Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It’s Off to Workshop We Go

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Part of platform building includes face to face human interaction. Some people love it, others would rather huddle in their jammies behind the safety of their computer screens.
My most memorable non-writing presentation involved a 5′ Mexican King snake with his fangs embedded in my hand…but I digress.
pic courtesty of gubgib @freedigitalphoto.net
Since my baptism in the publication pool this past year, Chicken Soup for the Soul bought two stories, and the James Scott Bell team bought one for an upcoming Bethany House compilation. That encouraged me to help other new writers.
 I created a workshop to share what I’d learned, called, “Turning Writing Dreams into Reality. Tips, tools, and encouragement for beginning writers.” At its debut last month the room was filled with people I knew. And liked. Talk about putting a speaker at ease.
Even with my years of public speaking, here’s what I’ve re-learned:
1) Practice in the mirror. You’ll identify quirks, like squinting, repeatedly pushing up your glasses, wild gestures, or a zombie-like expression.
photo courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
2) Start on time even if people are still straggling in.
3) Remember to introduce yourself and your subject. Pretty helpful for those folks who sat down in the wrong workshop.
4) Bring your supplies. Have handouts, pencils, extra paper, business cards, books you’re selling, etc. Author Angela D. Meyer has a great post on what to bring to make set-up attractive and easier.
5) Factor how much time it will take to set up, and add at least an extra 1/2 hour to it. For example, before my last workshop I checked out my designated area. Everything looked perfect. But when I arrived Saturday morning, the event coordinators had reassigned my room due to technical issues.
pic courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS @ freeigitalphotos.net
6) Instruct your audience to jot down any questions or unfamiliar terms, and assure them you’ll take questions at the end. They’ll have relevant questions and comments, but if you stop to address them you won’t have time to cover your material.
7) Reinforce it when they interrupt. “Great question. Please bring it up when we get to the question portion at the end.” And make sure you allow adequate time for questions.
8) Be honest. I explained at the beginning of my workshop that I’m a new writer sharing what I’ve learned so far. If you don’t know an answer, point them to another resource. My last class asked fabulous insightful questions. I referred them several times to Wordsowers. If you have no clue, admit it. No need to elaborate, “Unfortunately, at present I’m unable to address the specifics of your query.” A simple, “I don’t know, but Wordsowers will,” should cover most questions.

Now on to

Jeanie’s Super-Secret Newbie No-No’s

 

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

 

To recap what we’ve learned so far:
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, “Newbie!”
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. (Really just skip them. I’m very serious.)
This week-  The Invisible Man(uscript) Words

Said, ask, answer, and reply.
CeC Murphey puts it this way:
“…To keep the emphasis on the dialog itself, you can use four different verbs—I call them invisible—because they are so common, we hardly notice them. They are said, ask, answer, and reply.”
Sol Stein concurs in his holy grail, Stein on Writing. So 
Use “Said” for most of your writing.

Most new writers don’t realize the Green Bay Packers train with editors during the off season. When editors see,

                 “I don’t think so,” she giggled.
                       “I do,” he sighed.
                           “I still don’t think so,” she exclaimed.
                                 ” I think so,” he shouted.
They dispatch the Packers, en mass, to break down your door, tackle you to the floor, and kick your manuscript into oblivion using you as a field goal.

The entire mess can be prevented by using “said.”

Enough said.

Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off) is create a tagline.
How about you? Are you working toward a goal? If not, is something hindering you? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.
Jeanie Jacobson

Jeanie Jacobson

Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group. Her book, Fast Fixes for the Christian Packrat, is available on Amazon. She’s also published in “Focus on the Family”and “LIVE” magazines, many Chicken Soup for the Soul releases, and a Bethany House compilation. Jeanie teaches workshops geared toward helping new writers, and is working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with her at jeaniejacobson.com
Jeanie Jacobson

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