Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nationals Recap

I was at the RWA National Conference last week—the holy grail of our craft—breathing the same air as Nora Roberts, Stephanie Laurens, Julia Quinn, Jayne Anne Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and more. I met people I’d been emailing to for months, especially my fellow Crimson Romance authors, and pitched to an agent and an editor, attended one workshop after another, wished I could clone myself so I could do more. Oh, and as an additional perk, I got to play for a day and went to Hearst Castle, up the California coast a couple of hours.
The Conference was the big reason for trekking across the country, and the highlight of the conference, for me anyway, was being able to partake in Michael Hauge’s workshop. If you haven’t yet heard him speak, I encourage you to find his calendar of speaking engagements and get yourself to one. It was that good. He takes the six-stage concept of screenwriting, made famous by Blake Snyder and Alexandra Sokoloff, and expands upon it in a most profound way. The main characters must journey, in these six stages, from their outer identity, which is the false self we present to the world, to their essence—what lies underneath their outer armor. Once they find the courage to embrace their essence, the characters, and your story, win.
One of the best things Michael Hauge said was at the very end of his talk. He said to set a goal for yourself and your career. It can be something as simple as writing five pages today, or something as complex as finding an agent. Whatever it is, fix the goal firmly in your mind and then fill in the following sentence:
I’ll do whatever it takes to _______________, just don’t ask me to _______________.
Don’t think about your answer too long, just jot down the first thing that comes to mind. I can guarantee you Identity will answer first. Look at your answer. Just don’t ask me to what? Identity answered something safe. Now, push your boundaries. Get to your Essence—the really scary answer. Only when you get to your own Essence will you be able to complete your journey. Profound.

1 comment:

  1. Becky - I love Hearst Castle. Sorry I wasn't able to attend Nat'ls this year.