This weekend was the 2016 WV Book Festival. Wonderful event. The staff really outdid themselves again this year. There were wonderful seminars for Creating Vibrant Characters with WVU Press/Vandalia Press and If You Want to Write for Kids! Writing Workshop, with Sarah Sullivan. Both were full of information and rivaled the wonderful workshops from last year.
After the 2015 evening with Neil Gaiman, I worried that this year's speaker wouldn't be quite as entertaining. I was very wrong. Though Erik Larson is from a completely different genre, his take on writing and his personal experience was invaluable for anyone interested in writing, or, where my husband is concerned, anyone involved with a crazy person who stalks authors regularly. Larson's use of humor was abundant, his knowledge and skill clear to even the most casual of his fans. (Plus, he liked my tweet you guys ZOMG...). There was one thing he said though, that really hit me: when you stop writing for the day, leave off in the middle of a paragraph, or even a sentence. Let your brain work on it for you while you're sleeping. When you come back in the morning, you'll have it all neatly worked out and be able to begin with fervor.
Although my goal was to spend all of my morning on day two in seminars, I got hungry. So after spending too much money at the book fair and marketplace (Tara Tyler and Ashley Chappell, I blame you), I went to lunch and wrote. I'd left off mid-paragraph the night before and holy hells it worked! I finished two chapters before going to listen to the hilarious Maggie Stiefvater at 1:30. If I'm being honest, I'd never actually heard of her before. I was just curious about the title listed on the program, "An Average Work Day." I'm certainly thankful I went. She was engaging, funny, and refreshingly real with her audience, sharing personal stories and giving them a glimpse into how she does what she does. I'll definitely be giving her a read based on this alone. Plus, she reinforced what I've been doing lately: plot it out before you even open the page. Let it be fully formed in your mind before you write the first word.
The final part of my day was spent with the amazing Patrick Rothfuss. His approach to the importance of reading and how it fosters empathy between people was an interesting and insightful view. He took something that seems mundane and made it fresh. Plus, I'm pretty sure he started a cult: Hail The Book!