Back when I was a software engineer, I once said my perfect job would be to sit in a big, comfy chair and give people my opinion all day long. My colleague remarked, “Apart from the chair, what would be the difference?”
It’s true. I love to talk. I love to share knowledge… and stories.
I have given talks to various groups, and I have taught workshops.
TOPICS I have discussed as a guest speaker:
1. My personal journey from artist to software engineer to writer.
2. Why I use my hometown of Placentia as the setting for my mysteries.
3. How horses got me into writing, and how I decided to write my horse’s memoir — from his point of view.
WORKSHOPS I teach:
1. HUMOR: Funny How? How Am I Funny? “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Humor is difficult to define, and there is no magic formula for writing it. The person who tells hilarious stories often cannot translate the comedy onto the page. Even when you write well, it’s often hard to tell if you’ve hit the audience’s funny bone. Whether you are writing in the humor genre, or infusing wit into your latest mystery, romance, etc., this workshop is meant to help you improve your comedic presentation. We’ll discuss the kinds of problems you might encounter, and suggest possible solutions for punching up your punchlines.
2. WRITING CRAFT: Rhythm, Pace, and Amusement. Along with a good plot and characters who feel real, a story has to pull the reader from the first page to the last. This requires writing that keeps the reader engaged and wanting more. We’ll discuss how to plump up flat sentences, and how to make sure each scene keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.
3. PUBLISHING OPTIONS: Self-publishing — Is It For You? Self-publishing is a wonderful option for many authors, but what is involved? This workshop is a primer for the basics of being an author-publisher. We’ll start with questions to determine whether your book is a good candidate, then move on to the details of releasing a finished product and finding your readers. If you’re sitting on the fence, this workshop can help you make an informed decision.
4. PUBLIC SPEAKING: How do you prepare for different events, and how to get past your nerves. Social media is good, but sooner or later, an author must add public speaking to their toolkit, in order to increase their visibility. This workshop will offer ideas for organizing material and overcoming fear when making presentations to an audience, as well as a chance to practice in a supportive environment. Events from launch parties to sharing a spot on a panel, to being a guest speaker will be covered.
5. How Well Do You Know Your Characters? Yes, they hang out in our heads and nag us until we put them on the page, but how well do we really know our characters? Digging deeper into their lives can uncover plot points, motives, and bring our writing to a higher level. This workshop offers methods to help you understand who these people really are. Bring one of your characters along and be prepared to strengthen your story by learning more about them.
6. Storytelling is Murder. Like any genre, mysteries need great characters, but they also need a puzzle to be solved within the pages. The same techniques used by screenwriters to create an interesting crime solved by fascinating characters can be used by novelists to write a compelling story. This workshop will take a look at an episode from a popular TV mystery series and what makes it work. Be prepared to dissect, dismember, and disembowel a 50-minute TV show, then be amazed at how much you’ve learned.
7. Editing, Schmediting. Don’t I Hire Someone for That? It’s true, it’s not easy to edit your own work. No one wants to kill their darlings. But there are ways to make certain the manuscript you send to an agent, publisher, or editor is the best it can be. We will go over several techniques for a writer to know when to cut, when to add, and what to do with all those pretty sentences on the cutting room floor.
WHAT’S MY FEE?
My fee is entirely negotiable, based upon your organization and your needs. My minimum requirement is that I am allowed the opportunity to sell my books. And I never turn down food.