One of the perks of membership in Mystery Writers of America – Midwest are the occasional free webinars they offer to help improve your writing skills. Claire Applewhite, author of The Wrong Side of Memphis, St Louis Hustle, and Candy Cadillac as well as several romance novels, hosted a three-part instructional series entitled Fifty Ways to Kill Your Lover.
After the initial conference call, each of the ten writers who had signed up for the series wrote a five-page set-up for a short story making sure to include characterization, dialogue, setting, plot, conficts and pacing. The hard part for me was envisioning the arc of the story…. where is this thing going? How will it ever come to a climax? What the heck is plot?
So I just started writing…. “Alecia Hunter had legs that could stop traffic and often did.” I envisioned the martini bar she stopped in after work; its smells, sounds, and feel. I envisioned the co-workers she might confide in and what they might say. I envisioned how she’d react if her lover walked in hand in hand with a buxom blond. Before I knew it I filled five pages.
Claire briefly critiqued our five-page story set-ups during the webinar and discussed conflicts, tension, and climax. After the half-hour webinar, Claire assigned us each a writing partner. Mary from Tennessee and I will exchange our beginning five pages and then write the endings to each other’s stories. I hope I can do justice to Mary’s story set-up.
Next week we’ll e-mail the ten pages to Claire and receive a critique during the next webinar.
The Webinar technology impresses me. The log-in process was easy. The voice quality was excellent, the slide presentation was clear, and the response time to our questions was quick. It’s a great way to connect to writers in other states and to get an experienced author to comment on your writing skills.
If you paid your dues for any organization, take advantage of any benefits they may offer. There appears to be many established authors in the industry who are willing to give their time to help the pre-published authors among us. Have any of you found useful free perks to suggest?