|Nancy Pickard, Our guest speaker|
On Saturday, Sept. 12, our northeast Ohio Sisters in Crime chapter – NEOSinC put on a one day writers event at the Twinsburg Library a little south of Cleveland. At least fifty writers attended coming from other chapters as far away as Pittsburgh, Pa. and Columbus, Ohio which involved driving anywhere from over two hours to as much as three to four hours to attend.
SinC recently started a speaker’s bureau of well- known mystery writers, who were SinC members and willing to travel to events. It wasn’t supposed to start for another month or so, but Nancy Pickard was willing to be the first speaker early and came as our National Guest Author, and we were all thrilled to have her there.
|Owner of The Learned Owl winner of a large check from SinC|
Our event started at 10:00 with registration and a continental breakfast. We all got our name tags on a “Do not cross – Crime Scene” ribbon to hang around our necks made by our former president and now treasurer Kim Hammond. During brief breaks, there was a raffle with small bags of gift items our members had contributed. I got a cap with Cleveland on the front and FBI on the back donated I’m sure by our FBI member. There was also a break for lunch consisting of a make your own sandwich, various kinds of chips, fruit and some leftover donuts, etc. from breakfast, and in the middle of the afternoon a break for cookies, too, and always plenty of drinks all day – coffee, tea, pop and bottled water. At the breaks we could also purchase books of all the authors in attendance at The Learned Owl, a local independent bookseller who had a table set up there.
Our president Irma Baker welcomed us all and then introduced our first speaker, Victoria Selvaggio, a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiaira Literary Agency. Since I’m not sending query letters anymore, I didn’t take notes, but she was extremely informative for those who still are.
We also had three sessions called “Ask Me Anything” by three of our authors; Amanda Flower/Isabella Alan, Shelley Costa, and Casey Daniels/Kylie Logan who all answered questions about their publishing experience and with Amanda and Casey how they managed to write so many series and keep everything straight in their minds. They also answered questions as to whether they were plotters or pantsers or a little of both.
Nancy Pickard also spoke in the morning about her background in writing and her road to publication. It was called “A Most Mysterious Occupation.” She also told us how her book The Scent of Rain and Lightning is being made into a movie. She is a very warm and interesting speaker – the kind of person you could invite into your home for a cup of coffee and not worry too much about a shaggy friendly dog or dust. Later in the afternoon she taught a writing workshop on “First Sentence, First Paragraph, First Page.” I did take notes for that. She is a believer in the use of writers blogging to get over to the other side. She also wrote poetry, and recommended Annie Lamont’s book Bird by Bird for writers. She used the letters C for conflict, A for action, S for surprise, T for turn, and S for senses, all important elements in a good story. If a scene is flat, look for the main character in the scene. The character should show what he/she is feeling. People like surprises – both characters and the reader. She also said a writer should include the five senses and have as many as possible; smell, sight, taste, hearing and feeling or touch. Pacing is also important – some scenes more relaxing.
|Forensic Psychiatrist, Megan Testa|
Our final presentation “Crime and the Mind” by Forensic Psychiatrist, Megan Testa was quite interesting. She works with those with mental problems, a lot of whom are women trying to get their children back. She discussed antisocial personality disorder, and I was writing so fast I might have some of the following mixed up. She talked of clusters.
A – Weird, tends to be a loner and maybe has a dog or some kind of pet, sometimes they’re schizophrenics, sometimes delusional.
B – Wild, won’t conform to societal norms, chaos in their life, and they can be highly narcissist with a sense of entitlement. They often have superficial charm, - think Ted Bundy. They lie and try to talk their way out of any problem. They are not faithful to any relationships. They’re impulsive and need lots of stimulation, and sometimes are violent. They are law breakers and don’t feel any remorse, and 80% of them have a mental illness and/or addiction. In brain scans when they’re shown violent pictures, their brain won’t fire up like the brain of normal people.
C – Wimpy, someone who has a dependent personality disorder and relies on others to meet their needs. They have trouble doing anything without having someone tell them what to do, and can’t make decisions on their own even in playing a game of cards.
|Casey Daniels/Kylie Logan|
We ended with this presentation and cleaned up and packed up. I packed my books that hadn’t sold, and left with Laura, my writer friend, who went with me. We headed for home stopping for supper on the way. It was an interesting and enjoyable day, but exhausting, too, as events like this always are. However, as Amanda Flower said in a recent posting to our list serve, it’s so good to be with fellow writers who understand us.
What writing events have you attended that you enjoyed?