Thursday, April 26, 2018

greensboro, NC conference

NC Writers' Network Conference
JillMcCorkle was the keynote speaker at The North Carolina Writers Network Conference held at Greensboro on Saturday. She stood on a stage removed from the audience, and my seat was at some distance from the front, ergo, a rather fuzzy photo. 
Jill McCorkle
Obviously a well-prepared talk, and what she read to us was useful information despite the monotone presentation. She said that our subconscious is smarter than our consciousness. This is something I can believe. When I’m working on a story, I often come up with fresh ideas early in the morning, after a night of sleep and before I’m fully wake up. I suspect I was working in my sleep.

McCorkle said that writing a poem or story is like building a house, e.g., foundation, doors and windows for looking in or out. Location, location, location. A place where you know all you know. Potential and comfort. Haunted or run down. A fantasy of salvaging.

A useful McCorkle quote: Sometimes we revise too soon before we get to the emotional truth we’re after. Revision is the true art.
Susan Emshwiller
SusanEmshwiller’s enthusiasm for movies translated into helpful information on writing. On dialogue, she reminded us that our characters can call out/play with bad dialogue. Another gem: complex concepts (e.g., collateralized debt obligation, or cognitive neuroscience) need not be explained as long as a character in the story understands it. Using movie clips, she gave us ideas about exposition, setup for chaos, and theme. With “Tell them up front the essentials,” she ended with scenes from Delicatessen and Saving Private Ryan.

David Halperin
In the afternoon, David Halperin’s topic was “Writing the Character you Know Best.” Mostly anecdotal input from the audience. A good reminder that perfection itself is a flaw when it comes to creating characters.

The Greensboro that I saw is a college town with a revitalized downtown of about three blocks where lively pedestrians stroll the restaurants and shops. My sister Nila bought a handmade necklace in one of the shops while I was hanging out with writers.

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