LIM . . . Mystery Writer’s Conference starts Friday. I will be there, assuming the Snow and Airplane gods get their respective acts together and my flight isn’t canceled on Thursday.

I am signed up for the whole kit-n-kaboodle, except for the pitch session. I am planning to pitch next year, somewhere, but this year I am focused on actually getting words on paper.

There are two opportunities to get some feedback on my Work in Progress. The first is a three-page review of a WIP in what is described as a “what editors are and are not looking for” Gong Show format. If you have to Google “Gong Show” you are not old enough to be a jaded writer. But I digress.

I want those first three pages to take the reader/editor to the next three, continue, repeat. I’m a lawyer, for crying out loud, so when it comes to criticism of writing style? Been there, learned lots. I am a brutal self-editor. I want to write fiction as well as I write legal non-fiction. I am looking forward to it, in a going-to-the-dentist sort of way. (my dentist says if all of his patients took care of their teeth the way I do, he would be out of business. I think there is some kind of allegory here.) So Gong away. I am not looking for friends. Just give me something I can use to make my writing better.

The second opportunity is a “first 30 pages” of any WIP review by author Ann Perry, who has sold about a billion historical mystery books. It is offered to those of us who signed up for her Master Class. I am not that far along in a polished first draft, but I have no intention of missing this once in a lifetime opportunity to have an author of her caliber give me writing advice. I am sending the pages I have after my beta reader gives me what I have ordered to be honest feedback.

I will not be Tweeting and Facebooking this experience, because I just cannot get anything out of it if I am not paying attention and taking notes. I cannot pay attention and take notes if I am eff-wording around with my cell phone. If you are so dying to know what’s happening there, I suggest you just show up yourself.

Also, I am told there will be wine. Champagne, in fact.

This is my second writer’s conference. I hope to just let things be this time.

Strike that. My real goal is not to need to dump any bodies in the Chicago River this time.

I think perhaps some writers write so they can control the action in fiction that they cannot control in real life.

Or maybe that is just the Sauv Blanc talking.

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