Little Writing Lessons Well Learned

Want to help me get a new desk chair? Check out the details in the donation box below the post!

The past five days feel like they’ve lasted for a year. My kitchen flooded, I finally changed my last name to my husband’s, and the next instalment of one of my all-time favourite series was released. (Yes, it’s Gallifrey, and yes, I’m still too emotional to talk about it.)

But in the midst of everything, there was Saturday. I went down to my favourite Starbucks to write in the morning, and when I got home, I fired up the online Edge of the Universe writing convention hosted by LTUE. For three hours of my afternoon, I got some great little nuggets of insight on different aspects of writing. I’m so happy that free online conferences like this are around because I love to learn but don’t have money to spend on expensive courses and conferences. When you see opportunities like these come your way, snatch them up quickly! (There’s actually another free online writing con going on next week!)

Here are my main takeaways from the panels:

1. Read!!

To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader, too. While I talk about this a lot on the blog anyway, it was fun to hear about books and reading from Annie Oswald. She suggested reading from a wide range of genres, even non-fiction, as a fiction writer.

She also talked a lot about how reading actually helps with networking. Being a well-read person leaves a good impression on bookish people, which can certainly help in the publishing world. This was something I’d never really thought about!

Oswald also suggested reading the latest and most popular books to stay up to date on current trends. I immediately shrugged off that suggestion at first – most of the “relevant” books of today are filled with content I stay a mile away from. But it occurred to me that with all of the books out there, there are probably some recently successful books that I would actually like if I took the time to look.

This panel really made me excited to get a new library card, since I finally got my newer address updated on my driver’s license. I can’t wait to discover more amazing books to share with you!

2. Dialogue Is Key

The second panel I attended was a detailed dive into dialogue from C. Rae D’Arc. While I consider myself fairly good at writing dialogue, this panel made me think about all of the things that dialogue can do other than conveying speech. I’d never really thought about how many functions dialogue really has! And that’s why it’s so difficult to get it exactly right. In essence, dialogue is the key to showing rather than telling. Through dialogue, you can have your character interact with and detail the story world, you can show what a character is feeling, reveal the true heart of a character, and so much more!

I came away with the idea that once Project Pea’s first draft is done, I’m really going to hone in on dialogue during the edits.

3. Look into Writing/Editing Software

There’s a lot of writing/editing software that’s been on my radar for a while, namely Scrivener, ProWritingAid, and Grammarly Premium. The final panel of the day, Self-Editing Tricks by John M. Olsen, dealt quite a bit with different software you can use for editing and writing. Seeing how many people in the panel’s chat vouched for the software made me even more determined to get my hands on it. I would love to have the organisation aspects of Scrivener and the detailed editing suggestions of ProWritingAid and/or Grammarly Premium at my disposal; I think it would not only help my writing, but help me to learn more about how to improve my writing in general.

This is where you can help! My most immediate need for my work right now is a good office chair since I’m dealing with neck and back pain due to my dinky cheap chair (and, of course, insurance doesn’t cover a chiropractor). But once I’m able to get a chair, my next goal will be acquiring some of this software! Thanks to everyone who has already donated, by the way, or has read my stories on Simily and Vocal (where I get paid for every view on my stories). It really does help so much! So far, I’ve been able to get a more comfortable travel keyboard, a 3-year membership with the Florida Writer’s Association, compression gloves, and more with all of the donations I’ve received.

Overall, I really enjoyed the brevity of the Edge of the Universe convention, especially as so many other things were happening in my life around the same time. It was a great way to relax and learn on a Saturday afternoon, and I’m looking forward to another convention next week. I hope to see you there!

Happy writing!
-E.J.


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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Current Donation Goal: New Desk Chair! $0/$200

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My neck hurts, y’all. Even though I’m careful to maintain good posture while working at my desk, my current desk chair simply doesn’t provide me with the support I need – but good desk chairs are expensive, and that’s why I need your help! Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.

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