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The Learning and Growing Never Stops

My head is still spinning today. What a weekend. This might get a bit mushy in parts, so I’m warning you first. 😉 There are many

Me After the Conference! LOL

reasons I’m glad I found RWA. The main ones being the wonderful friendships I’ve made along the way and the great conferences I’ve attended over the years.

We had our local chapter’s conference on Saturday. Just when you think there isn’t possibly anything else you can learn, you get knocked upside the head with a new concept. And it’s a wonderful thing.

Alexandra Sokoloff was our guest speaker this year. She taught us how to take movies and break them down into acts like a screenplay. Then she applied the same principle to movies and books. Talk about an eye opener! I’m sharing this link, because in no form or fashion could I ever come close to explaining how wonderful this technique is.  Screenwriting Tricks for Authors. I’ve always been a visual learner and lights went off and rusty wheels started turning for the first time in years. LOL

To spark your interest:

With this workbook, based on award-winning author/ screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff’s internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks For Authors blog and workshops, you’ll learn how to use techniques of film writing such as:

– the High Concept Premise

– the Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure

– the Storyboard Grid

– the Index Card Method of Plotting

I am not a plotter. But this has me a tad excited about giving it a try. I even went out and bought these great fluorescent index cards!

Another wonderful thing I took away from her workshop is this. To be better writers, we have to get out in the world and live. Experience life to the fullest. Not so easy for a shy introvert, I thought. But apparently there are lots of writers out there who are introverts and you know what? They have learned how to succeed despite this pesky, annoying trait. As I look back, I must say, since joining RWA in 2007, I’ve grown beyond my wildest expectations. I had no idea how great one little but terrifying step would be.  🙂

I believe the key to this growth has been the support and encouragement from my fellow writers. Without joining RWA and my local chapter, I would not have attended that first National RWA Conference in Dallas. I would not have discovered how friendly and supportive other writers were. Shoot, I would not have met Keri. Therefore, I would not be a part of this wonderful group of ladies on this blog right now either.

With all the chaos in the publishing industry right now, it’s more important than ever to build these relationships. I feel like without them, lots of great writers out there will give up and never find the courage to persevere through this and follow their dreams. So to anyone out there who is trying to do this writing on your own, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Look for writing groups in your area. If there aren’t any, then check online. The great thing about the internet is, no matter where you live, you can get plugged in, find wonderful supportive people to share these ups and downs with.  And trust me. There will be lots of ups and downs. LOL

Sending Big Hugs to all my writing buds!!
Now I’m off to pick my top ten movies, so I can pick them apart. 🙂


14 Responses

  1. The conference was terrific, Alexandra was an amazing speaker, and the whole day was an experience, that’s for sure.

    Now then…. you’ll have to post your ten movies, Melissa…:)

  2. I so feel that same way. My local chapter has lifted me up, taught me so much, and supports me every step of the way. It’s worth every penny I give and I try really hard to pay them back with my support of the chapter. Some don’t understand that when you give of yourself, you get good stuff back tenfold. I’m sure Keri can attest this too. She and I both came into NOLA at the same time and both of us volunteered to help (me as an officer; her as the contest chair). And both of us sold our first books the year after. Okay, I know we didn’t sell because we gave of ourselves, but I do think that service has something to do with it. A karma thing, I guess.

    So many people on this blog have served RWA in various ways, and I’ve seen it pay off.

    You gotta give a little to take a little, right?

    Glad you had fun and are pumped about your writing! Now everyone go out and help a fellow writer, chapter or the national organization and see what happens. At the very least, you’ll make some great memories.

    • I agree, Liz! Volunteering is a great way to give back and learn at the same time. 🙂 The Nola Stars conference will always be one of my favorites!! Hope I can make another one soon! 🙂

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE the picture. That is EXACTLY how I feel after coming home from a great conference!

    I have heard wonderful things about Alexandra’s workshops. Glad to hear it was so helpful to you.

    • LOL Cyndi! I saw it and for a second thought someone had snapped my photo when I wasn’t looking!! 🙂 I’ve always written with scenes playing in my head. Now I know how to put them together so I achieve that perfect magical fit. And she was so fun to listen to!

  4. Melissa: I couldn’t agree more about the value of RWA and support from other writers. As much as I’ve learned from craft books and classes, having the help and support of others who are doing the same thing, going through the same struggles, and learning right along with me has been more valuable than I can ever estimate.

    And isn’t it great when the lightbulb goes off like that? I’ve been having a lot of those moments lately (one in the car today as a matter of fact). Love it. Good luck!

  5. Hear hear about everything! (Love the owl, too! LOL)

    I have a friend who loved that workshop so much, she took it twice. And it has led to some REALLY great things for her!

    I feel the same way about RWA and my local chapter, as well as all of you guys. I met some of you via RWA, and some of you here via those I met via RWA. LOL It’s ongoing, and continuously fulfilling.

    I can’t even imagine how dry and short-lived my writing journey would have been if I’d never joined.

  6. So glad you had such a great time!!!

    Thanks for the link…now I might not feel so out of the loop!

    Hugs back at ya!

    • And Tess…You are ALWAYS welcome to come chat with us here at ENLR.

    • Missed you, Tess! It was a great conference. The best part about the workshop was the fact she used movies I’d actually seen. Which is a stretch since I don’t get to see many. Inception was the one that helped most and then there was How to Kill a Dragon too. LOL

      And as Cyndi said, come chat with us anytime! 🙂

  7. Brace yourself, lady, because I may tackle-hug you. Then I’m going after Alexandra Sokoloff. I’ve been bashing my head on my keyboard for weeks trying to figure out why the opening chapters of this book just weren’t gelling, and she set me straight in two minutes with one blog post.

    This calls for a chair dance marathon. *cranks up the Billy Talent*

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