Why I love workshops

By far the most popular part of the Catholic Writers Conference Online has been the chats. We have experts from all areas of publishing come and chat for an hour, giving mini-lessons and taking questions. I usually end up transcribing them for our e-book. (BTW–If you couldn’t make the conference and want to purchase the e-book, it’s available for a $20 donation to the CWCO. CWCO is part of CWG, a non-profit, so you can count it as a charity or as a business expense!)

For me, however, the week-long workshops are far more useful. I love being able to put the learning into practice, and I always come away with great stuff. Monday, I shared a scene I came up with in Devon Ellington’s Dialog class. Today, I want to show you the difference a few tips from Kim Richards made to a scene in Discovery that I truly hated:

OLD: James managed to make it to the auditorium as the last of the stragglers were coming in. About half of the researchers had decided to come to the briefing. Some wanted to see the images of the alien ship again. Some were curious to see the miner’s reactions. He noticed that they all took spots opposite the Rocky Flat’s team, who had taken position in a lopsided semi-circle around Hayden and his senior staff, forming their own island of humanity among the dark, empty seats.

Hayden sat in the front row, Captain Addiman to his left and Andy to his right; then Sister Ann, Sister Thomas, and Rita. After Rita, the row sat empty, as did the seats behind her. He watched as she gave the empty seats a seemingly incurious look. He knew she recognized the barrier.

She knows all about barriers
, he thought, surprised at the bitterness of his inner voice. Then again, she’d put a barrier between them half the size of the solar system. Why couldn’t she just tell me?

NEW: James managed to make it to the auditorium as the last of the stragglers were coming in. The fifteen or so researchers that crowded together at one side. Some leaned forward, hungry eyes on the blank viewscreen. More were nudging each other and looking at the Rocky Flats mining team. The miners had created their own island of humanity on the opposite side of the auditorium, chattering amongst themselves, ignoring the researchers. Hayden, his senior staff and the Rescue Sisters stretched between the groups like an incomplete bridge.

Rita formed the last bit of that bridge. She gave the empty seats around her an incurious look, but James knew she recognized the invisible barrier they formed.

She knows all about barriers,
he thought, surprised at the bitterness of his inner voice. Then again, she’d put a barrier between them half the size of the solar system. Why couldn’t she just tell me?

I hope some of you will be able to make it to an writers conference, on- or off-line. They really are worth the time. Incidentally, I hear there’s an LGG con, LostCon, being planned for the Fall in SecondLife. Maybe I’ll see you there?

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