What I Learned at the UW Writers’ Institute

I just got home from the UW Writers’ Institute in Madison, and I should probably be sleeping. With my book party on Friday (check out the pictures on Facebook) and an unfortunate reaction to food Saturday night, I’m exhausted. But I’m also exhilarated from all the inspiration and support from this weekend.

I missed Thursday and Friday’s sessions, which is too bad. They had a lot of good material, so maybe next year I can make a long weekend out of it. I’m going to list my five takeaways from each session I attended. People like lists.

Saturday Keynote: “Setting the Stakes, Hooking the Reader” – Ann Garvin

  • Where is the love?? Need to make the reader care.
  • In the hook, you need to define what are the stakes, and why do we care?
  • To the reader, every sentence is an audition for the next sentence.
  • If have to get through writing a section just to get to a section you’re more excited about, then you need to think about changing it. You should be excited about every section.
  • Cliché hooks include waking up from a dream, internal thoughts, and basically anything you’ve read before.

Read More

IMGP1425-webCome join me at the W J Niederkorn Library in Port Washington! I’ll be talking a little bit about how the writing process has gone for me, answering questions, and reading an excerpt from Front Row. I’ll also have a few copies on hand if anyone would like to purchase one. I’d love to see you there!

Also, for the 21+ crowd, there will be an after party at Sir James Pub up the road. The beer selection can’t be beat, the bartenders are awesome, and there will be drink tickets you can redeem for a signature cocktail named by you! Vote on the name here! There will also be karaoke at 9:00 if you’re into that sort of thing.