OCC-RWA: Looking Back at the First Half of 2017…

OCC has been blessed in speakers this year. Here is a quick year in review, for those of you wanting to organize your notes. If you missed any of these speakers, be sure to ask your chapter-mates for their notes!


We began the year with attorney and mystery writer Leslie Budewitz. Leslie shared research tips and 12 Common Mistakes Fiction Writers Make About the Law. Three of the most common mistakes:

  • Failing to distinguish between state and federal crimes.
  • Confusing direct and circumstantial evidence.
  • Assuming a criminal case won’t be pursued if the victim “doesn’t press charges.”

Leslie’s book on this topic: “Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure.”


Bestselling Author Lori Wilde shared her journey to the New York Times bestseller list and provided hands-0n exercises in her workshop titled, Showing and Telling: Building the Foundation for Compelling Fiction.


The incredibly informative, wildly successful California Dreamin’ Conference happened in late-March. The next one will be in 2019.


Theodora Taylor shared productivity tips and TONS of motivational book recommendations for getting the most out of your writing days. After finishing eight books in twelve months, she had a solid list of tips! So many that there will be a stand-alone post with a better summary.

Theodora recommends listening to self-help and motivation audiobooks and podcasts while you exercise and do the non-writing things in your day. And most importantAlways Be Setting (Crazy Big) Goals!

The afternoon panel, “Authors Beware!” featured Theodora, Maggie Marr and Debra Holland with Tara Lain as moderator.

Three tips:

  • Agents are an author’s employee – you should be able to ask them anything!
  • The best chance of success comes with advance planning. Each author on the panel recommended you plan your author promo/marketing in advance and engage great professionals if you decide to self-publish. Be sure you already have 2-3 books finished.
  • Above all, follow your intuition!

Opened book with heart page


Kaizen-Muse creator, Jill Badonsky, shared insightful tips on beating procrastination and distraction, as well as a pep talk on keeping the passion and inspiration alive in your writing.

Inspiring quotes to post where you can see them:

  • YOU are the hero of your own story.
  • Reframe your words to yourself. Use “I get to…” instead of “I have to…”
  • Progress is better than perfection.
  • Half-@ss is better than no @ss when it comes to your writing.

And remember the most important thing: Shame stops more writing than anything else.


OCC’s own Louella Nelson led a morning workshop on Point of View (POV) where she gave examples of all four types of POV and showed when to use them. Lou showed how to choose the perfect narrator to make a read that satisfies your target audience and increases reader interest  and loyalty.

Louella also participated in an afternoon panel with Linda Carroll-Bradd, Jacqueline Diamond, Debra Holland, and Patricia Thayer on Writing a Sucessful Series.

What’s up next?

The July 8th meeting features Book Genie, Jeanne Da Vita, as well as the chance to pick the brains of OCC’s stellar authors. You can also practice your pitch for this year’s RWA National conference in late July in Orlando. All meeting details can be found here.