The Art of Craft

This weekend was spCherry_at_podium[1]ent at a two-day Master Class workshop featuring the amazing Cherry Adair.

My brain is now stuffed with ideas, knowledge, and tips for doing everything better. Day one was Cherry’s plotting by color workshop—a grid and a rainbow of color sticky notes for every aspect of my novel I can think of and a few I couldn’t, but she provided.

Now…keep in mind, I am not a plotter. I am a “pantser”, an “organic writer”…let’s just say a seriously non-linear thinker.

Plotting workshops make me uneasy and somewhat panicky. Cherry’s was different. She suggests quite a bit of structure, but at the same time, it is flexible. And the colors sooth the creative part of my brain.

In addition to getting so much out of the workshop, I was part of a lucky group of people who won a one-on-one plotting session—half an hour of not picking Cherry’s brain, but having her pick mine to get the bones of the plot of a new book on the page. It was a fascinating process and so different from how I usually start a new story.

It’s always fascinating to see how different people approach the same idea—and what other people’s suggestions can do to your own ideas.

Cherry is the author of 52 books, novellas, and short stories. She gives workshops like this across the country and around the world. She’s published both Traditionally and Indie. She runs a Facebook page for aspiring writers to motivate them to finish the book and take the next steps in their careers. It is mindboggling that, on top off all of that, she will take her lunch break, her dinner break, and her “free time” in the evenings and do coaching sessions with a dozen or more writers.

From 9 in the morning to 10 at night, Cherry gave of her time, knowledge, passion, and energy. And the attendees hung on every word and gesture. The coachees were gracious enough to let interested people sit in on their brainstorming sessions and gather what tips they could from simply watching the expert in action.

“I wish stupid money upon you.”

 —Cherry Blessing   20150607_111658                                                                                                                                 

Day two was a series of shorter topics—the business of writing, with tips on everything from dealing with agents and editors to taking the leap into Indie Publishing. Then we dealt with Character Development, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she has fun and unique tips for getting to know your characters from every angle and using that inf20150608_223609ormation to produce vibrant three-dimensional characters on the page that the readers adore.

Cherry is total energy—she never stops moving—and Even when she veered off topic, the information imparted was fun and fascinating.

If you haven’t yet, you should check out the amazing and fabulous Cherry Adair. Her website (http://www.cherryadair.com/) is chockful of extras like a page about the agency from her T-Flac series, book trailers, tips for ergonomic writing, games, and her shop with her enhanced e-books and writing guides like The Writer’s Bible and soon, Plotting with Color. She’s been one of my favorite authors for a decade, and once I met her in person, one of my favorite people for years.

Now you’ll have to excuse me—I need to go play in my stack of brightly colored sticky notes.

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