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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Dugoni’

…we’re heading to a workshop.

Last weekend, something cool finally happened to Southern Oregon.  No, it wasn’t The Airborne Toxic Event coming over to my house for a barbecue (even though I have my fingers crossed for summertime.)  Instead, Willamette’s Writer group had the awesome Bob Dugoni teach an all day workshop to novel hopefuls.  I first saw Mr. Dugoni at the conference last August.  After I heard him speak about query letters, I dropped my YA classes and went to listen to two more of his lectures.  He was engaging, funny, and detailed in helping to learn more of the craft.  I love his admission of his mistakes made and how he worked through them.  I’ve been giddy for weeks after signing up to get another lesson.

Let me be clear that this post is no way a reflection on his skill in a workshop.  I gained six pages of fantastic notes.  I’m overwhelmed and excited to dive back into the edit of my WIP.  Mr. Dugoni inspired that.  The rest of the class gave me one page of observations noted for this blog of what not to do at an all day workshop.  As with any good lesson plan, we’re going to bullet points:

  • Senior Center — There were about 60 attendees.  85% of them were over the age of 60.  This is an interesting trend I saw at the last conference.  My critique partner’s hypothesis is it’s the time in your life where you actually have time to sit down and write the novel of your dreams.  Not that I have an aversion to the elderly (my mother might tell you different) but they do distract in some ways.
  • Learn To Turn Off Your Cell Phone — There were three separate examples where the above fact about age came into play for this problem.  When the phones did go off at an outrageously loud volume, the owners had no idea how to shut it off.  As the pre-programmed ring tone played through its whole melody, the owner swatted at the screen or pressed it against their side in a weak attempt to strangle the noise.  In all these occurrences when the owner thought they were out of the distracting woods, the happy chirp of a voicemail echoed in the room.  If you are scared to turn it off because someone might call you with life changing news, then PLEASE learn how to turn it to vibrate.
  • Book Lovers — Just because you love books, it doesn’t mean you should write them.  This was a workshop on how to write a novel.  But person after person wanted to theorize about different authors.  Mr. Dugoni would give an example about one of his novels and a participant would come back with “But (insert author name) did this in (book title).”  I fought every urge to turn around and scream “Are you author name? No? Then shut the hell up.”  You might think I’m being a bit harsh, but these people would not let it die.  That question was just their opener.  Then they would go into some disposition about how that author used some fancy technique in contrast to what Mr. Dugoni said, implying he was wrong.  Now you’re with me, aren’t you?
  • That Guy — It never fails.  In school, at the office, or at a work shop, there is always that guy who knows everything.  In this class, he sat in the last row with a maroon turtle neck under a blue striped sweater with his khaki covered leg crossed over the other.  He scoffed at inappropriate times and wanted to argue every point.  He even had the nerve to barely take one note the entire class.  During a break, he leaned over to another woman and said, “I’ve been writing a long time.  I’ve got this all down.” (Serious quote.)  I’m still waiting for him to drop the name of his published book so I can find it on the NYT bestseller list.
  • WTF Random Stuff — 1)  Chick crocheted the whole time.  Seriously.  2) At every break, someone was in Mr. Dugoni’s face.  Even at lunch one chick slid over pages for him to read.  No, please, never mind he might want to go to the bathroom or get something to eat.  3)  People kept guessing what he was going to say.  Mr. Dugoni would build up a story and someone shouted out their guess at the ending.  Hey, this isn’t a choose your own adventure.  Slow your roll and learn from the class.  4)  A woman made a pretty good dirty joke in one of the exercises about re-writing the sentence “he was quick and small.”  Funnier part was she didn’t even know it even after the class burst out into laughter and Mr. Dugoni turned bright red.  5)  I’m still a sucky student.
  • Me = Awkward — This is a classic equation in my life.  It might be why I’m drawn to writing Young Adult.  But sure enough, as I scooted past a desk, the corner of my pocket caught perfectly on the sharp edge of the dry erase board.  (Please insert extra loud ripping noise)  I’m trying to play it off cool when Captain Obvious next to me screams out “sounds like something ripped.”  Uh yeah, no shit, I just gave my ass a sunroof.  I shimmied back to my seat, wrapped my jacket around my waist, and tweeted about it immediately.  Hubs couldn’t even console me because he was laughing too hard after receiving my text.  (Maybe this belonged under  the WTF category.)

These are the deets of what goes on at a workshop.  Do you feel prepared to attend one yourself now?  At least you have some ideas what not to do.  Turn off your cell phone, want to be a writer, don’t argue with the professional, don’t be a dick, and cover your ass.

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