OCW Conference

I promised to report on my experience at the OCW Conference. Initially the goal was to find an editor who would want my novel. As the date approached I saw that I would not complete editing my novel in time.

I did a lot of the hard work, as I had intended. But something was missing. At the conference I found out what it was.

I did not show my novel to anyone nor did I pitch it. But I consulted with my coach and a mentor. What I learned was very helpful.

I learned, first of all, that I am writing “women’s fiction,” not a “romance,” as I had thought. In women’s fiction it is the story and issues of the heroine that drive the book, not the romance.

For me coming to this understanding was huge. It meant I now understood why I could not accept some of the recommendations of my critique partner. It is alright for me to do the things I want to do, and feel I need to do.

I also dug deeper, with the help of my coach, and refined the underlying message of my book. I now have greater clarity about how to proceed with my writing.

Several people encouraged me to stay with my novel. One author remembered my characters from the time I shared my story with her last year and she is particularly waiting for me to finish the book.

At the conference I found something I needed and for which I did not even know I was looking. Now I can’t wait to see what my book will look like by the time the next OCW Conference rolls around.

When they don’t like you

Recently I was on a blogger’s site where another blogger posted, in no uncertain terms, that he did not want this blogger to follow him. There was a lot of outrage in the following comments, but then I saw a comment that I thought was very appropriate. It went like this:

Wow, (blogger). Sorry (this person) came at you like that. You’re correct to say it’s counter-productive for anyone to attack their supporters. It’s not in their best interest. Both on my blog and on Twitter, I have people following me I have disagreements with politically, morally, and spiritually. But anyone willing to lend me an ear or extend me a hand of friendship will receive mutual respect. There are people I interact with I struggle to understand on a host of levels, but does that close me off from them? Heck no. Every once in a while, someone with an opposing or different viewpoint shares something with me that impacts me a great deal.

This was by News Burp (used with permission =)).

The blogger who was “attacked” responded by saying that he liked discussion and even a good argument but that he brushed off hostility. He chose instead to focus on improving his art with the hope that next time the reader’s response would be different.

In my last blog on “stars” I mentioned the sensitivity of some authors towards reviewers who give them ratings of less than five stars. We may disagree with our reviewers, but, before we criticize them, let’s remember that they are also our readers, our audience. We may not understand why they respond to our writing as they do, but let’s consider that their experience of our writing is a valid one, maybe even one that merits our careful attention.