ANWA 2011 Class Review – Part 1

There were six sessions of classes during the Saturday classes, each block with two or three choices to attend.  I chose the classes that would help me the most with completing my novel and being ready to enter the world of publishing.

Kirk L. Shaw – Finding the right publisher

As Sr. Editor at Covenant Communications, Kirk shared with us the finer points of the relationship between publishers and writers and offered sound advice on what to consider when seeking out a publisher.  Some of the points he shared that I found helpful were the following:

  • Do NOT submit your first draft.
  • Always follow protocol when submitting.
  • Seek out publishers who have books out on the market like yours.
  • The industry standard is Microsoft Word.
  • The publishing process takes a long time even after you’ve signed a contract, keep writing and producing new material while waiting.

Kirk blogs over at VagabondVoice.

Janette Rallison – Terrific Talking: Dialogue and Humor

Janette has sixteen novels out on the market and has sold over a million copies.  I spent the better part of her presentation trying to make her laptop talk to the projector.  Being the only tech geek in the room has served me well over the years.

  • Most dialogue tags should be “said” or “asked” and then only when necessary.  Other more interesting tags like “gasped” and “snorted” should be used rarely as they draw attention away.
  • Instead of dialogue tags use action to bring the scene to life.
  • If the dialogue is done well then it is not necessary to adding  a tag to explain the characters emotions.
  • Don’t do a descriptive tag paired with an adverb.ex: “snapped loudly”, “explained gently” It is redundant and unnecessary.
  • Humor come in threes, you can use the same variety of joke three times before it stops being funny.

Janette’s website

Angela Morrison – Write What you know, Making Characters Breathe

Angela has written four YA books and has traveled extensively.  She is writing her last book as a series of blog posts as we speak over at

  • Writing what you know isn’t limited to your direct experience, it also includes your imagination, deep beliefs, and personal truths.
  • Being a writer IS being an artist.
  • Spend time qualifying yourself and experiencing the world.  What are you dying to know?
  • Fantasize something new, write about your discoveries.
  • Always ask what happens next.
  • Freewriting, braindumping, and other techniques are great ways of tapping into the unconscious mind to find gems of experience you can use in your stories to add depth.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the ANWA class review coming Monday!

About Jodi

Jodi L. Milner is a writer, mandala enthusiast, and educator. Her epic fantasy novel, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, was published in November 2018 and rereleased in Jan 2020. She has been published in several anthologies. When not writing, she can be found folding children and feeding the laundry, occasionally in that order.
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10 Responses to ANWA 2011 Class Review – Part 1

  1. oldancestor says:

    ‘Most dialogue tags should be “said” or “asked” and then only when necessary. Other more interesting tags like “gasped” and “snorted” should be used rarely as they draw attention away.’

    I think this is the quickest step a less experienced writer can take to professionalize her work. I cringe when I’m reading a novel and characters are “chirping” or “chiming” dialog. Ugh.

    • tsuchigari says:

      They went through an example where dialogue with colorful tags was changed to one that used action instead. It was amazing how it transformed the feel of the story from amateur to polished.

  2. cassim says:

    my wife listens to novels on tape. the “saids and askes” are expecially annoying when read out loud.

  3. Great advice, my fave is “do not submit your first draft” – I still recall how much in love I was with my first ever chapter, I thought it was the bees knees, and then, months later, I re-read and cringed…

    I’ve attended a few conferences and they are very helpful and useful. Glad you had a good time 🙂

    • tsuchigari says:

      I’m still surprised that there are those out there that believe that it’s fine to freewrite a novel and submit it to an agent or publisher and think that the money and fame will come rolling in.

  4. I am saving this and your previous post to read more thoroughly over the weekend so I can soak it all up.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. nrhatch says:

    Excellent sum up, Jo. Thanks.

  6. Pingback: Post #61 The Great Tag Experiment « Post A Day Challenge 2011

  7. Pingback: ANWA 2011 Class Review Part 2 « My Literary Quest

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