The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

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The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Claudie » 18 Aug 2011, 17:55

Hello, ladies and gentlemen!

Some of you may be aware of it, but over in the [url="http://forums.nathanbransford.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3876"]Procrastination forums[/url], a group of us decided, in a bout of collective excitement and awesomeness, to organise a real-life Bransforums Meet 'n Greet. The goal is to have fun, finally see each other for real, and exchange writing tips and critiques. Did I say have fun? Yep. A few super-important details have been hammered out so far.

When? From Saturday March 3rd to Thursday March 8th, 2012. For the all-number folks, that's 3/3-8/3/2012.
Where? Las Vegas, baby. If you're asking why, the short answer is "cheaper and central to a lot of the forumites". We estimate cost for hotel for a week at 345$ (that's how it was when we checked).
What? Meeting each other! Writing Workshops/Talks! Vegas Sightseeing! Fun, fun, fun.

So that was the All Important Information. We're working hard to organise the Bransforumsfest. And you can help!

See, among the "what are we going to do?", we are trying to schedule and organise several writing workshops. And you, awesome people, can help us. By answering questions!

1. Do you want to come to the Bransforumsfest? Yes, no, maybe and "I'll do everything I can" are all good answers here.
2. Do you want to lead a writing workshop?
3. Even if you said no to the above, do you have writing workshop ideas? Subjects we could discuss?
4. Of the topics/exercises mentionned above, and if you come to the Bransforumsfest, do any sound particularly awesome to you?

And before you all jump on your keyboards and excitedly list all the badass writing exercises you know, here's some topics we came up with!

Topics
Story
Dialogue
Prose/Description
Revisions/Editing
Social Networking
Writer Tools and Technology

I think that's it! Share your exercises! Let's put our brains together in an awesome and might storm. :D
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Nicole R » 21 Aug 2011, 19:49

Yay! I was hoping these details would jump from the original thread once you guys had a general consensus!

1) I'd love to come. Not sure I can do the whole week as it's right before a friend's wedding, but I'm hoping to work it out for the first weekend and possibly Monday.

2) Um, co-lead maybe, once we get the topics nailed...

3) I have one of Donald Maass' workbooks...not sure if you want to pull exercises from there or not. I also have a few editing techniques/exercises from my PR day job and from experience in my crit group. Also a neat re-writing approach I found on Janice Hardy's blog.

4) Dialogue sounds great - would love to see examples of authors who do it well with lots of dialogue and those who use sparse dialogue. Plus, how to keep it realistic. A session on Characterization would be really fun, too! I'm assuming you're trying to keep this relevant for all genres, but anything specific to fantasy also gets my vote. :D
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby dios4vida » 22 Aug 2011, 08:03

Hey guys, I had some ideas for the introductions/meet 'n' greet/get to know each other day.

1. We could all bring a photo of our bookshelf (or favorite, if there are multiple) and play a game of "guess whose bookshelf this is!"

2. We could write flash fiction about a story, anecdote, or other piece of our lives and share them. Say, no more than 1,000 words?

Whatcha think?
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Claudie » 22 Aug 2011, 19:21

Nicole: No pressure on the whole week. Participants can come and go as they need to. Co-leading exercise -- That's an idea we hadn't thought of. I'd probably feel more confident co-leading too! Splendid.

Do you have any favourites in that Maass book? It's fine to pull some from it -- Margo mentionned doing an exercise (or two) from him already.

dios4vida wrote:1. We could all bring a photo of our bookshelf (or favorite, if there are multiple) and play a game of "guess whose bookshelf this is!"


I really, really love that idea. It's fun and quirky and writing-related. Maybe couple it with another that allows participants to know more about our respective genres and everything else, to make it more than a bunch of wild guesses? But bookshelf-guessing sounds like a better version of baby-guessing!

Also, Exercises! I meant to share some we already have, so you have an idea what we might be looking for. Although, well, we're looking for whatever you great minds can come up with. :)

Those are quotes from the e-mails, btw

From dios4vida
1. Two stacks of photos on the table: one of people, one of places. Folks choose one of each and then write a scene or create a novel premise for why that person was there. The only rule would be no obviously paired photos (no cowboys on a ranch).

2. I stole this one off of Writer Unboxed, one of the guest posters did it and I thought we'd have a blast with it. Each person creates a character, as vividly as possible. Whatever floats their boat. Then, we split up into pairs and together answer the question "What would happen if these two characters were stranded on the side of the road together?" Forget about the rules of time/space, they meet. Doesn't matter how. What would happen?

From Sommer
I had an idea for a writing exercise that was inspired by the story of how Mary Shelley conceived of her idea for Frankenstein. So the tale goes that she and a party of others including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, rented a villa on Lake Geneva for the summer and spent much of it writing. During a night conversation about Darwin's creepier side, Byron challenged them all to write a short supernatural story and they would share their tales on a subsequent night. Mary had a dream and viola, Frankenstein is brought to life.

The details of this event are much speculated over about what exactly transpired, but the tale of it, the essence of it, has always been a bit of a romantic fairy tale for writers. A writer's retreat, stories told, a out of it one of the greatest supernatural/mad science tales ever written.

It might be fun to recreate the essence of this, to challenge the group to write a very short supernatural tale or ghost story or whatever during the course of the trip and then on one of the last couple of nights we find some place to kick back and share our tales. See what inspiration might be sparked along the way.

From Margo (well, this isn't quote. This is summing up)
Maass exercise on rewriting and then merging dialogue
Maass exercise on using the rant to create character voice in description.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Sommer Leigh » 23 Aug 2011, 05:38

I know I'd really like to run a workshop on technology and tools for writers! The group talking with the hotel is going to find out what sort of technology we have available in the meeting rooms, so if there isn't a projector available this might be kind of difficult, but we'll see.
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Cookie » 23 Aug 2011, 07:19

dios4vida wrote:
1. We could all bring a photo of our bookshelf (or favorite, if there are multiple) and play a game of "guess whose bookshelf this is!"


I really like that idea.


sommerleigh wrote:I had an idea for a writing exercise that was inspired by the story of how Mary Shelley conceived of her idea for Frankenstein. So the tale goes that she and a party of others including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, rented a villa on Lake Geneva for the summer and spent much of it writing. During a night conversation about Darwin's creepier side, Byron challenged them all to write a short supernatural story and they would share their tales on a subsequent night. Mary had a dream and viola, Frankenstein is brought to life.

The details of this event are much speculated over about what exactly transpired, but the tale of it, the essence of it, has always been a bit of a romantic fairy tale for writers. A writer's retreat, stories told, a out of it one of the greatest supernatural/mad science tales ever written.

It might be fun to recreate the essence of this, to challenge the group to write a very short supernatural tale or ghost story or whatever during the course of the trip and then on one of the last couple of nights we find some place to kick back and share our tales. See what inspiration might be sparked along the way.


*Gasp!* That's really all I have to say.

What about a panel on mythology? I know there are some that I would like to learn more about.
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Sommer Leigh » 23 Aug 2011, 07:33

Cookie wrote:What about a panel on mythology? I know there are some that I would like to learn more about.


That's a really neat idea, though I am not an expert at any one mythology. I know Margo is very well read in this subject.

I think I threw the idea out in an email - sort of a meet-n-greet for our genres. A short presentation on what our genre/subgenre is, why it's important, why it captures everyone's hearts, where our work falls in the genre, the best the genre has to offer, etc.
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Margo » 23 Aug 2011, 08:00

I could talk about the different ways to use mythology in fiction, but it would be slanted toward my highly opinionated views on respecting source cultures.

Was it Sommer who mentioned having anyone who has self-published by then talk about the process and their experience? I can do that, if there's enough interest.

(This is becoming waaay more workshopish than I had anticipated when I suggested we could actually all meet. I was thinking we'd be all social and get into the inevitable writing conversations over lunch and after-dinner booze binges. Is it too late to argue for less workshop and more booze-fueled impromptu writing conversations? :D )
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby MattLarkin » 23 Aug 2011, 08:06

Ooo, wish I could make it. This sounds great, but highly unlikely I could go cross country for it.
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Cookie » 23 Aug 2011, 08:21

Margo wrote:I could talk about the different ways to use mythology in fiction, but it would be slanted toward my highly opinionated views on respecting source cultures.


I wouldn't mind going head to head with you. My specialty is more eastern mythos.
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby dios4vida » 23 Aug 2011, 08:35

MattLarkin wrote:Ooo, wish I could make it. This sounds great, but highly unlikely I could go cross country for it.


Aw... :( I think there might have been another guy or two who could use a roomie, that'd save you almost $200. Seriously, though, it'd be awesome if you could make it. (Random note: I woke up thinking about Chandi and your story this morning...)

Margo wrote:(Is it too late to argue for less workshop and more booze-fueled impromptu writing conversations? :D )


I think the booze-fueled impromptu writing conversations will happen no matter what. If we're talking about two sessions a day, two hours each, that's still twenty hours of free time to sight-see/sleep/drink/squee with our writer friends. Y'all can go all crazy-psycho-no-inhibitions-OMGILOVEWRITING and I'll the sober one in the back taking blackmail pictures. ;)

Sommer Leigh wrote:I think I threw the idea out in an email - sort of a meet-n-greet for our genres. A short presentation on what our genre/subgenre is, why it's important, why it captures everyone's hearts, where our work falls in the genre, the best the genre has to offer, etc.


I think there might be a minor problem with this - almost all of us write some version of sci-fi/fantasy, YA or adult. I think it'd be great to know what we all write and why we write it but in the end would we all just end up repeating each other?

MORE IDEAS!! (Most, if not all, of which have been mentioned in other places.)

1. Book Share! Bring your favorite book and tell us what you love about it. Read your favorite passage and tell us why it speaks to you. Find the author's strong points and how we can learn from them - maybe even weak points and how we can learn from them, too.

2. Optional Critique Groups! We've all thrown out the idea, but I wanted to make sure it gets down here so everyone knows this is planned. Maybe we should start another thread when we get closer to know who would be interested, their genre, etc. so we can get some good matches.

3. Query Workshops! (?) This could be turned into an entire session, I think, encompassing tag lines, queries, elevator pitches, determining the best bits to put into a summary, and learning how to talk about your books and make people excited about it. I don't think anyone feels like an expert at this, but as a group I think we could figure out a thing or two.
Brenda :)

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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby dios4vida » 23 Aug 2011, 09:02

Sommer, one of your great ideas was missed!

A sort of support group session discussing our biggest fears, insecurities, concerns, and worries about writing and the publishing industry.

(I think that would be awesomeness embodied! Talking with spouses and non-writer friends about stuff like this tends to get strange looks. To get nods and "oh yeah, I've been there" would be so amazingly cool I think I'd die.)
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Sommer Leigh » 23 Aug 2011, 09:17

dios4vida wrote:Sommer, one of your great ideas was missed!

A sort of support group session discussing our biggest fears, insecurities, concerns, and worries about writing and the publishing industry.

(I think that would be awesomeness embodied! Talking with spouses and non-writer friends about stuff like this tends to get strange looks. To get nods and "oh yeah, I've been there" would be so amazingly cool I think I'd die.)


OH! I forgot about that!

And to Margo's point above, I don't think there are going to be as many workshoppy things as it sounds right now. I am definately in for the socializing more than the work, but I am also excited about getting to sit with my favorite online people to pick brains and share ideas and get input. I'm half starved for that kind of thing here. I have failed to find good writing groups in my hometown.

I am also excited by the idea of being inspired by each other.

And then drinking and doing mischief and being altogether too pretty a group of writers for Vegas. Stay tuned! As soon as the group of us working on Entertainment ideas gets together, we'll start a new thread looking for ideas.

And for those of you considering coming but aren't sure - oh please do! Do try! You've got LOTS of time to plan and if you can pick a bransforumer to room with it'll be quite cheap for a week in Vegas.
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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby dios4vida » 23 Aug 2011, 09:22

Sommer Leigh wrote:I am also excited about getting to sit with my favorite online people to pick brains and share ideas and get input. I'm half starved for that kind of thing here. I have failed to find good writing groups in my hometown.


Ditto! The only reason I'm not completely starved for it is because of this forum.

Sommer Leigh wrote:And for those of you considering coming but aren't sure - oh please do! Do try! You've got LOTS of time to plan and if you can pick a bransforumer to room with it'll be quite cheap for a week in Vegas.


I'd even like to postulate that those without roommates could bribe a friend with a cheap trip to Vegas. Many of us girls are bringing our husbands/boyfriends, anyways, so there'll be plenty of writer-friends hanging around. We writers could workshop, friends and spouses can hit the slots or pools and everyone meets up for meals/drink/entertainment.
Brenda :)

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Re: The Bransforumsfest Writing Workshop Brainstorm

Postby Margo » 23 Aug 2011, 09:25

On a vaguely related note...I don't drink. :lol:
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