Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Anticipating the MN Writing Workshop

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Tomorrow I’ll be attending a writing workshop in St. Paul sponsored by the Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime. I’ve long wanted to become more involved with SinC, but real life and my determination to actually focus on my writing on a regular basis, not to mention I live over an hour away from the Twin Cities, have nixed that idea. At least for now. Oh, and we can’t forget to take MN winter driving into account.

For anyone out there who is working on becoming a better, and published, writer, I highly recommend attending as many writing workshops and conferences as your time and budget allow. Living in MN has limitations–many of the larger writing conferences and workshops are just too far away (think east or west coast). The costs for many of the workshops and conferences are also budget-straining. Boy, I’d so love to go to any of the BIG writing conferences in Hawaii or Seattle, you know, the ones that have writers like Patricia Cornwall, Terry Brooks, or David Baldacci as guest speakers. On my list when I find an extra five grand lying around.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve found gatherings of writers bring so many muses to life it’s almost surreal. Inspiration abounds in these workshops and conferences, and I always find myself wanting to hide away to write and build a writing platform and design a book cover and more before the creative energy ebbs. Conferences and workshops are also opportunities to meet fellow writers, some of whom may be just the person you need to read through your manuscript, supply a blurb, or just commiserate when you get your 50th form rejection.

Pitching to an agent and thus bypassing the whole query letter thing is another opportunity offered at many workshops and conferences. If you’ve never written a query letter, believe me when I say it’s harder than writing a novel. I have writing friends who’ve had little success with query letters, but great response from in-person pitches. There is the anxiety factor of explaining your book in such an enticing way–in 90 seconds or less–so as to inspire the agent to ask for more, but I’m willing to deal with that over trying to write yet another query for my book.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Twitter feed: #minnww  if you want to check in.


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

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