Kim Wright is the author of The Unexpected Waltz (Gallery Books), Love In Mid Air (Grand Central), and the upcoming Take Me There, which will be published by Gallery Books next spring. She also writes nonfiction, specializing in the areas of food, wine, and travel, and has twice been the recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. Kim lives in Charlotte.
At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Kim will lead a workshop titled "Structure: Four Ways to Build a Book" with Kim Boykin, Erika Marks, and Marybeth Whalen.
Structure: It's hard to talk about and therefore many writers avoid the scary subject, even though a sound structure is essential to the success of any novel. On this panel, four writers will share their own unique ways of building a book, from being a “pantser” (who flies by the seat of her pants) to a “plotter” who won't begin without a detailed outline, to all the possibilities between these two extremes. We'll also discuss the issues of whether each book demands its own structure, the challenge of revision, writing when you aren't sure what happens next, and whether or not the "film formula" really works when it comes to novels. You'll leave with a new set of tools to help you find the best structural approach to your next book.
What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Make more of an effort to meet other writers. I stayed solitary far too long!
Who is your literary hero?
Milton. He was blind and he came up with the best tactile descriptions!
If you could live in any literary world for the rest of your life, where would you find yourself?
The here and now. I'm not much for romanticizing the past or glorifying the future.
If you could have written one book that someone else wrote, which book would it be?
Sense and Sensibility.
Many writers are solitary creatures. Coming to an event like Fall Conference can be a little intimidating, navigating the exhibit hall and ballroom events. Any advice for working the room?
Start before you're in the room. The best friendships are begun in halls and elevators.
Who gave the best reading or talk you've ever been to? What made it so good?
I'll never forget a reading Carolyn Forché gave years ago in Wilmington.
Any advice for attendees who sign up for the Open Mic?
Opt to read less than you think you can comfortably cover in the time allotted and read slowly.
The city of Charlotte was founded on two established Native American trading routes. Now, of course, it's the second biggest banking center in the country. Fall Conference will boast an exhibit hall packed with vendors. How do you approach an exhibit hall at a conference such as this? To shop, to chat, or both?
I both shop and chat but I have to take it in small chunks. I find these experiences overwhelming.
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but of course most of us do. What is one—or some—of your favorite book cover(s)?
I love the new Norton cover of A Scarlet Letter.
What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
We're talking about structure, which can be daunting. If they're stuck on their WIP, I hope they leave with practical ideas for revision.
What is your guilty pleasure read?
Mysteries, especially historical ones. And I love People Magazine!
What makes you cringe when you see it on the page?
Unconscious word repetition.
Caffeine of choice? (English Breakfast, Caramel macchiato, etc.)
Embarrassing so...Diet Coke.
Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference is now open.