Wednesday was another full day here in New York. As a special treat I got to visit the DC Comics office. Comic Con pal Syndee Barwick works there and her office is so amazing. It’s filled with female action figures from the DC Comics. There’s amazing artwork everywhere and in the reception area they have a light flashing the Bat signal. Like a dork, I tried to take a picture of it with the flash, but that, naturally, made the silhouette disappear. You know how most waiting rooms have 3 year old magazines to read? Well, this one has a turnaround rack that is filled with comic books. It’s no great problem to wait in this area.
Since Syndee works across from the Dave Letterman Theatre, we went to Angelo’s Pizza for lunch. I didn’t see Dave, but the Chicken Parmesan Hero was worth the climb up all those stairs.
Once I got back to the Hyatt, it was time to register for Thrillerfest. The first two days are called Craftfest and are geared to aspiring authors. So I’m fortunate to have Nancy Nagle here to cover it from that point of view (see below).
As for me, the day ended with a cocktail party where I caught up with the amazing dynamic duo of Kathleen O’Neal Gear and Michael Gear. More Twitter virgins for me to corrupt. I also met debut author Allison Leotta, a prosecuting attorney with the State Department from DC (her hubby is a prosecuting attorney for Maryland). Her legal thriller comes out in October and Allison told me that it had to be read by the State Attorney and several officials at the Department of Justice before it got the ok to be published. No pressure there. She’s also the mother of a 3 year old and an 11 month old. If her book is half as wonderful as she is, I’m sold.
Finally, I stopped in the bar (ok, I’m nosy and had to see who was there) and was delighted to catch up with M.J. Rose and Douglas Clegg, two amazing authors who give one of the most popular workshops at Thrillerfest. Heather Graham came in with her beautiful daughter, Chynna. Turns out that Chynna will be working at one of the booths at Comic Con in San Diego in a couple of months in Artist’s Alley and dressing up as different characters. Can’t wait to see that!
Now, please read on for Nancy’s report on Craftfest.
Cub Reporter, Nancy Naigle, reporting for duty at CraftFest in New York City. You might remember me from back in April when I reported on the WRW Retreat. An aspiring author, I live in the small town of Drewryville, VA on a goat farm – about as far as you can get from the tall buildings and asphalt jungle of New York. But what an exciting place to be for CraftFest, and what better way to kick it off than to run into Barbara Vey before the very first session? Her bright smile was a great way to start this very special day.
Three tracks ran concurrently giving aspiring authors 18 fabulous sessions to choose from. Everything from pitching an Agent to Voice and every craft skill in between helped us power up the tools in our tool belts and prepare for that journey to a bookshelf.
It was hard to pick which session to attend, but here’s the lowdown on a few of my favorite moments. I hope these tidbits, dazzle, motivate and even spark a little something in the fan or writer in you.
Doug Lyle, MD delivered the goods like he always does – amazing details, facts and plenty of laughs. He took us through a characterization exercise that helped us see the character arc and challenge us to remember that the growth of characters comes from the pressure we put on them. It’s why he coaches folks to write that first draft fast – then go back after you really know your characters and start shining up the prose considering the way that character would react in that situation.
The absolutely charming Andy Gross, who co-authored five novels with James Patterson, shared thoughts about supporting characters. Good supporting characters can lift up your hero when he’s down – be comedic relief – and even provide texture and humanity to a scene. Sometimes the fringe player will steal the show as they provide richness in the life around the hero. And no matter how short lived their role, every character matters.
The last session of the day for me was my favorite. Steven James, author of The Knight and The Rook among others shared the Six Secrets to Novel Writing That No One Ever Told You About. Sorry friends, no secret handshakes here! Not only did he impart wisdom, but he played dirty little tricks like throwing the handouts out into the air over our heads – very unexpected – and FUN! I have to say that among the tips and tricks he tossed in enough teasers that I’ll be downloading a copy of THE ROOK to my kindle tonight.
I could go on, but I won’t because it’s late and after that long day of sessions and the Cocktail Party hosted by Grand Central Publishing I’m excited to hit the sack so I can get up and do it again tomorrow. In the morning we’ll be greeted and treated to a whole new slew of sessions and after lunch – I’ll be heading to AgentFest where a bunch of us will be lining up in speed-date fashion to do 3 minute pitches to our choice of over 40 top agents. It’s a three hour event that is sure to be a hoot as we try to pick the right line to get the most pitches for our AgentFest buck and make great first impressions as we grip and grin with the folks that could help us make that next step on our journey toward publication.
Hugs and High 5s~
Thanks Nancy and we’ll be looking for your next report tomorrow.
Bottom Line: Yes, it’s hotter than heck here, but I’m ok with it and I don’t want to hear any complaints when the temps hit below zero in a couple of months.