Monday, October 10, 2011

Mary Kole's Webinar

I recently attended Mary Kole's webinar through Writer's Digest University. First off, I had never participated in a webinar, and it's a very easy process. It's also pretty affordable for writers who may not have the resources to attend a conference. The fee was $89 and included a critique of the first 500 words of a manuscript.

Ms. Kole provided some pretty straightforward definitions of a couple of terms that had been bothering me. She described a high concept book as "if Hollywood is likely to come knocking, then you've hit upon a high concept." That immediately brought Alex Flinn's BEASTLY to mind because Hollywood did indeed coming knocking.

Furthermore, Ms. Kole said quiet books are editor speak for not hooky enough. These books probably don't have breakout potential.

A few other tidbits include the following:

1. The first chapter of a book should introduce the character without an information dump. It should make the character sympathetic and put him/her in action. There should be an inciting incident and it should shape reader expectations of what is to come.

2. Denial is really frustrating to a reader. In essence, the writer is trying to hold off plot development. (Denial in a novel makes me crazy!)

3. The ending should be inevitable and unexpected. (I have to noodle this concept around some more.)

About a week after the webinar, Writer's Digest provided a link so that participants can listen to the presentation over again, as many times as we would like, for a year. One suggestion I have for improvement is to make an actual transcript available. It would save so much time over having to listen repeatedly. That said, I was favorably impressed with the webinar and will probably participate in others in the future.