On May 4th, I attended the Oklahoma Writer's Conference. Compared to many other conferences out there, it's still one of the most affordable conferences to attend where you can network with other authors, meet best-selling authors, and learn all about the trade. If you're interested in attending next year, here's the direct link: www.owfi.org.
I was fortunate enough to meet up with some amazing friends and writers and network with some of their speakers.
I also had the honor of listening to the their key-note speaker, Michale Dahl. He writes horror books for younger audiences and he had some amazing advice about letting the story flow and seeing where you end up in the end. He stated, "When writing a story, if you start with a message, you are already closing the doors to your imagination... allow yourself to explore instead of expound. Trust your imagination...move forward...and see where it goes."
I found it inspiring to get an inside look into his motivation for writing. He explained, "Fear is a doorway to empathy," and when writing scary stories, it lets children know that they are not alone, because everyone gets scared. The secret to his success is that he chooses univeral themes that most children are afraid of, like getting lost, for example, and he also gave great tips about how one shouldn't start a story. Here are a few:
Don't start a story with kids at a breakfast table (There's no action and it really doesn't hook the reader)
Being the 1st day of summer vacation ( He felt it was cliche-ish and often overdone)
Throat clearing (Bizarre, I know, but I guess some people actually open a sentene this way)
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" ~Charlotte's Web
It was motivating and inspiring. I enjoyed the opportunity I had to be able to network with other people in the field and felt inspired to continue enduring the marathon most indie authors run when trying to find their place in the writing world. I've been doing this for thirteen years. My husband and I have a running joke that someday we're going to look back at all the hardships we've endured and laugh. Still...not laughing all the way to the bank, but we remain hopeful that that day will come.
A famous boxer by the name of Muhammad Ali once quoted, "It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe." Such a true statement considering that grunting and enduring through the process towards a goal can be wearisome when life has a way of throwing you monkey-wrenches from all directions, but this is the type of work I can do twelve hours straight that doesn't feel like work at all. That's when you know that you have tapped into your life's purpose. If you have a passion like that, how can you let it go? The answer to that is that you simply can't and shouldn't. I encourage you to continue to find ways to grow in your skill, seek improvement, and carry on. In the famous words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, "When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." I think I'm on my third knot, but hanging on I will, even if I have to tie a fourth knot; even if I have to super glue my hands to it when I find myself running out of strength to let go.
I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. I'm no longer on Facebook, but feel free to find me also on Twitter, Instagram, and/or my journey to healing blog. Also, if you know someone who would appreciate reading this post, feel free to share this with them. One final note, my short story series continues with Vile Visitors Return and is set to for release on Amazon on May 26th. You can go to the link and click subscribe to get notifications when a new story is featured on my Amazon site as well.
Coming May 26th- Vile Visitors Returns
Miss the First Story?
No worries. You can read the first Vile Visitors on Amazon's Kindle, and if you are a Kindle unlimited subscriber, the story is free. Here's the trailer to the first part.