Sunday, March 16, 2008

Guest: Beth Groundwater - “Getting the Most Out of Writers Conferences”

Beth Groundwater – Vice President of Pikes Peak Writers, author of “A Real Basketcase,” Best First Novel Agatha Nominee March 12, 2008 “Getting the Most Out of Writers Conferences”

[12:04] Cybergrrl Oh: I'm aka Aliza Sherman. I hold about 4 events per week for various clubs.
[12:04] Cybergrrl Oh: This is the Second Life Writers Club meeting, same time, same place every week!
[12:04] Liadona Rau: I'm Liadona Rau, aka Lisa. I am a writer and photographer IRL and here in SL.
[12:05] Alesus Afarensis: im a dancer and part time model in sl
[12:05] Aldon Huffhines: Digital Social Media consultant... Old guard hardcore geek... Business editor for SLNN.COM... Blogger at ... Wrote my first novel last november as part of NaNoWriMo
[12:06] Aldon Huffhines: (and political and non-profit activist)
[12:06] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Aldon, congrats on the NaNoWriMo work. Some of our members
[12:06] Alas Zerbino: I'm Alas Zerbino, aka Joan Kremer. I'm a corporate writer (for money) and novelist/literary journal editor (for sanity) in RL.
[12:06] Cas Davies: I'm a college adminstrator for 3 community college libraries.

[12:07] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: have participated and find it's a great way to kick-start a manuscript.
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: /so now that we have settled that - let's get going. Beth, please introduce yourself
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: /and introduce your topic!
[12:08] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Alas, what genre do you write in and what publisher(s) have you published your work with?
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: /good question!
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh writes nonfiction mostly - published 7 books and working on 8th.
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: jump in everyone
[12:08] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Cas, I LOVE librarians! My publisher, Five Star (with Gale Group) is a library publisher.
[12:09] Alas Zerbino: My novel is mainstream fiction. It hasn't been published yet. My publishing credits are all nonfiction.
[12:09] Liadona Rau: I write fiction mostly - stories, books and scripts. Fantasy, mystery and mainstream
[12:09] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I am a mystery writer and Vice President of Pikes Peak Writers and secretary of our local Sisters in Crime chapter.
[12:09] Cas Davies: Oh yes, Gale is very familiar to me. And I'm so glad you love librarians too!
[12:09] Aldon Huffhines: Mostly political, technology, psychology blogging... My novel is a SL based mystery... wrote a lot of poetry when I was younger.
[12:09] Cybergrrl Oh: /I found Beth through Sisters in Crime, by the way
[12:09] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: My debu mystery, A REAL BASKET CASE, was just nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.
[12:10] Alas Zerbino: I'm going to pitch my recently completed novel at a conference end of month.
[12:10] Cybergrrl Oh: Congratulations!
[12:10] Alas Zerbino: Congratulations!!!!
[12:10] Liadona Rau: congrats!!
[12:10] Aldon Huffhines: Wow! Congrats!
[12:10] Alesus Afarensis: congrats
[12:10] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION FOR LATER: What should we know about in terms of pitching our novels at writing conferences? Tuck that away to when we get there.
[12:10] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: Tell us about the conferences for Pikes Peak and Sisters in Crime - when are the next ones?
[12:11] Cas Davies: That really merits congratulations!
[12:11] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: And what are the best resources for finding out about writers conferences?
[12:12] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: The next Pikes Peak Writers conference is the last weekend of April. This will be the first year I miss one in ages, because the Malice Domestic conference, which is very popular with SinC members, is the same weekend. It's also where the Agatha winners are announced, so I HAVE to go!
[12:12] Cybergrrl Oh:
[12:12] Alesus Afarensis: i have to go sorry i have to fix my son some lunch,it dont look like i'm going to get to attend any meetings sorry again
[12:13] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: PPWC was once rated as one of the ten best writing conferences in the US. I recommend both it and the fall Colorado Gold conference put on by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in Denver to folks looking for Colorado writing conferences.
[12:13] Cybergrrl Oh: Sisters in Crime -
[12:14] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: The best resource for finding writers conferences is - search by focus or type of writing, month/season, state/us region/country.
[12:14] Cybergrrl Oh: Shaw Guides, yes, great database
[12:14] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I think the best conferences are those put on by nonprofit writing organizations versus by folks trying to make money off of attendees.
[12:15] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What are your favorite writers conferences?
[12:15] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: And what are your least favorite and why?
[12:15] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION TO ALL: What has been the best writers conference you've attended to date?
[12:16] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I stick to those I can drive to, so PPWC and Colorado Gold are the ones I attend. The best way to find out which are the best conferences in your local area is to join a local writing organization and ask local writers which ones they've attended and would recommend.

[12:16] Cybergrrl Oh: I've asked everyone to recommend their favorites!
[12:16] Liadona Rau: I haven't attened one that was stricktly for writers, but the Baltimore SciFi conference has some good writing tracks.
[12:16] Alas Zerbino: I've only been to ones in my area, but I'm really happy with the one at UW-Madison.
[12:17] Alas Zerbino: One at a local writing center wasn't as professional -- it was a one-day event with just local speakers.
[12:17] Aldon Huffhines: QUESTION: Are there any writers conferences online/in SL? Should there be? Pros and Cons?
[12:17] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: In Colorado, there are some writers conferences that are held in Aspen and Vail and that have VERY expensive fees. I've never attended and am leery of going, because I don't know ANY of the speakers. I think they may be rip-offs.
[12:17] Cybergrrl Oh: My least favorite was the Jackson Hole Writers Conference - gorgeous place but all the speakers just wanted a free trip to Jackson and pretty much admitted they hadn't prepared anything to say. Very lame.
[12:17] Liadona Rau: QUESTION: I live in a completely over populated, over ambitious area (Northern VA right outside of DC) how do I find a good writers group in the soup of EVERYTHING?
[12:18] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: So what are some tips you have for getting the most out of a writers conference?
[12:18] Alas Zerbino: Good feedback, Cybergrrl -- always wondered about the Jackson Hole conference.
[12:18] Cybergrrl Oh: I'm having the opposite problem - I'm in Anchorage with few choices - the writers group that is most known isn't my cup of tea.
[12:18] Liadona Rau: yeah - it is completely insane here
[12:19] Alas Zerbino: My problem too is no good local writing group...
[12:19] Cybergrrl Oh: Start your own group! I did that for a while in Cheyenne, Wyoming when I lived there. It at least kept me thinking about and talking about writing.
[12:20] Alas Zerbino: Tried that once -- I live in a rural area and couldn't seem to drum up participants.
[12:20] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I recommend that all writers join both a local writing group that has monthly educational meetings about the craft and business of writing near you. AND join the national organization for your genre, like Sisters in Crime or Mystery Writers of America for mystery. Then, look for a local chapter of that organization near you. That may be the best strategy for the NO. VA area.
[12:20] Cybergrrl Oh: Interesting - I've never looked into a nonfiction national writers group...?
[12:20] Liadona Rau: thanks! I will give it a try. :-)
[12:21] Cybergrrl Oh: People come and go at these things Beth - don't want you to think you are scaring them off!
[12:21] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Some national genre writing organizations have online chapters for their rremote members. I know Sisters does, for example.
[12:21] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: Do publishers, agents and editors REALLY look to writers conferences to find the next big thing?
[12:22] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Tips for getting the most out of a writers conference;
[12:22] Liadona Rau: QUESTION - What do you get out of the online memership for a group like SinC?
[12:22] Alas Zerbino: I've also found some value in online writing groups like Zoetrope.
[12:22] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: First, Set goal(s) before you go, like 1) learn about characterization, 2) find a critique group, 3) pitch my finished manuscript to the most appropriate attending agent, 4) learn how to promote. Pick workshops and activities that help you meet your goal. Network with other attendees to get information that you need to meet your goal.
[12:22] Cybergrrl Oh: I used to belong to a national writers guild to get health insurance but let the membership lapse when I no longer needed it.
[12:22] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What are your best promotion tips? Is it business cards? Postcards? Tshirts? Wearing a billboard? lol
[12:23] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Can you talk more about networking at the conference?
[12:23] Cybergrrl Oh: I always forget my business cards when I go!
[12:23] Cybergrrl Oh: Probably a good idea to get some Moo Cards or Vista Print cards made up in advance.
[12:23] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Agents and editors who attend conferences USUALLY are looking to fill their lists of authors and will ask those writers whose pitches they like to send partial or full manuscript submittals.
[12:24] Aldon Huffhines: I need to create some real business cards... Mostly I use old cards with information crossed out and new information scribbled on
[12:24] Hawke Byrne giggles at Aldon
[12:24] Liadona Rau: Cool looking business cards that are not expensive -
[12:24] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Rarely, the attending agents and editors are there just for a free ride vacation to an area they want to visit. We frown VERY heavily on this at PPWC, and if we find out that was someone's intent, they don't get invited back.
[12:25] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: The benefit of online chapters is mutual critique of manuscript sections, query letters, etc., sharing information about the market, etc.
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: Oh, that sounds useful
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: If Beth misses your question after a bit, feel free to repost.
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: Always hard to keep up with these things - even I get lost!
[12:26] Alas Zerbino: Glad I'm not the only one! lol
[12:26] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I'm still a member of the GUPPIES (great unpublished) online chapter of SIsters in Crime because I made so many great friendships with fellow mystery writers there. They have an AgentQuest subgroup from sharing information about agents and their responses to members' queries.
[12:27] Liadona Rau: oh cool!
[12:27] Aldon Huffhines: (if anyone wants to read/critque my first attempt at a novel, IM me)
[12:27] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What should we know about in terms of pitching our novels at writing conferences? And is there a risk of someone stealing our idea?
[12:27] Cybergrrl Oh: We should do some sessions on writing critque!
[12:28] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Networking at conferences: a mistake I see some attendees make is Not networking enough with other writers, both published and unpublished, and focusing solely on trying to talk to attending agents and editors when your work is not ready (polished enough to submit). Other writers can give you contacts, such as possible critique partners or someone who can help you with your research, and advice. Once they’re published and think your writing is ready, they may refer you to their agent or editor or offer to read your contracted-for manuscript and give you a blurb for the back cover of the book. But you need to establish that relationship first and have helped them, too, by buying and reading their books, bringing friends to their signings, posting good reviews of their books on email lists and websites, etc.
[12:28] Cybergrrl Oh: I agree - don't be a writers conference snob
[12:29] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: How do you protect your writing? Copyright?
[12:29] Alas Zerbino: My problem is shyness -- even with other conference attendees.
[12:29] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Before attending a writers conference, you should have a well-tuned "elevator pitch" that you've memorized and practiced and can cleanly recite when someone asks "What do you write?"
[12:29] Alas Zerbino: Good idea! Thanks!
[12:29] Hawke Byrne agrees with Aldon on shyness
[12:29] Cybergrrl Oh: Alas - I'll tell you about SHY. I once broke down crying at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference because I was terrified to read my own writing in public. I ran sobbing to the bathroom and all these writers (including men) chased me into the women's room to give me moral support.
[12:30] Hawke Byrne: /oops Alas I meant
[12:30] Cybergrrl Oh: I ended up reading it and got a standing ovation.
[12:30] Liadona Rau: QUESITON - should the elevator pitch be specifically about your current project? I know that is the case with scripts.
[12:30] Aldon Huffhines: Actually, it was Alas who spoke about shyness... I was too shy to admit my own shyness.
[12:30] Cybergrrl Oh: Elevator pitch! Great idea.
[12:30] Alas Zerbino: Cybergrrl, I know what that's like -- been there, too -- it's an awful feeling.
[12:30] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: BUT don't corner agents and editors and force them to listen to your pitch in hallways and the rest room. Instead, wait for them to ask you in the course of a conversation. WHen they ask, they've made themselves ready to hear your pitch.
[12:30] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION TO ALL: Give us your elevator pitch right now - 1 sentence describing your current book, book in progress, etc.
[12:31] Cybergrrl Oh: Good point Beth
[12:31] Cybergrrl Oh: My Elevator Pitch: I'm working on a book about marketing in virtual worlds for the publisher of my last 2 books.
[12:31] Hawke Byrne runs to the restroom with no pitch
[12:31] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: At a writers conference, you can usually sign up for a 10 minute pitch slot with one of the attending agents or editors, but you can also find others by sitting at their tables at meals or other times.
[12:31] Alas Zerbino: lol Hawke!
[12:31] runs after Cybergrrl with some pitches to lend her!
[12:31] Hawke Byrne: /haha!

[12:31] Aldon Huffhines: My novel is about some intrique around some dodgy business in Second Life.
[12:32] Almo Schumann can't imagine Cybergrrl as the shy one.
[12:32] Cybergrrl Oh: oooh, Aldon, sounds intriguing
[12:32] is perfectly fine behind a keyboard.
[12:32] Almo Schumann: / Take the keyboard to the conference.
[12:32] Liadona Rau: I'm working on a book about a girl who learns about herself through the letters of her ancestors - all Southern Jews.
[12:32] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What is the best thing that has ever happened to you at a writers conference?
[12:32] Alas Zerbino: My novel is about a woman self-estranged from her family who's forced to face them in order to save her daughter.
[12:32] Hawke Byrne: /cute Liadona
[12:32] Cybergrrl Oh: Liadona - how interesting!
[12:32] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: You should only be pitching one project at a writer's conference, the one that you think is the most polished and publishable--and obviously, FINISHED!
[12:32] Aldon Huffhines: Liadona, that sounes very interesting as well
[12:33] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What is your new novel about? The Elevator Pitch?
[12:33] Liadona Rau: I started during NaNoWriMo, Aldon...not done yet.
[12:33] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: One thing to remember about writers conferences is that they're full of writers who are ALL mostly shy.
[12:33] Alas Zerbino: Best thing -- I did an agent pitch last year and got a request for a partial.
[12:33] Liadona Rau: congratulations, Alas!
[12:33] Alas Zerbino: Unfortunately, my style wasn't a good match for the agent. But she did like my story.
[12:34] Cybergrrl Oh: - happens in November
[12:34] Liadona Rau: and is painful if you have a small child - warning!
[12:34] Aldon Huffhines: My daughter wrote a great first novel for NaNoWriMo 2006 and self published.
[12:34] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Even the agents and editors are just people who are often shy themselves. If you just make it a goal to say hi to one person at the current time and focus on that person, you'll probably make a friend, because that person will be grateful you notice them and said hi.
[12:34] Hawke Byrne: /Liadona, at least you just joined the nanowrimo site..that was it..hehe
[12:34] Liadona Rau: that's a first step, Hawke!
[12:34] Alas Zerbino: Thanks, Liadona -- it was a powerful feeling, and it was a way to connect with other participants (by way of sitting in fear together outside the agent's room!!)

[12:35] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What was the worst experience you had a a writers conference?
[12:35] Alas Zerbino: Beth, great points. I think I need to set those goals and be ready to meet them.
[12:35] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What are the Top 3 or Top 5 things a person should bring to a writers conference - a checklist so we don't forget them!
[12:36] makes a note to get business cards made...
[12:36] meezmo BeBe 1.2: Automatic refresh
[12:36] Cybergrrl Oh:
[12:36] meezmo BeBe 1.2: Retrieving images...
[12:36] meezmo BeBe 1.2: There are 10 images in your BeBe. Loading images 1 through 4...
[12:36] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: The best thing that happened to me at a writer's conference was getting the chance to talk to an agent in person who became my first agent (I'm now on my second) AND at the same conference, meeting my editor at Five Star and talking to her about the company. Both contacts were made through other writer friends--thus the importance of making friends with other writers.
[12:36] Hawke Byrne: /QUESTION: is it inappropriate to ask for an autograph from your fav author at a conference?
[12:36] Cybergrrl Oh:
[12:37] Aldon Huffhines: QUESTION: What should go on a business card of a writer?
[12:37] Cybergrrl Oh: Wow - productive conference!
[12:37] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Are bigger conferences better for meeting more people in the industry?
[12:38] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Case in point: at a PPWC many years ago, I met Kathy Brandt, who at the time was unpublished. She later went on to publish 4 mystery novels. We hae shared rooms at conferences, critiqued each other's work, and she gave me a blurb for the cover of my book. I've also shown up at her signings, recommended her books to friends and published reviews of her books on DororthyL and other email lists.
[12:39] Cybergrrl Oh: Very nice networking!!
[12:39] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: This is the benefit of networking--doing favors for each other. The main goal for you when you're networking at conferences should be to try to figure out what favor you can do for the other person.
[12:39] Alas Zerbino: Never thought of that -- great advice, Beth!
[12:39] Cybergrrl Oh: Hi Sloan - this is a text chat, just so you know
[12:39] Cybergrrl Oh: Sloan is text adverse
[12:39] Cybergrrl Oh: She much prefers voice
[12:39] Sloan Skjellerup: lol, I'm ok with that
[12:40] Almo Schumann: / If I had sloan's voice I'd prefer it too.
[12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: Past questions...
[12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: [12:37] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Are bigger conferences better for meeting more people in the industry?
[12:40] Sloan Skjellerup: awww.... I'm blushing now
[12:40] Sloan Skjellerup: Hello, avatar!
[12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: [12:37] Aldon Huffhines: QUESTION: What should go on a business card of a writer?
[12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: [12:36] Hawke Byrne: /QUESTION: is it inappropriate to ask for an autograph from your fav author at a conference?
[12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: [12:33] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What is your new novel about? The Elevator Pitch?
[12:41] Cybergrrl Oh: Phew!
[12:41] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: The worst thing that happene to me at a writer's conference was when an agent rejected me, snarkily BTW, right at the pitch session. Most will ask for a partial unless they know right off the bat that your material is not their "thing."
[12:41] Cybergrrl Oh: Hawke - I not only asked for Pam Houston's autograph at the Taos Writers Conference, I told her I'd put up a web site for her for free! She took me up on it a year later.
[12:41] Hawke Byrne: lol Cybergrrl
[12:42] Cybergrrl Oh: - it is very simple but works for her
[12:42] Alas Zerbino: / web skills come in handy!

[12:42] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I was rejected by 89 agents before I found my first one, then when I was looking for #2, I was rejected by 8 agents before finding my current one--even though I was already published! Rejection is something you've GOT to get used to in this business. That's another reason to hang out with other writers--they can commiserate.
[12:42] Sloan Skjellerup: /nice
[12:43] Cybergrrl Oh: /so true
[12:43] Alas Zerbino: Always makes me feel better to hear other writers' rejection stories ...
[12:43] Hawke Byrne wishes she'd stop rejecting herself before she even starts
[12:44] Cybergrrl Oh: Remember everyone - click on a poster to get to Beth's web site.
[12:44] Alas Zerbino: Don't do that, Hawke -- I've done it enough for everyone on the planet!
[12:44] Hawke Byrne: LOL
[12:44] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I have 2 business cards. One has ALL my contact information for people who I want to contact me (phone, address, email, website) The other is a card for my book, basically, that has the name of the book, a short blurb, my name as author, and my website address. I hand this out to fans or folks I meet who show interest in the book.
[12:45] Hawke Byrne: nice Beth
[12:45] Cybergrrl Oh: Good tactic - I think I've done that in the past myself but I'm so mommy brained these days that can't really remember
[12:45] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Your book business card -- is that for published book or ms?
[12:45] Cybergrrl Oh: good question Alas
[12:45] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: A friend has said my current book is about massage, murder, and marital discord.
[12:46] Alas Zerbino: 3M -- there's a company by that name! lol
[12:46] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: It's about a gift basket designer living in Colorado Springs. When a friend arranges for a handsome massage therapist to give her a massage, he is shot and falls in her lap, and her husband is found holding the murder weapon.
[12:46] Almo Schumann: / Hmmm. At least I can learn about two things from that book.
[12:46] Alas Zerbino: Wow -- I'm hooked!
[12:47] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: The sequel, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, takes place in Breckenridge, where Claire and her family go on a ski vacation. THe action starts when her daughter's boyfriend's sister is shot on the slope.
[12:47] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: The elevator pitch sounds kind of like the blurb on the book jacket, then?
[12:47] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Okay, what questions have I missed?
[12:48] Cybergrrl Oh: did you answer this one?
[12:48] Cybergrrl Oh: [12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: [12:37] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Are bigger conferences better for meeting more people in the industry?
[12:48] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Alas, yes the pitch is LIKE the blurb on the book jacket, but shorter than most--only one or two sentences.
[12:48] Alas Zerbino: Book business card: published or ms?
[12:49] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I like the smaller conferences of a few hundred attendees, because I find the big ones to be too overwhelming.
[12:49] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: But the pitch is more of a hook than an overview?
[12:49] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I would only recommend a book business card for a published book.
[12:50] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Yes, the pitch is a hook. BUT, be prepared for the other person to say, tell me more, then go into the description of the main characters and the plot some more.
[12:50] Alas Zerbino: Thanks!
[12:50] Cybergrrl Oh: In business, a pitch is the most concise statement or couple of sentences you can say aloud to not only explain the main gist of your business but to getting people to want to know more. Similar to the book pitch then.
[12:51] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: You've got the idea, Cybergrrl!
[12:51] Cybergrrl Oh: If your book idea is hard to explain, you have to work harder to figure out how to explain it concisely
[12:52] Cybergrrl Oh: Did you answer this one: QUESTION: What is a checklist of 3-5 things we should bring to the next writers conference we attend - so we don't forget!
[12:52] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Correct. A pitch can take a LONG time to hone, and it's best to practice it on a few other writer friends first and get their feedback. Is everyone here in a critique group? If not, I HIGHLY recommend them!
[12:53] Hawke Byrne: /QUESTION: How do you find a crittique group?
[12:53] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I've been in a five member critique group for almost 10 years. When we started we were all unpublished. Now, 3 are pubbed in book-length, 3 in short stories and all 5 have won/placed in writing contests.
[12:54] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: You find a critique group by joining local writing organizations, networking with the writers there, and finding other writers with similar genres, personalities, and goals to work with.
[12:54] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: You want people whose goal is to help each other get published, NOT just to trade pats on the back, but to actually point out problems in each other's work so you can all improve.
[12:55] Cybergrrl Oh: I belonged to a critique group here in Anchorage but found the woman who led it was very know-it-all. She didn't like others giving advice.
[12:56] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: A checklist should include your goals for the conference, a reminder to yourself to network, your pitch, and a reminder to have fun! :)
[12:56] Cybergrrl Oh: And Moo Cards!
[12:56] Cybergrrl Oh: Well, we are getting to the end of our hour...
[12:56] Cybergrrl Oh: If you have an outstanding question, please repost now
[12:56] Alas Zerbino: Finding the right critique group can be a problem, especially in low population areas. I've found some online (email) crit groups have helped a lot for that.
[12:56] Aldon Huffhines: This has been great
[12:57] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: Can you recommend some good Writers web sites in addition to Shaw Guides?
[12:58] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: That woman in Anchorage is what we call a poison personality and is definitely NOT helpful. Before forming a new group, you should set rules for how to evaluate new members, and if all the other members vote someone "off the island" then so be it. For effective work to get done, the rest of you have to get away from that poison personality.
[12:58] Cybergrrl Oh: Good points, Beth!
[12:59] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: I recommend the Pikes Peak Writers website. We have a FORUM where nonmembers can participate in many of the topics.
[12:59] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Also, pleae stop by my own website at and email me if you have more questions.
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: Sounds like a plan.
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: Thank you for being here, Beth - we really appreciate you taking the time.
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: And we hope you'll come back again - especially when your next book is out!
[13:00] Liadona Rau: Thank you, Beth! This has been helpful.
[13:00] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: My blog at talks about my process on the way to publication in my early entries.
[13:00] Almo Schumann: / excellent.
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: Will check out your blog!
[13:00] Hawke Byrne: tyvm Beth and Cybergrrl!
[13:00] Alas Zerbino: I really appreciate you doing this, Beth, this has been a tremendous help for me -- especially so soon before a conference.
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: Thank you all for being here as well.
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: Transcript will be up here soon:
[13:01] Alas Zerbino: Thank you, Cybergrrl, for organizing this.
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh:
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: yw!
[13:01] Liadona Rau: Thanks, CG!
[13:01] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: And thanks to you all. This has been my first Second LIfe experience, and it's been fun--though my fingers are tired!
[13:01] Hawke Byrne: lol
[13:01] Aldon Huffhines: Heh
[13:02] Cybergrrl Oh: Definitely a good finger workout
[13:02] BethGroundwater Trenchcoat: Good luck to all of you in your writing projects. Persistence is key.
[13:02] Alas Zerbino: You were great! Hope you hang out some more in SL.
[13:02] Hawke Byrne: /OOOH persistence...I kept thinking procrastination!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Therese Carfagno, reporter, speaks!

27 February 2008

This is was an incredible well-attended event. Seems everyone and their sister and brother want to be a Second Life reporter!

[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: Welcome everyone to Second Life Writers Club
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: I'm your host Cybergrrl Oh
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: And we're pleased to welcome our special guest today
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: Therese Carfagno, reporter
[12:07] Therese Carfagno: thank you Cyber
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: I asked Therese to stop by and chat with us about how she became a Second Life reporter

[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: The rules are:
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: If you have a question for her, type QUESTION: in front of it so we see it
[12:07] Cybergrrl Oh: If you have a comment, just comment anytime
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: This is a roundtable format
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: I'll keep us all on topic
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: It is entirely text and I'll post the transcript on the SL Writers Club blog
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: URL
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: That's it! Let's begin. I will start with a question for Therese
[12:08] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: So what do you do in real life and how did you get your writing job in SL?
[12:09] Cybergrrl Oh: two questions, really!
[12:09] Therese Carfagno: that's fine :-)
[12:09] Haileigh Flanagan: Hi Lexa
[12:09] Cybergrrl Oh: Hi Lexa!
[12:10] Therese Carfagno: in real life i'm a freelance journalist … i've been so since i started studying in 1998
[12:10] Cybergrrl Oh: Therese is in Europe.
[12:10] Therese Carfagno: i worked as a freelancer while studying but since 2001 i've been full time journalist
[12:10] Therese Carfagno: mostly freelancing
[12:11] Therese Carfagno: hard to get a steady job as a journalist in Norway these days … but i like to freelance
[12:11] Maxie Mostel: QUESTION: Where are you based, Therese?
[12:11] Maxie Mostel: Never mind.
[12:11] Therese Carfagno: i'm in Oslo, Norway, Maxie
[12:11] Cybergrrl Oh: Norway!
[12:11] Cybergrrl Oh: ;-)
[12:11] Therese Carfagno: i should have said :-)
[12:11] Cybergrrl Oh: I didn't want to reveal if you didn't want to
[12:12] Therese Carfagno: that's okay
[12:12] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: When did you come into SL?
[12:12] Therese Carfagno: in february 2007 … i had my rezday on the 12th :-)
[12:13] Cybergrrl Oh: Happy Belated Rez Day
[12:13] Therese Carfagno: and i came to SL cause i felt it was something i should know about being a journalist
[12:13] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: So how did you find out about paying reporter gigs in SL?
[12:13] Therese Carfagno: just by coincidence
[12:14] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION TO ALL: Who else is a paid reporter in SL?
[12:14] Cybergrrl Oh raises her hand.
[12:14] Trinity Coulter: QUESTION: How do you find and decide what is news in SL?
[12:14] Therese Carfagno: good question Trinity
[12:14] Cybergrrl Oh: Good question Trinity
[12:14] Trinity Coulter: :)
[12:15] Cybergrrl Oh: Echo echo
[12:15] Cybergrrl Oh: lol
[12:15] Therese Carfagno: i do mainly arts and entertainment … like i do in first life
[12:15] Trinity Coulter: come on in Aurora
[12:15] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION TO ALL: Who is a NONPAID reporter in SL?
[12:15] Cybergrrl Oh raises her hand.
[12:15] Therese Carfagno: welcome Aurel
[12:15] Maxie Mostel: I am nonpaid
[12:15] Maxie Mostel: Part-time
[12:16] Trinity Coulter: QUESTION: So you start by choose an area that interests you?
[12:16] Trinity Coulter: *choosing
[12:16] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: Were you paid to write from the start or did you write for free at first to build an inworld resume?
[12:16] Cybergrrl Oh: Hi Aurora - grab the empty seat - another will appear
[12:16] Therese Carfagno: Trinity: i just felt it was safest to stick to what i feel like i know best
[12:17] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: On average, what does a SL reporter get paid? Just a ballpark?
[12:17] Trinity Coulter: so that way you have most insight into the topic
[12:17] Trinity Coulter: *more
[12:17] Therese Carfagno: hopefully Trinity :-)
[12:17] Cybergrrl Oh: Hi Misook - grab the empty seat.
[12:18] Therese Carfagno: Cyber: i wrote my first article for the metaverse messenger in march 2007
[12:18] Misook Oh: Hi everyone
[12:18] Therese Carfagno: they said they would pay me if they could use it
[12:18] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What was your first article about?
[12:18] Therese Carfagno: so that's why i was paid for my first article
[12:19] Therese Carfagno: it was an article on The L Word sim
[12:19] Krosstar Karas: QUESTION: For your SL reporting do you only cover metaverse topics or do RL topics find their way into the metaverse? And if not do you think there will be enough of a presence by RL organizations so in the future the metaverse will be closer connected to RL issues and stories?
[12:19] Therese Carfagno: it was quite new then
[12:19] Cybergrrl Oh: Krosstar, good question. I actually specialize in writing about RL companies coming into SL. I'm a business reporter for SLNN - was weekly but now more freelance.
[12:20] Cybergrrl Oh: I also have a new TV show on featuring a real world company in SL every week. So there is a lot to cover!
[12:20] Therese Carfagno: Krosstar: sometimes RL topics find their way into the metaverse … i once wrote about a Microsoft sim
[12:20] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: What are some recent article topics you've written about?
[12:20] Cybergrrl Oh: And I hope you aren't avoiding my MONEY question! THat is an important topic.
[12:20] Cybergrrl Oh: lol
[12:20] Krosstar Karas: $$
[12:21] Cybergrrl Oh says "Show me the Money!"
[12:21] Therese Carfagno: my last two interviews have been about a new gallery and an architect who wants to do urban planning in SL
[12:21] Cybergrrl Oh: interesting, Therese
[12:21] Therese Carfagno: SLNN pays quite well i say
[12:22] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: Do you source your own stories or do you get assignments or both?
[12:22] Therese Carfagno: i have to inform: i'm an associate editor for the arts at SLNN now … so i actually get a budget and pay my writers
[12:22] Cybergrrl Oh: links to some of Therese's articles:
[12:22] Cybergrrl Oh:
[12:22] Cybergrrl Oh:
[12:23] Cybergrrl Oh:
[12:23] Misook Oh: What about articles in aforeign language... are they needed
[12:23] Cybergrrl Oh: Misook, excellent question
[12:23] Therese Carfagno: the pay in SLNN differs between 1000 and 2500 L$ per article
[12:23] Maxie Mostel: Wow...
[12:23] Cybergrrl Oh: Yes, they pay well
[12:23] Therese Carfagno: Misook: SLNN is in english only but i know there are brazilian and german news firms as well in SL
[12:23] Cybergrrl Oh: Word count is usually 800-1200, right?
[12:23] Krosstar Karas: QUESTION: Does SL reporting ever border on fiction? After all is it possible to get reliable sources and information. Actually I am trying to ask if the anonymity that others can hide behind their avatars pose a problem for journalist?
[12:24] Misook Oh: Okay.. Thanks
[12:24] Cybergrrl Oh: Krosstar - Love your questions!
[12:24] Therese Carfagno: Krosstar: that's another good question
[12:24] Maxie Mostel: QUESTION: IS there a Norwegian community in SL?
[12:24] Trinity Coulter: QUESTION: Therese, do you find that most reporters are freelance in SL?

[12:24] Therese Carfagno: i have to answer you one by one now :-)
[12:24] Trinity Coulter: RL reporting is often fiction and spin
[12:25] Krosstar Karas: interesting...
[12:25] Cybergrrl Oh: From my experience, I find that most of the info I get is good because there is an obvious real world connection and company behind the people I interview. But how interesting to think about this extra layer of anonymity.
[12:25] Therese Carfagno: Krosstar: what we report on … i'd say they are real as far as they are real in SL
[12:25] Cybergrrl Oh: Therese, just plow thru the questions as you can!
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: Hi Wendell, welcome
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: Grab the empty seat when you can
[12:26] Wendell Renard: hi - small roof, don't want to land on somebody's lap;)
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: Alanagh, welcome!
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: We won't mind Wendell
[12:26] Cybergrrl Oh: Or land on the table - a bigger target
[12:26] Therese Carfagno: the anonymity is a problem if the topic can hurt other people … so we have to be careful about that and use as many sources as possible
[12:27] Wendell Renard: thanks
[12:28] Therese Carfagno: Maxie: yes, there is a group called Alt for Norge, and Ivalde is a norwegian shop in a norwegian sim … there's also a norwegian college in SL
[12:28] Misook Oh: Sorry, but i have to leave... RL Problems
[12:28] Maxie Mostel: Really? wow...So do you find your a&E reproting goes both ways then? from RL to SL and =back?
[12:28] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: So how does one approach an SL newspaper or magazine to get a paying writing gig?
[12:28] Therese Carfagno: Trinity: yes, most reporters in SL are freelance … maybe everyone. but usually they have one paper/magazine they're faithfull to
[12:29] Cybergrrl Oh: Bye Misok
[12:29] Almo Schumann smiles: They could ask me. MNN is always looking for good reporters.
[12:29] Maxie Mostel: MNN?
[12:29] Therese Carfagno: how to approach … i'd say just find the right names at the paper/magazine's website
[12:30] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: Are you looking for any reporters in your area at
[12:30] Therese Carfagno: and don't be afraid to go straight to the top and ask the chief editor
[12:30] Almo Schumann: /
[12:30] Maxie Mostel: ty Almo
[12:30] Therese Carfagno: i could do fine with one or two new reporters
[12:31] Cybergrrl Oh: QUESTION: So what is the best way to pitch you and what do you look for in a writer?
[12:31] Therese Carfagno: best way to pitch me is to give me a notecard
[12:31] Therese Carfagno: and i look for people that can write and find topics
[12:31] Cybergrrl Oh: Everyone, we do have some reporters and publishers here from "rival" publications and networks. Make sure you check everyone's profiles and say hello. You never know who you might meet.
[12:32] Heidi Heslop: QUESTION: How important is it to have RL experience as a journalist?
[12:32] Therese Carfagno: Heidi: not important i would say … not if you can write
[12:32] Therese Carfagno: the same can be said about RL journalism
[12:33] Leslye Writer: Hello
[12:33] Krosstar Karas: QUESTION: How sophisticated are SL news outlets? Are they basicially edited blogs with different reportes submitted work or do they have video and other technologies? Do you see this changing in the future?
[12:33] Therese Carfagno: as long as you can write you're interesting
[12:33] Krosstar Karas: *reporters submitting
[12:33] Therese Carfagno: Krosstar: i see the SL News as quite primitive still … that counts for SLNN too
[12:34] Cybergrrl Oh: Krosstar - was priding itself in their AP style - very few SL news blogs adhere to AP.
[12:34] Maxie Mostel: I think the technology is still in its infancy...a good time to get involved. IMHO
[12:34] Krosstar Karas nods to Maxie
[12:34] Cybergrrl Oh: Maxie - I think you are right about that.
[12:34] Therese Carfagno: yes Maxie
[12:35] Therese Carfagno: and Krosstar: more and more SL news outlets does video as well
[12:35] Cybergrrl Oh: Krosstar - I know is exploring video. MNN is doing video, right Almo?
[12:35] Almo Schumann: That is correct.
[12:35] Therese Carfagno: i think future reporting in SL will be more sophisticated and professional than it is today
[12:35] Maxie Mostel: Yes. and CNN is really keen on getting more video for its own in-world ireports,
[12:36] Krosstar Karas: QUESTION: Will the reporters have to become more technological savvy and do their own video or do they have other persons who specialize in that so writers just have to worry about their craft?
[12:36] Therese Carfagno: Krosstar: i'm a writer so i hope there will be room for written journalism
[12:36] Aurora Llewellyn: So other than sending you a notecard directly, if we had a story idea or even a story written, what would we do with it? And are some publications more open to some topics or typees of writing than others?
[12:37] Cybergrrl Oh: Maxie - I heard about CNN looking to do more video. Are they still doing it as free iReports or will they pay people?
[12:37] Wendell Renard: question - do any of the the outlets publish short fiction, a la the new yorker?
[12:37] Therese Carfagno: i think the video geeks will find their way into SLNN and other news outlets … and they will be welcome
[12:37] Cybergrrl Oh: Aurora - As a RL freelancer, I always read the pub carefully first and figure out if my story idea would fit before pitching. I think the same applies in SL, wouldn't you say Therese?
[12:38] Maxie Mostel: No, it's still free - no pay involved with CNN - its' just an extension of their RL iReport I don't think people get paid either there...
[12:38] Almo Schumann: / May I say that there will always be a place for good writing. There is something about people that makes them want to read a good story.
[12:38] Therese Carfagno: Aurora: if you have written a story i would like to see it
[12:38] Cybergrrl Oh: Wendell - you should speak with Lexa Dryke who is here - he pays for short fiction
[12:38] Cybergrrl Oh: Lexa - that is still correct, yes?
[12:38] Lexa Dryke: yes indeed
[12:38] Wendell Renard: thanks you
[12:39] Therese Carfagno: and Aurora: if you have a look at the different SL news outlets i'm sure you will understand where you will feel most at home
[12:39] Cybergrrl Oh: Like I said, check everyone's profiles here. We have some wonderful folks who would be great contacts for aspiring writers in our midst.
[12:39] Haileigh Flanagan: QUESTION: How do we find out the circulation of an SL publication? It'd be interesting to see how many SL members have actually read it.
[12:39] Trinity Coulter: QUESTION: Therese what do you see as the biggest responsibility and duty of a journalist, RL or SL?
[12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: I think most SL pubs will put this in their advertising section - when looking for advertisers. I know most of the pubs have at least seeral hundred to several thousand readers per month.
[12:40] Maxie Mostel: Cybergrrl...would there be a section on the blog we could upload our profiles, as members of the Writers Ckub?
[12:40] Maxie Mostel: Club
[12:40] Aurora Llewellyn: wow this is all getting way overwhelming for me
[12:40] Therese Carfagno: Haileigh: i agree but i don't know any numbers … not even for SLNN … i don't dare to ask i guess :-)
[12:40] Cybergrrl Oh: Maxie - cool idea. Let me figure out how to do that.
[12:41] Cybergrrl Oh: Aurora - I'll post a transcript to so you can review it all at your leisure!
[12:41] Cybergrrl Oh: And feel to IM me anytime for help.
[12:41] Haileigh Flanagan: At least with RL blogs and RL print pubs, I know someone is reading it.
[12:41] Aurora Llewellyn: thank you. but also it is just all the people and names and the idea to look at all their profiles to know what they do.....
[12:41] Therese Carfagno: Trinity: my responsibilty as an arts and entertainment editor is to keep our readers aware of all the cultural happening that's going on in SL
[12:41] Krosstar Karas: QUESTION: What has been your most challenging story in SL so far or do you find it not challenging at all compared to RL reporting?
[12:42] Aurora Llewellyn: is there a way we can post a list somewhere of who publishes what?
[12:42] Lanne Wise: I suspect you might get that kind of information at the SL library....
[12:42] Cybergrrl Oh: Aurora - I can help compile that list
[12:42] Therese Carfagno: Krosstar: my most challenging stories have been the ones where i've been assigned to a topic i don't feel i know well
[12:43] Cybergrrl Oh: Lanne - Can you give us more info about the SL Library?
[12:43] Aurora Llewellyn: thank you
[12:43] Cybergrrl Oh smiles.
[12:43] Lanne Wise: sure....
[12:43] Aurora Llewellyn: sorry for being the newbie
[12:43] Lanne Wise: I have a landmark somewhere...let me find.....
[12:43] Cybergrrl Oh would hire Krosstar just based on his questions today.
[12:43] Therese Carfagno: and i find SL reporting just as challenging as RL reporting … not least cause i have to write in english …
[12:44] Krosstar Karas: Oh but I am the newbie too...
[12:44] Leslye Writer: thank you for asking that cyber, I was doing the search for it
[12:45] Cybergrrl Oh will try to turn the SL Writers Club blog into a more interactive resource with profiles of writers and SL pubs. IM me later if you want to participate!
[12:45] Therese Carfagno: i'm overwhelmed to see this interest for SL reporting … i had no idea it would be like this
[12:45] Cybergrrl Oh: Therese - I'll have you know this is THE BIGGEST event we've had so far.
[12:45] Cybergrrl Oh: You're a hit!
[12:45] Therese Carfagno: haha
[12:45] Haileigh Flanagan: This is wonderful - like minded individuals
[12:46] Cybergrrl Oh: Have we missed anyone's question? Please repost it.
[12:46] Therese Carfagno: i feel like i haven't answered as well as i should … and there have been lots of interesting questions
[12:46] Cybergrrl Oh: The nature of a fast moving text chat!
[12:46] Wendell Renard: q - i have grad students who might be interested in doing theatre revie...
[12:46] Lanne Wise gave you Talis Cybrary City - Info Island, Cybrary City (224, 166, 24).
[12:46] Cybergrrl Oh: Therese - you are welcome to send me a little summary of points to add to our blog.
[12:46] Wendell Renard: is there a backlog of stories on past theatre events somewhere?
[12:46] Therese Carfagno: Wendell: we see more and more theatre performances in SL
[12:47] Cybergrrl Oh: Thanks Lanne - did you want me to hand it out for you?
[12:47] Aurora Llewellyn: you have done a great job Therese
[12:47] Therese Carfagno: thanks Aurora
[12:47] Lanne Wise: Oh...I can do that cybergrrl....I thought you might want to add it to the blog as well
[12:47] Cybergrrl Oh: Thanks Lanne!
[12:47] Maxie Mostel: Question: Do you report any SL a&e news in your rl reproting?
[12:47] Leslye Writer: Can someone put the Library loc up here?
[12:47] Maxie Mostel: reporting
[12:48] Cybergrrl Oh: Talis Cybrary City - Info Island, Cybrary City (224, 166, 24)
[12:48] Therese Carfagno: Maxie: i once wrote a RL article on the cultural scene of SL … and i've written about Virtual Africa
[12:48] Maxie Mostel: cool
[12:48] Lanne Wise gave you Talis Cybrary City - Info Island, Cybrary City (224, 166, 24).
[12:48] Therese Carfagno: yes the editors liked them
[12:49] Cybergrrl Oh: i think the beauty of SL and RL reporting is you can go both ways.
[12:49] Cybergrrl Oh: Each is fodder for the other.
[12:49] Therese Carfagno: i should write more RL articles on SL
[12:49] Cybergrrl Oh: and get paid real $$$
[12:49] Therese Carfagno: hehe yes
[12:49] Maxie Mostel: There a re a lot of artsit using SL as a platform for their rl marketing
[12:49] Cybergrrl Oh: To give some perspective, I get paid $500-$1000 per article in real life and L$1000-L$2500 inworld.
[12:49] Cybergrrl Oh: BIG difference
[12:50] Therese Carfagno: um Cyber…
[12:50] Therese Carfagno: heh heh
[12:50] Krosstar Karas: A vast difference indeed.
[12:50] Cybergrrl Oh: What is the linden conversion for L$1000-L$2500 in US dollars?
[12:50] Heidi Heslop: thx lanne
[12:50] Haileigh Flanagan: Same amount of effort to track down sources, write and edit...
[12:50] Cybergrrl Oh: It takes about the same time to write an SL story as a RL one
[12:50] Therese Carfagno: that's peanuts Cyber :-)
[12:50] Cybergrrl Oh: yes
[12:50] Haileigh Flanagan: $278 Linden = $1 right?
[12:50] Lanne Wise: yes....I are talking about eight bucks...forthe same work
[12:50] Cybergrrl Oh: yeah, do the math for me someone!
[12:51] Therese Carfagno: yes … so the payment in SL is really a joke …
[12:51] Haileigh Flanagan: It's points in an online game.
[12:51] Maxie Mostel: SL reporting is a lobour of
[12:51] Therese Carfagno: but it does get you some nice clothes :-)
[12:51] Cybergrrl Oh: But I do the SL articles to build Cybergrrl Oh brand versus the Aliza Sherman brand.
[12:51] Haileigh Flanagan: That's how I think of it
[12:51] Maxie Mostel: labour
[12:51] Leslye Writer: omgosh, the search brings up 1500 sites for sl library.
[12:51] Cybergrrl Oh: Leslye - did you get a landmark from Lanne?
[12:51] Lanne Wise: did I miss you Leslye?
[12:51] Cybergrrl Oh: Therese - I would not say payment inworld is a joke - it is all relative.
[12:52] Maxie Mostel: Thank you Lanne
[12:52] Leslye Writer: Yes, Lanne
[12:52] Haileigh Flanagan: At least I don't have to buy RL groceries with SL bucks
[12:52] Cybergrrl Oh: I can buy 4-6 beautiful outfits in SL on my SL reporting income!
[12:52] Therese Carfagno: i didn't mean to be a spoiler Cyber ;.)
[12:52] Lanne Wise: have to put it in perspective.....
[12:52] Cybergrrl Oh: It is all relative. It is hard to make real world bill paying with an SL reporting job.
[12:52] Krosstar Karas: Only if you could by beautiful outfits RL using lin...
[12:52] Leslye Writer: Perhaps an SL article could then go outside. Is that possible? Or is it tied up once it is published here?
[12:52] Therese Carfagno: but it's true as someone said … you can easily use as much time on an SL article as on a RL article
[12:52] Lanne Wise: lol
[12:52] Cybergrrl Oh: But you can have a nice SL life, pay rent, buy clothes, with an SL reporting job
[12:53] Haileigh Flanagan: Unless you're are getting the writing gig in RL to cover SL....that's different
[12:53] Cybergrrl Oh: Cybergrrl is very well dressed from SL reporting!
[12:53] Cybergrrl Oh: lol
[12:53] Therese Carfagno: Leslye: my guess is you would be free to publish it elsewhere
[12:53] Lanne Wise: I have published my SL aritcles in RL as they are all about SL artists working in RL...the back and forth works well
[12:53] Therese Carfagno: good thinking Lanne
[12:53] Cybergrrl Oh: Leslye - Each pub is different. Some will not let you republish. Others will.
[12:53] Cybergrrl Oh: Same as in RL
[12:54] Therese Carfagno: yes
[12:54] Cybergrrl Oh: And the SL pubs are VERY competitive with one another. Some are taking a cooperative approach but they all have their competitors
[12:55] Cybergrrl Oh: I hope everyone has joined the Second Life Writers Club - this is just the start of some great sessions with interesting writers, publishers and editors.
[12:55] Trinity Coulter: most every Linden is available during office hours, btw, if you need a resource, or facts verified, or quotes, but i would tell them its "on the record"
[12:55] Wendell Renard: oops - RL calls - thanks , all!
[12:56] Therese Carfagno's in the phone
[12:56] Cybergrrl Oh: Trinity - I've found with Lindens, you still have to go thru their real world publicist, believe it or not.
[12:56] Cybergrrl Oh: They will tell you "speak to our PR firm" if you approach them as a reporter.
[12:56] aurel Miles: that's nuts
[12:56] Cybergrrl Oh: When I interviewed Jessika Linden, I had to go thru their PR firm.
[12:56] aurel Miles: go to their office hours and use your skills
[12:56] Trinity Coulter: yes, but you don't have to do that for people at the office hour with you ;)
[12:57] Cybergrrl Oh: And if their RL PR firm doesn't respond, you're out of luck.
[12:57] Trinity Coulter: ask them "What do you think of the Public Works plans?"
[12:57] aurel Miles: i know people who have gotten results that way - what a drag to have to deal with that, sorry to hear about that Cybergrrl
[12:57] Cybergrrl Oh: Trinity - if you are a reporter, I think you'd be surprised at how the Lindens are trained to refer you to a PR firm.
[12:57] Trinity Coulter: Newbie McNewbington, "Its great and I'm happy to be on the team"
[12:57] Cybergrrl Oh: But if they don't know you are a reporter...
[12:57] Cybergrrl Oh: But that brings up ethical issues.
[12:57] aurel Miles: if it's just fact verification you're after, the demographics etc etc are all on the website
[12:57] Cybergrrl Oh: Exactly, Aurel
[12:57] Haileigh Flanagan: Ever heard of undercover reporter? How do they deal with ethical issues?
[12:58] aurel Miles: and any response in a blog is fair game to quote
[12:58] Krosstar Karas: You can only burn a source once before they will not deal with you again I assume.
[12:58] Leslye Writer: How is Second Life Writer's Club listed in the group?
[12:58] Haileigh Flanagan: Anything said to an avi that is not a business employee is public information, as far as I know.
[12:58] aurel Miles: depends on who you are - good rule is not to burn sources
[12:58] Trinity Coulter: well i would think an undercover reporter is taking on some issue that is morally important
[12:58] Cybergrrl Oh: Haileigh - They deal with the fallout once something comes out. Legal fallout. If there is reason for someone to be mad about what they reveal.
[12:58] Cybergrrl Oh: Second Life Writers Club - no apostrophe.
[12:58] Cybergrrl Oh: my bad spelling!
[12:58] Leslye Writer: ah
[12:59] Cybergrrl Oh: Anyone who is an undercover reporter is usually protected by their newspaper or magazine.
[12:59] Cybergrrl Oh: And the newspaper or magazine has legal backup to know how to handle what happens once the story is published.
[12:59] Cybergrrl Oh: I don't think SL pubs are equipped to handle that kind of stuff. But then again, the stories aren't so probing and controversial for the most part!
[13:00] aurel Miles: i've worked undercover
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: Is Therese back?
[13:00] aurel Miles: talk to a lwyer first
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: I've worked under cover, too!
[13:00] Therese Carfagno: not yet ...
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: I agree Aurel
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: In some cases it boils down to legal issues
[13:00] Therese Carfagno: ok now i'm back :-)
[13:00] Cybergrrl Oh: in a few cases, it could be life or death - like people reporting on the Mob, for example.
[13:00] aurel Miles: and contrary to popular belief there are lots of good undercover stories to be had here
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: RL mob, ov course.
[13:01] Haileigh Flanagan: Griefer Gangs, heh
[13:01] Leslye Writer: on the record off the record?
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: Hi Therese - it is about time to wrap up
[13:01] aurel Miles: but the good part is - if you are clear about who you are in your profile, then they really have no defense
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: Any parting words?
[13:01] Therese Carfagno: are you talking about in-depth articles?
[13:01] Trinity Coulter: i don't know how you can do much undercover reporting here
[13:01] Trinity Coulter: without getting very close to breaking the ToS
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: Therese - we were chatting about undercover reporting - liabilities, legal issues, dangers
[13:01] aurel Miles: this medium is broadcast and your profile should be adequate warning that people are speaking to a reporter
[13:01] Cybergrrl Oh: Trinity - very very good point
[13:02] Therese Carfagno: oh … walraffing
[13:02] aurel Miles: pedophiles tend to be kind of careless about that sort of thing
[13:02] Trinity Coulter: you can't IM someone and then publish their words
[13:02] Krosstar Karas: Unless of course you are trying to find violations of ToS
[13:02] Trinity Coulter: without violating the ToS
[13:02] Haileigh Flanagan: no that isn't publicly disseminated info - I'd be very careful about that
[13:02] Heidi Heslop: Can you if you ask permission?
[13:02] aurel Miles: thank you everyone
[13:02] aurel Miles: i am late - must run.
[13:02] Cybergrrl Oh: Trinity - I actually did that by mistake in one of my articles - the woman asked if I could change her quote because she revealed too much in the IM and her job was at stake. I changed it since it was MY error.
[13:02] Therese Carfagno: bye aurel
[13:03] Haileigh Flanagan: I'd get a note card granting permission...
[13:03] Trinity Coulter: if you feel the 1st amendment is more important you can still publish it, but you might have to face the Lindens
[13:03] Cybergrrl Oh: Haileigh - good practice.
[13:03] Cybergrrl Oh: bye Aurel
[13:03] Leslye Writer: one way to find a Liinden hehe
[13:03] Cybergrrl Oh: Well everyone - this has been an awesome session!
[13:03] Cybergrrl Oh: Many thanks to Therese.
[13:03] Heidi Heslop: I asked if I could quote and it was agreed and I log all chat
[13:03] Cybergrrl Oh: You are all welcome to hang out some more and chat
[13:03] Maxie Mostel: Great info...
[13:03] Lanne Wise: great conversation!! thanks everyone...see you later!
[13:03] Cybergrrl Oh: I have to run some RL errands so will be AFK
[13:03] Haileigh Flanagan: I'd be glad to draft up a permission form template to share. You'd tell the source to mark it as NO MODIFY before they transferred it to you.
[13:03] Cybergrrl Oh: So nice to see new folks here!
[13:04] Krosstar Karas: Thank you for hosting it and to Therese for filling us in.
[13:04] Maxie Mostel: Thanks Therese! Thanks again Cybergrrl for a great session. :)
[13:04] Cybergrrl Oh: Please remember to join the group. I have a full calendar thru April!
[13:04] Leslye Writer: thank you very much
[13:04] Cybergrrl Oh: Thanks Therese - you've been great.
[13:04] Jazlyn Ashbourne: thank you for all of the good information
[13:04] Heidi Heslop: That would be great haileigh
[13:04] Therese Carfagno: thank you so much to everyone coming
[13:04] Cybergrrl Oh: Haileigh - yes, thank you!
[13:04] Ledoof Constantineau: will the session be posted on the blog? or might someone have a notecard to share?
[13:04] Cybergrrl Oh: Session will be posted to:
[13:04] Therese Carfagno: please don't hesitate to contact me if i can be of more help
[13:04] Cybergrrl Oh:
[13:04] Haileigh Flanagan: Thanks Cybergrrl Oh
[13:05] Heidi Heslop: thank you Cybergrrl
[13:05] Rosalind Chihuly: I really enjoyed the event. Thank you!
[13:05] Cybergrrl Oh: And stay tuned for some exciting news about Second Life Writers Club - new resources for all of us to use
[13:05] Cybergrrl Oh: The goal here is to find ways to make money from our writing
[13:05] Cybergrrl Oh: and to promote ourselves as writers in SL and RL

Go to to join our new Web-based community and SL writers resource.

Diana Allendale teaches "Writing Erotica"

20 February 2008

Diana Allendale aka Diana Hunter led a great workshop about writing erotica.

[12:08] You: Welcome everyone
[12:08] You: I'm Cybergrrl Oh and the host of Athena Isle
[12:08] You: I bring writers and experts here 2-3x a week to share knowledge
[12:08] You: This is both a voice and text chat. Diana will lecture in voice so make sure you set her volume so you can hear her. If you don't know how, IM me privately.
[12:08] You: You can ask her questions in text or in voice - your choice.
[12:09] You: Our special guest is Diana Allandale aka Diana Hunter.
[12:09] Diana Allandale: *waves*
[12:09] You: You can find out more about her by clicking on the posters around us and go to her web site.
[12:09] You: As you know, Diana will lead a discussion about How to Write Erotica. I hope you brought your questions!
[12:09] You: I'm turning it over to her and will have to leave in 1/2 hour but she is a pro at leading workshops. So take it away Diana!

There you have it - the text portion of the wonderful session on Writing Erotica presented in SL voice by Diana Allendale. She did give us a notecard with some tips:

Writing Erotica

1) beliveable characters and characterizations
2) Plot, plot, plot!
3) emotions vs actions; you need the balance
4) make sure the positions are actually POSSIBLE!
5) vocabulary (no purple prose)
6) audience

published by permission from Diana Allendale.