Write by the Lake: Day 2

The rain held off through the afternoon; it was another beautiful day on the UW campus.

Workshop sessions started at 9:30 this morning. There are seven of us in this particular non-fiction workshop, and most of us arrived early to our assigned room. We had time for some catch-up conversations before the instructor arrived: talk about our individual projects and about how we fared with our writing homework.

Then the instructor pulled us into our business of the morning. We went over the homework responses–how we imagined the possible endings to a particular scenario. It was an interesting exercise, a way of getting us to think about how and why people respond to certain situations.

We discussed how to construct log lines and the purpose for constructing them. You can never tell when you might need a log line (also known as an elevator pitch), but it’s a good idea to be able to explain, clearly and concisely, what your book is about. Most people really won’t listen to a long, detailed explanation–no matter how interesting the topic. It’s hard to boil down a book’s essence to one or two sentences, yet crafting a log line can really help you to keep focused on the basics of your book: who is the main character and what is their central conflict or obstacle?

We learned about the components for a book proposal. I wrote one for Angels of the Underground, and I’m in the process of writing one for this new project, so this was a helpful review.

There was also another very good discussion of another group member’s 2000-word submission. The instructor delivered insightful comments, and the rest of us added a few additional points. Overall, another productive morning.

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