Hear ye, hear ye: in addition to the 2018 BCW holiday party, which will include all the events in the aforementioned post (see for additional details), there will be a WRITING CONTEST for those interested. For any who may have followed the infamous Janet Reid site, the rules are surprisingly similar:
200 words maximum.
Must involve the following 5 words: 1) regift, 2) batter, 3) pine, 4) sleigh and 5) icicle. All 5 words must be included in the story, although plurals and transmogrifications are accepted (e.g., ‘batters’ and ‘regifted’). Words may also have more than one meaning or may be used to substitute for similar-sounding words of different spellings.
Participants can be BCW members or interested non-members, but you should plan on attending the holiday party (12/8). Significant others, relatives and/or friends who also attend may also participate.
Keep in mind: we’re mystery writers, not pastry chefs. So the more murdery (murderier? murderiest?), the better.
Submit entries to email@example.com no later than 11:59 p.m., Thursday, 12/6 (please include the name of the author). One entry per attendee, please. Top finishers will be presented at the holiday party Saturday, 12/8, with awards of indeterminate value (i.e., cheap) presented at the holiday party to the top finishers. And the winner will be published on the BCW website (yeah, baby!).
So on the count of three . . . one. Two. Wait for it: three . . . start scribbling. See y’all 12/8.
That’s right – it’s time to take a break from the wrapping of presents. Or, if you haven’t bought them yet, a break from shopping.
Or, if you aren’t THERE yet, a break from bugging your relatives about what they want for Christmas. You get the idea.
That break comes on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 12:30-3 p.m.! We’ll be at the Rusty Bucket, 180 Market St., New Albany, to commiserate on the sad state of our shopping swap tales of our writing successes and generally have a good time! We have a party room reserved, but you’ll still be responsible for your own lunch.
And, at the risk of giving you one more present to think about, here’s one more! It should be easy, though, and you know going in that you’ll get one in return. Please bring a book to exchange! We have a highly-complicated, ritualized, patent-pending method prepared that will ensure you don’t get the book you brought. Ok, it’s not that complicated, we don’t believe in rituals, and patents are overrated. Other than that, it’s exactly as described. Anyway, bring a book that has some meaning for you – a new author, a great story, whatever works for you. It doesn’t have to be new, as long as it’s in good shape.
If you’ve been a writer for any length of time, I bet there’s something you didn’t know – you’re chunky. Yes, according to Allie Pleiter, the masterful presenter for “The Chunky Method,” all writers are chunky. Whether you write first thing in the morning, during lunch breaks, or only on weekends, writers fall into one of two categories: Big Chunky or Little Chunky. What does that mean? Well, Big Chunk writers prefer to write in their office, have no time limit looming, and no interruptions; they tend to accomplish 500 – 1,000 words per writing session. Little Chunk writers, on the other hand, are those folks who can write on index cards, while riding the subway, and aren’t rattled by sudden distractions – such as taking a friend to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy (Allie helped out four friends in that very situation); they might accomplish 250 – 300 words per writing session. What does this mean for writers? By knowing which type you are, a writer can apply Allie’s Chunky Method to target a few things. First off, you need to discover your average word count per writing session. Then, determine how many writing sessions you can commit to per week, based on your schedule, your life. With that knowledge, you can then find out how long it will take you to write or finish your current project. For example, if you write 500 words per writing session (Little Chunk) and you can commit to four writing sessions per week, you’ll end up with around 2,000 words per week. Enter that info into Allie’s Chunky Method calculator (provided to those who sign up), and you can see how long it will take you to write that book, based on the word count you’re aiming for. If your word count goal is 100,000 words, you’ll complete your novel in 50 weeks (based on our simple example). This is helpful in many ways. For one, it can help writers determine if their goals are realistic, can encourage them to *tweak* the amount of writing sessions (as needed), and can be a useful tool when committing to a deadline. There’s more to it, of course, but Allie’s Chunky Method is a wonderful resource for helping writers achieve their goals.
I recently had the good fortune of attending the Magna Cum Murder writing festival in Indianapolis. As I reflect back, here are some takeaways from the conference.
Book the conference hotel as soon as you know you will be attending. You will feel more a part of the action, as you will be having conversations in the elevator, in line for coffee, etc.
Practice the elevator pitch for your book or for the project on which you are currently working. There were quite a few occasions where someone asked me what I was writing. It’s a great opportunity to share the great stuff you are doing.
Order bookmarks or cards for your books, if you are published. (Thank you to board members Kandy Williams and Connie Berry for that suggestion.) After giving your elevator pitch you will be happy to be able to have something to give out as a reminder. It also makes you look more professional. I used vistaprint.com and was quite pleased with the results.
Go to all the sessions you can. I got something out of nearly every one I attended. Bring a notepad and a pen. You never know when your next best idea will be triggered.
Go for the weekend, if you can afford it, especially if it is a smaller conference. You will run into people repeatedly: they will get to know you and you them. According to some of the authors with which I spoke, this is a more intimate conference. It was a true family-like atmosphere.
Get the complete experience. If you are an author or hope to be one someday, buy at least one of the books for sale and have it signed.
Bring your laptop. There was an impromptu time-bound writing contest sponsored by the Indianapolis chapter of Sisters in Crime. (Two hundred and fifty words centered on or based on a Christmas carol.)
Engage with the other attendees. Even if you go by yourself, you will feel like you are part of the community. Plus it’s a great opportunity to learn. At the lunch table a New York Times bestselling author suggested aspiring writers attend the Penn Writers conference, which is in Pittsburgh next year. It sounds like an intensive three days.
Ask questions. The panel authors are grateful to get them and you can get answers to writing questions that may be vexing you.
If you are a published author, let the organizers of the conference know (yes, even independent authors). When I signed up in May, I wasn’t, but by mid-October I had two books out. They are always looking for people to be on panels. And they had a place for readers to purchase panelists’ books and specific book signing times.
Parnell Hall (left) and John Gilstrap meet in a panel discussion at Magna Cum Murder.