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Monday, June 16, 2014

So You Want to Be a Writer: Nuggets from Lisa Mangum and the Writers for Life Workshop

Last-last weekend I had the privilege of attending the Writers for Life workshop in Provo, Utah with both my blood sister and my agency sister.

Real sister

Agency sister
I took lots of notes! I'm hoping to share what I learned over a few blog posts. Today I want to share some notes from Lisa Mangum, author of The Hourglass Door. Her presentation was titled "So You Want to Be a Writer," and it covered a wide range of topics (mind you that I'm not going to make the following bullets parallel because I'm lazy like that).

First, a quote:

"Quit. But if you can't, do the work." -Rick Walton


  • Keep an idea journal. Every day, write down five notes--character ideas, something interesting you learned, a piece of science you saw on twitter, a magic idea, anything. You can turn these notes into "what if" statements, and stories can rise from those. (We ended up on some what-if tangent about frozen gummy bears...)
  • The three critical elements of plot are forward progression, increased momentum, and
    unrelenting tension.
  • Create characters that grow.
  • Create a problem. Once you have a problem, it either needs to be solved and a new problem arises, or it hasn't been solved and the problem has gotten worse.
  • Ask, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" And then do it.
  • One solution to writer's block is changing where and how you write.
  • Writing in a profession that requires you to believe in yourself.

Well said, Lisa! Hopefully something here is helpful to my fellow writers. :)




7 comments:

  1. Great tips. And I've heard others say we should think about the worst thing that could happen to our characters.

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  2. Great tips!
    You guys look like you're having fun. What a neat event!

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  3. Some common sense advice and reminders.

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  4. Good list. I especially like the: Ask, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" And then do it.

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  5. Lisa rocks. I loved the points highlighted here. And I love the pics! Writer conferences/workshops are the best… they're always SO inspiring!!!!

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  6. Great bullet points here. I'm working on some of those. :)

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  7. You and your sister look so much alike! And now you have me wondering about frozen gummy bears. Would they break your teeth off...? ;)

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