Friday, May 14, 2010

Alligator, Crawfish, and a Black Butterfly.

Last weekend I flew to Seattle to kill two birds with one stone. I visited my brother and his lovely wife and I attended a writer's conference. I arrived fairly early in the morning and wandered Pioneer Square all day...I took the train, several busses, and walked everywhere.  It was great.  Visiting the required touristy places was fun with no schedule or itinerary. The Sound, Pike Place Market, the Space Needle...all still there and all still great!

After the conference in the evenings, my brother took me to eat at his favorite places in Freemont.  I had Vietnamese Pho for the first time and was instantly in love.  We also went to La Petit, a cajun restaurant, and I had fried alligator tail, crawfish etouffee, and oysters rockefeller.  It was totally justified research for my next novel, people.  Yum!

For some reason, whether its the clean air or the artsy-fartsy surroundings, I always manage to get a tattoo when I'm out there. Coyote over at Apocalypse was gone...he's moved on to better skin canvas pastures.  But I did find a great place called Hidden Hand just across the Freemont Bridge.  I'd been planning for a while to get the drippy butterfly tattoo.  Its more my speed, no offense to the colorful butterfly enthusiasts.

The conference itself was wonderful. The key-note speaker, Brandilyn Collins, a popular suspense novelist, had three workshops filled with awesome insights.  She wrote a non-fiction book recently called, Getting Into Character: 7 Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors and it is such a great book, I had to mention it.  Brandilyn takes the principles behind Stanislavsky's writings on Method acting and applies them to the writer.

Many fine actors use this method to build a character from the inside out. Rather than dressing up the outside with looks and gestures, Stanislavsky explains that understanding a character's core truth will result in the outward manifestation of their drives.  For instance, you might have a shy character...but why is she shy?  Is she deformed, abused, overly tall, a genius?  The reason they are shy will color how they express that inner abused woman might not make eye contact or roll the shoulders forward while an overly tall woman might slouch.  Someone with a scar might subconsciously cover it when nervous...etc.

The workshops were so helpful and the book, which I purchased at the conference, is thoroughly highlighted in preparation for revisions on Ruby Dawn...and blocking out of Bayou Blue. 

I had the opportunity to meet with a few acquisition editors and got the green light to send in proposals so I felt that despite my gorging on gourmet oddities and tourist silliness, my trip to Seattle was a success.

Looking forward to reading all of your entries on the 16th during the Flirt Fest Blogfest over at Critique This WIP.

Until next time...Go Write!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad the networking was good for you!

marielaurel said...

I usually judge a writer on how well they can develop their characters. I had to read a children's book recently called "Bud Not Buddy"--I thought these characters had to be real people! Then I read how the author, Christopher Paul Curtis, based them on family members and such. Anyways, when I get to love characters I will read each sequel the author puts out. So, go develop those characters!--Oh and research looks fun and yummy. More research!! More research!!

Rae said...

Drippy Butterfly? Sounds like a story ready to be written!

Clarissa Draper said...

Love the tattoo. I also love Pho. I always get Pho when I can, Vietnamese is great food. Haven't been to Seattle but the city looks great. Glad you enjoyed the conference.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Asking the newsman's questions about each of my characters always helps.
WHO would become a cat burglar?
WHAT skills would that person need?
WHY would anyone teach a woman those skills?
WHERE would you find the best hunting grounds for a cat burglar?

Once I've answered those questions, the structure, not only of my character, but of the story itself blossoms before my mind's eye.

I look forward to reading your entry in the flirt blogfest, Roland

Watery Tart said...

I'm so jealous you got time in MY Pacific Northwest--I miss it so much! Great to get in some delicious research though, and the conference sounds wonderful.

It's funny, because as a psychologist, that method of character creation seems to be what I have always instinctively done, so that is reassuring.

Olivia Herrell said...

I LOVE the pho restaurant in Fremont, is the name Noodles, or something like that? It's been years. Sounds like you had a great trip and conference, welcome home.