8 things I learned at the Kauai Writers Conference

  1. Christina Baker Kline (The Orphan Train) and Kristin Hannah (The Nightingale) are . . . EVERYTHING!   Christina created the awesome masterclass ‘Turning Life into Art’ and brought in her pals Kristin Hannah (if you have not read The Nightingale run right out and read this amazing WWII story of feminine resilience and heroism before the movie comes out- best book I read in 2018) and Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic) for added bonus. Lihue Marriott_KauaiWritersConference

Some of the nifty things we did included exercises like “Write a 6-word memoir.”  Okay. Here’s one of mine: “Descendant of ship-wrecked Portuguese refugees.”  (True story).

  1. Mega crime suspense author Scott Turow said: “The great break of my literary career was my decision to go to law school.” He found his subject. He’s still a criminal defense lawyer too.
  2. “You do not need adverbs,” they said emphatically.
  3. Just because an author won the Pulitzer Prize doesn’t necessarily make them a good speaker. (just saying)
  4. Kristin Hannah said she learned how to write The Nightingale by watching Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. i.e. Amp it up! Play hardball, make it worse and worse! Surprise the reader.
  5. “Write drunk, edit sober.” ~ Ernest Hemingway. W

    Christine Baker Kline and Kathy Stanley at Kauai Writers Conference

    rite your first draft with abandon, edit with a critical eye.

  6. Beg, borrow, steal. Learn from other writers. Study a piece of writing that successfully achieves something that you want to do.
  7. Writing a novel is like driving a car at night across country- you can do it but you only see what’s immediately ahead. (I find the same process applies to painting.)


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