Saturday, August 23, 2008

Scared crapless!

About a month ago, a writing group out of Utah asked me if I'd like to give a workshop at their big conference Sept. 12 & 13. My hotel stay would be paid for (even though it's only a 30 minute drive!), my meals, and the registration fee. I couldn't pass this up! workshop had to be on research since I'm a historical author. (biting nails) I don't know why, but I'm scared crapless! I don't know what to talk about. I don't know what kind of handouts to get for them. And my workshop has to be 50 minutes long. AUGH!!

What's really worrying me is the agent I'd like an appointment with. I checked out her website, and she is looking for historical ROMANCE authors! OMG! This could be my lucky break! But...what if she comes to my workshop and thinks I suck? That is not a good image to have. I'm only given ten minutes to pitch to this agent, and I have three stories I could pitch, too! "Excuse me, agent, but can we meet for drinks later tonight and talk?" LOL

So the weeks are counting down, and here I sit biting my nails and getting an ulcer because I really don't know how to go about talking research. My workshop is titled "Digging Up The Past".

Any suggestions are appreciated!!



Becka said...

Ooo, Phyllis, here's what I'd do.

Talk about researching your era, from location to current events, to terrain. What I do is pick a year, then look up current events for that year - if something happened to anyone "famous" in that time and place or just what was going on.

Sometimes, a riot, a pirate raid, or an Indian uprising could be an excellent backdrop.

Don't forget to mention researching the names of your characters. Don't want to name your hero or heroine some name that either didn't exist or wasn't popular for your time period. Some authors don't heed this advice, and maybe it doesn't matter. But for my book HEARTS UNBOUND, it took place in 1657 and the heroine's name is "Jessica". I thought that sounded too modern, so I had to research it. Found out the earliest incarnation is believed to have been a "feminized" form of Jesse in one of Shakespeare's plays that released in like 1600, so it is possible the heroine's parents saw the play and liked the name...

But "Jessica" in Medieval times wouldn't have worked.

Aside from current events, you have to research stage routes and railroad lines to clothing to guns to alcohol (if they drink say brandy or sherry)...

There are so many possibilities! And I'm sure you did gobs of research to find out about the Sons of Liberty for your Revolution book - that's got to be a gold mine to talk about as well. :)

Good luck! You'll do just fine.


Ciara Gold said...

You're going to do great, Marie. I wish I could be there to attend.