I had the great pleasure of participating on a panel at Story Expo for The UCLA Extension Writers' Program. I'll be teaching Novel I for them starting the end of the month. Linda Venis (who has been a wonderful mentor to me) put the panel together, Mark Sarvas facilitated and Melanie Thorne and Tony Dushane also participated. Mark, Melanie and Tony are brilliant, funny and engaging. We talked about tackling your first novel and Mark made sure to keep the focus on tips for writers rather than on our individual work, which I think was refreshing and helpful for the audience of screenwriters interested in writing their first fiction. Below are a few quotes that the lovely Phoebe Lim tweeted during the panel. I think they are helpful writing tips. (And yes, I wear white skinny jeans A LOT).
"The writers who get published have 3 things: a distinctive voice, developed characters, and a strong, consistent structure/plot" - Mark Sarvas
"Get to your story on page 1. The character and conflict must be there from the start" - Melanie Thorne
"I bring my work with me everywhere. Notebook, pen, etc. And I handwrite everything first." -Tony DuShane
"Write about what you're obsessed with, currently." - Francesca Lia Block
Thanks to Linda, Phoebe, Chae Ko, Katy Flaherty and the rest of the Writers' Program for generously including me in your programs.