Tuesday at RT

Re-entering the real world after being at RT for a week is tough. A week of fantasy parties and balls, workshops and award luncheons. And for moi, oodles of rehearsals. Here I am with the same authors/friends that I posted a picture of yesterday. Only this is from Friday night at the Faery Ball, and this shot includes mystery writer, Lori Armstrong (far left).

Where was I? Ah, yes. Real world. Braindead. Still, as I'm on a tight deadline now, I had no choice but to dig in and work on my WIP yesterday. Even though I was fog-brained it went pretty well. Fog-brained and/or stressed-out-of-my-mind seems to be a positive creative state for me. Go figure.

This time last week, I was battling workshop presenter jitters. "You're a professional performer," Mary said. "How can you be nervous?" My lame but honest answer: "It's not the same." The primary focus is on 'teaching' not entertaining. Though it's a bonus if you can do both. Mostly, I was nervous about having to fill 90 minutes. Particularly since our topic was "The Great What If". The concept, a form of brainstorming, is so simple. How do you fill 90 minutes?

But we did. We gave examples from our books. From other people's books. We used some of the examples you so generously provided at this blog. The class gasped in horror at Cyndi's 'no caffeine world'. Quite comical. We bounced live ideas off of one another. We had interactive sessions and threw out chocolates and prizes. We eventually split the class (of about 40) into groups to brainstorm a story. Overall, we kept the presentation casual, accepting questions at any time. There were a lot of questions. I knew that this workshop was for beginners. But I didn't realize how new these attendees were to the writing scene until the questions started flying. Suddenly, I felt rooted and in a comfort zone. My nerves disappeared as I realized I really did have a lot to offer at this level and these writers were eager to learn. Their enthusiasm was infectious and their brainstorming efforts excellent. After the class, I received comments like, "I haven't read you before, but now I will!"

I continued to hear positive feedback throughout the week from these classmates. I was involved in a lot of special events this past week, but I do believe teaching this workshop worked best as a way of winning over new readers. I also very much enjoyed having a positive impact on another writer. My hats off to all of those who signed up for the two-day intensive beginner program. Educating yourself, learning your craft and the business is the single best thing you can do if you're serious about getting published. I heard some horror stories from a couple of editors. Huge mistakes made by new writers, mistakes that insured their manuscript will NOT be accepted. Maybe not even read. Word of advice to new-to-the-field-writers: Attend workshops, in-person or on-line. Ask questions. Read how-to books. Learn and practice proper etiquette. I did it. I still do. Getting published is hard enough. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by not knowing the basics.

After the workshop, Mary and I officially registered for the conference and the madness began. We attended a Luau Welcoming Party (complete with hula dancers) then skipped over to author Dolores Wilson's room. She graciously hosted a party for the attending Medallion authors. Several I had never met in person, so it was nice to put a face with a name. After about an hour or so, Mary and I had to tear ourselves away to attend a read through for Heather Graham's Vampires of the Carribean mystery play. This is when Mary learned that she was no longer the lead wench but the Oracle, and had a major speaking role! As the cursed mermaid (my voice had been stolen), I had no 'lines' but lots of 'mimes' and as other actors cued off of whatever I was miming, I realized I still had to memorize quite a bit. The readthrough was great fun. Our fellow cast members, each and every one, are friends and clowns. Sides hurting from laughing, Mary and I retired to our room around midnight. We went over our scripts (we had two days to memorize), gossiped, laughed, set the alarm for seven a.m. and collapsed around one a.m. A long but fulfilling day!

Tomorrow... Wednesday's adventures!


Mary Stella said…
Beth politely ommited the part about me being a nervous wreck about that speaking role. Our situations were reversed! I'm much more comfortable presenting workshops and talking in front of people, even the media, than I am 'performing' in the spotlight on stage. Beth, however, is such a warm, supportive friend. She coached me through the nerves. By the way, she was absolutely hysterical and adorable as the miming mermaid.
Bethany said…
It sounds like a blast... as hard as you worked. :-)

Can't wait to hear more!
Arianna Hart said…
Beth, you were cute as a button as a mermaid. I can't believe I didn't get any pictures!! AARGGG!! BTW, I'm stealing pictures off your blog for my blog, hahahaha. I showed my parents your blog so they could see my outfits. My mom then wanted to see my blog, so now I have to behave!!

I'm going through friend withdrawl. . . *sniff*
Beth Ciotta said…
Mary was fabulous as the Oracle. I never doubted her acting abilities for a moment. I did, however, understand her nerves. I felt the same way about the workshop. I think we both learned something about ourselves and what we're capable of. I'm so glad we both ignored our fears and pressed on!
Beth Ciotta said…
Bethany, we did have a blast. Hard work, but fun.

Ari, I know what you mean. I'm going through friend withdrawl too. Thank goodness for our blogs! :) Oh, and help yourself to the pics. I don't have many, but enjoy!
Gabriele C. said…
Sounds like a fun week indeed.

I can imagine interaction with people in a workshop helps to make them interested in your work. If you're good at that. I'm not - I'm not shy but socially dysfunctional in that I can't read signals well. I could give lectures, though. ;)

And dress up. I love dressing up.

Good luck with your WIP and those pesky deadlines.
Hi Beth! It was wonderful meeting you at RT. I had an absolutely fab time with lots of shared laughs. Hope to see you next year!
Beth Ciotta said…
Gabriele, you're right. An interactive workshop works best if you're comfortable on a social level. Then there are those like you, learned (did I spell that right?)souls who do better in a lecture enviroment. That too is a special talent and, given your background and historical knowledge, I bet you're great at it!!
Beth Ciotta said…
Ann is in the house!!!!!!!! Ann, I so adored meeting you, or re-meeting you as we finally figured out on the last night of RT. You rock! Please don't be a stranger here. :)
ElsieHogarth said…
Beth and Mary, I've been loving all the pictures on both your websites. You both look fantastic. It's great hearing about the "good times" being with old friends and making new ones.
I'm here to stay. Once I glom onto someone there's no escape!

*looks around*

Where's the bar?

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