I got half way through writing my weekly post, then went to check out what others had said to see if I was repeating. I was. That just means the info is valid, right? So here's my post which could be seen as an homage to the amazing Jeffe.
Our Sunday Word-Whore nailed it with her five tips. Definitely, #1 Give a Workshop on a topic people want to know more about. Snazzy titles help, but be realistic. Don't promise cupcakes made of solid gold if you're only going to deliver overly chocolate-chipped brownie bites. (Chocolate reference for KAK. POKE! Seriously, who wouldn't come to an overly-chocolate chipped brownie bite workshop?)
The workshop I have given a few times at various venues is called Manuscript Polish, and it is all about the things I learned (Jeffe #4 Use Your Own Experience) in the process of working with an editor over the first few books--specifically the things every author needs to do AFTER finishing the novel and BEFORE sending it in to an editor. Part informative, part Q&A, and part pep-talk, it is chocked full of information that I wish I had in my hands early on, but didn't.
But beware: the last time I gave it, I had two older gentlemen hecklers in row one and two.
(Which correlates to Jeffe's #3. Practice and Adapt.) You have to get your audience to feedback so you can adjust the material to them. My hecklers had me frustrated. For about 3 seconds.
What they didn't know, was, at the time, I tended bar at a VFW. I knew exactly how to handle the wise-cracks of the silver-haired smart-ass. I won them over, and was able to toss their heckling back at them ala comedic 'call back.' And fun was had by all.
Jeffe #5 Leave 'em inspired. Indeed!!! A good workshop will leave you inspired and anxious to write--and that is what those folks have come for!
Don't think "I can't give a workshop." Public speaking isn't my strongest skill. I'm sure my beginning-jitters don't exactly sell the idea that I have over half-a-million words published. What I lack in openings, however, I make up for in knowing my topic. The best workshops, I've found, are small enough that I can get everyone involved in the conversation. I welcome all questions--writing related, that is. Dear Abby I am not. I can hear it now:
"Dear Abby, my girlfriend is obsessed with my dangling participles. Help! How can I get her to focus on my diction?"
<giggles> Couldn't resist.
This year, at CONTEXT I'll be doing a brand new workshop.
webpage here Writing the Fantasy Series (Sunday, September 28th, 3pm-5pm)
I want to explore the pieces that come together to create an urban fantasy, high fantasy, or epic fantasy series, and will involve the group in activities that explain and define the basic parts of a fantasy novel, get them thinking in depth about their own projects, and help them generate and refine new ideas for their books.
I'm really excited about it, as I'm in the middle of a big fantasy right now and taking notes for the workshop as I go through it. If y'all are in the Columbus area come late September, come and give me a listen.