|Kathleen Flinn (photo by Irene Flinn)|
The two things I liked the most were Kathleen's focus on first lines -- I know this but never thought to apply it to blogging, for instance -- and her recommendation to storyboard any narrative, nonfiction or fiction, especially if you're stuck. I like drawing anyway, and storyboarding my exercise narrative was kind of fun. Particularly useful for food writing was her emphasis on using all five senses, starting with the introductory exercise of describing a lemon five times for each one.
For my purposes, Kathleen dwelt too much on book publishing and proposals, though that's fair enough given that she launched her career as author and speaker that way. Also, though she promised much in the way of supplementary materials, we had only a slim set in hand and when the rest arrived by e-mail it came in the form of scattered links that are anything but easy to download, piece together and use.
But that's all gravy. The main course was great. It will help me in all my writing, and gives me some food for thought for possibilities in this genre. For instance, she mentioned that culinary travel is hot right now and that's something that has considerable appeal. The field is of course very crowded, but what the heck, you carve out your niche or you don't. Beverages, another genre with great appeal for me, is also hot, she says.
In sum, it was a stimulating, worthwhile weekend and I'm grateful to Kathleen for the workshop and to Politics & Prose and the Writer's Center for bringing her to Washington.