I loved conference. I got to hang out with these people:
(from left to right: Jenn Johansson, Sara Larson, Renee Collins, me)
And these people:
(from left to right: very awesome people)
(My amazing agent, Michelle Wolfson)
Also more of my favorite people who I didn't pose for pictures with.
No, I did not wear the same shirt all weekend, why do you ask?
Also! I got to go to some amazing classes. I will talk about one of those classes today. It was taught by Elana Johnson (whom I adore), author of POSSESSION and SURRENDER (coming soon). She based the class on the book by Blake Snyder called SAVE THE CAT. It's actually a screenwriting book, but it works perfectly for novel writing as well. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an author who reads books on learning the craft. I read loads of books, have my whole life, and feel that's where I've learned the craft (a lifetime of reading it). But, BUT! this class was amazing. It was basically a loose outlining process for those of us who hate outlining. Elana talked about dividing your novel into three acts, and each act needs to contain certain elements.
I will now proceed to do a crappy job summarizing. If you want details, I suggest you buy the book. Act 1 is your opening act. It covers about the first 75 pages of your novel and includes your theme, set-up, inciting incident, and a debate (your MC debating whether or not they want/need/can leave the world as they know it and go into the "new"). Act 1 is basically the world as you MC knows and has lived up until this point.
Act 2 starts the new world. (This doesn't only apply to fantasy/paranormal) A new world, meaning different from the one your MC has lived. The MC should always go into this new world of their own accord. They should never be forced. That doesn't mean they can't drag their feet or think it's a bad idea, but they must make the choice on their own. In Act 2 a lot of stuff happens (note me keeping my promise of a crappy summary.)
Act 3 is the blending of the two worlds. New hero, new person. It's the finale. Your MC gathers his/her team, executes plan, fails at plan, digs deep, executes new plan.
Anyway, this was a 2 hour class so that should tell you just how craptastic this summary was. But, really, you should get the book. Very helpful. Elana pointed out that even if you don't outline, once you've finished your first draft you can make sure you have all the key elements. You might discover you're missing a "beat" and need to add it. Great class.
And because I love Elana so much and appreciated her class and the work she put into it, I am giving away a copy of her book POSSESSION (which I also love). If you want to be entered to win, just leave a comment. I'll announce the winner next Friday.