs 12:1

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tamara,

    It was a great workshop, and a pleasure to meet other keen writers like yourself :)