Over the past few years The Book Diva's Reads has had the pleasure of hosting visits from a variety of authors: indie and mainstream, as well as debut and established. The primary purpose for all of these author visits is to serve as an introduction to a new audience and, hopefully, bring new readership to their works. Having said that, The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to host a visit by Sandra Lopez, author of Esperanza: A Latina Story and Beyond The Gardens. Today Ms. Lopez will be talking about her recent visit to a writer's faire.
Writer’s Faire 2013 by Sandra Lopez
I just went to the faire.
No, I'm not talking about the OC Fair, where the chicken-fried frog legs, chocolate-covered bacon, and Krispy Kreme sloppy Joe's are plentiful and make your stomach swirl (especially after a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl.)
No, what I'm talking about is the Writer's Faire, which was held at UCLA on August 25.
The event hosted a variety of panels and lectures by published writers, who were all scheduled to teach a class in the fall semester as part of the UCLA Extension program.
When I first heard about this, I just knew I had to be there, even though that meant a long drive through L.A. gridlock.
It was about 10 o'clock in the morning when I (finally) arrived at the campus grounds; the panels were to start at 11, meaning I had a whole hour to find parking. I nearly had a heart attack when I found out that parking was $12. What?!
One thing to realize about L.A. is: There is NO such thing as FREE PARKING. Even the Ralph's across the street required a ticket for a 2-hour limit; if the stay exceeded past the limit, there would be an additional charge.
After running around, I eventually found a lot with $5 parking—that was good enough for me. Of course, by that time, it was about 10:45, and I had absolutely no idea where I was or where I was going. UCLA was that HUGE.
Breathless and sweaty, I arrived at the first panel session minutes before it started. One of the speakers began with an ice breaker that brought me out of my fatigue. "There are two kinds of people who have voices in their heads—Paranoid Schizophrenics and Writers…The incidental difference is that Paranoid Schizophrenics listen to the voices in their heads and follow their commands. Writers just turn them into stories." (Lou Mathews)
Here were a few things I learned from the experts.
Panel #1: Promoting Your Work and Branding Yourself as a Writer
-Do your research
-Build an audience
Panel #2: The Art of Writing and Publishing Short Fiction
-Appeal to the senses
-Give readers the experience in language
-Dialogue puts the plot into motion
Panel #3: Writing Compelling Work
-The key to writing compelling work is to answer the following questions:
1) What's going to happen and how?
2) How will the characters react?
3) What is happening?
Each answer to a question poses another question, pulling in the readers to seek out the mysteries (even if your story is not a mystery)
Panel #4: Writing with a Day Job
-DO NOT give up your day job
-Write anytime, anywhere you can (lunch breaks, before work, kids' soccer practice, etc.)
-Don't wait for time, make the time to write
Of course, there were several other panels that were going on, but I could only go to a select few. Still, what little I gained from each 40-minute lecture gave me new-found inspiration and the courage to keep doing what I do: write. And I will keep on writing for as long as I live.
My only rule of thumb is: write, write, write (and read.)
Born and raised in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, Sandra C. López is one of today's influential Latina authors in Young Adult literature. Her first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, was published in March 2008 WHILE she was still in college. Shortly after that, she wrote the follow up to Esperanza called Beyond the Gardens, published in October 2009. Now, this young writer is a full graduate of Cal State University Fullerton with a BFA in the arts. She was named as one of "2011 Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch" by Latino Stories.
For more information, visit the author's website at www.sandra-lopez.com or connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sandra-Lopez/173657042664609