It was awesome. Jim Henke and his wife, Shirl, absolutely rock. I don't think I'll be that cool. Ever. They tell the best stories and have the neatest friends. Plus, Jim has lethally nifty ideas.
See, the class was about choreographing fight scenes. It started with Jim and Shirl each reading a fight scene out of books they'd written. After that the real fun started. Essentially, it was Escaping Heroines 101. There were tons of little tidbits. Any weapon will do. And anything can be a weapon.
A very tightly rolled up newspaper can, if applied with enough force, fracture a man's wrist. Keep your keys out when you walk to your car with the point sticking out between your fingers, then use the point on an attacker's throat or eyes or whatever you can reach. It hurts. If you're going to use a gun, use the right one, appropriate to the time.
And remember. Once the bad guy is down, run away, screaming like hell. Well, maybe not the kick-ass heroines, but for the ordinary life ones.
After that was a great Q&A with several of the multi-published authors in our chapter. We got some really useful information out of that, especially about the business side of the deal. They've all been through ups and downs, but I think the key is that they keep writing books they can sell.
The last session was with Eileen Dryer, who is a trauma nurse IRL with all kinds of nifty certifications, and has taken to writing more romantic suspense lately. It was about Writing Villains Worthy of Your Heroes. There was a ton of info on criminal psychology and serial killers, but I thought the most useful stuff was about writing really powerful villains, not just cardboard characters. She reminded us of one of my favorite pieces of advice: The villain is the hero of his own story.
Now, his story may be a twisted freakshow with him as the gory ringmaster, but in his mind, he's doing what needs to be done.
I also met new people, in particular a couple of ladies who write mostly mysteries/crime fiction, and it was interesting to hear their take on the organizations that specialize in their genre, MWA, etc. I guess our particular type of insular, inbred blindness isn't that uncommon on the higher-up organizational level. Strangely, that made me feel better. *gg*
Overall, it was a great day. I guess they usually do this outdoors at a park, but with the heatwave, one of our wonderful members opened her home to us for which we're grateful. It was steeenkin' hot outside. The tabbouleh went over well -- it's nice to find adventurous eaters.
I think the upshot of this is that if I have to deal with the national organization to stay in my local chapter, then I'll deal. MORWA is golden.
What a great workshop! Bet it gave you all sorts of ideas :)
Oooooh, those workshops sound great, Sela!
How cool! And I use that key trick all the time. You have to carry your keys anyway, and that turns them into a weapon- really good used with a karate punch- sure makes a mess of your attacker. So does a stiletto heel, btw, for those who can wear them. A nice step back into the shin of someone grabbing you from behind is usually enough to make them let you go, if only for a second so you can run. :-)