A couple of weekends back, Mickey and I held a workshop with the All In! Young Writers’ Festival. While we merely touched the surface of what Speculative Fiction and storytelling was, we also conducted an exercise taught to us during our Mentor Access Project (MAP) Retreat.
It was introduced to us as workshopping.
Before you apply this to your own storytelling, you will need:
It’ll be good if your friends have already read your entire draft / abstract before coming for the session for context.
(Note: It’ll be good if you’re able to bring someone with some background in storytelling, writing, or creating in the group as well, just to give perspective from a commercial point-of-view)
As a setup, have everyone sitting within earshot of each other, preferably in a circle. Then you start:
READ YOUR WORK
First, read your work. No one else is to interrupt or ask questions. Whether you’re just there to help with feedback or are waiting for your turn to share your stories, just listen to the story as it’s being told. At the same time, be clear with your reading – don’t rush over your words.
LISTEN TO FEEDBACK
After you’re done reading, everyone gives their feedback one-by-one, starting from the person directly on the left or right of the storyteller.
The most important aspect of this stage is this – Listen to the feedback without any interruptions.
This stage is to simulate a reader reading your book on their own. Realistically, such cases won’t allow either the author or other readers to intervene with feedback and opinions. For the most constructive feedback, it’s best to let each person say their piece before going on to the next person.
(Note: It’ll also help to craft your feedback to be balanced – talk about what you were not sure about, but also mention what you liked about the piece. This is not praise for praise’s sake, but this can help provide the author with a direction on what to enhance and keep in the story.)
This is when you get to ask your readers any pertinent questions or discuss any pressing concerns you have about your work.
Commonly, authors tend to ask about (but not limited to) the following topics:
Regardless, it’s your story, it’ll be good if you enter the session with an idea of what you’d like to get out of this workshopping session.
At the end of the session, take the notes you’ve gathered and go over them again.
Decide the direction of your story while keeping the feedback you’ve received in mind, especially feedback that has been repeated over the workshopping session.
Now that you have a good stack of notes, make full use of the feedback and polish your story further!
The Workshopping technique was taught to us by Man Asia Winner, Miguel Syjuco. You can find out more about him and his works here.
Comic Fiesta, Anime Festival Asia, PopCon Asia, Singapore Toys, Games, and Comics Convention, Game Start, Illustration Arts Fest… the list can go on.
While all these conventions celebrate stories told across various mediums and forms, they also recognize the importance of the independent creator. With so many new faces and names coming out in the storytelling scene (comics, writing, games etc…), organizers are seeing an increasing uptake of booth registrations for events featuring a corner for independent creators.
Yet, the first booth experience can be both exhilarating and disappointing, especially when we’re not prepared. So here are a few pointers from registration to booth-owning.
Once you decide that you’d like to sell your works on a specific platform, make sure you’re following them on their various channels – Facebook, Twitter, the main website, etc… Many event organizers announce their calls for booth artists / creators way in advance. Comic Fiesta (held in Dec) calls for booths in July or August. STGCC (held in Aug / Sept) have a list of artists they invite to their Artists’ Alley. This is on top of the fact that artists can also write in to request for booths.
Keep their schedules in mind – no one has the time or energy to listen to you declaring that your work will bring the crowd to the event if you cannot even be bothered to respect deadlines or the staff helping you.
(Yes, there are event staff that have questionable attitudes too, but that will be another post.)
So yay! You managed to go through the reviewing process and get a booth. Now what?
The Tiger and my checklists for booth preparation includes three main things:
If you’re able, you can digitize your stock tracking / sales sheet on Google Drive so there won’t be any pesky mental math involved while giving change.
Regardless, take care of your stock, present your booth well, and take care of yourself.
This is possibly the most important pointer in my book.
It’s very tempting to fall prey to impossible math – where we think that we’ll make a killing just because we’ve got a booth at an event with high foot traffic, and a high concentration of people who’d most likely love your products. Most of these booths are screened for quality, right? And I’ve been putting my work online every day for the past six months or so. My number of likes on Facebook has reached three figures – My stuff will fly from the shelves!
Not so fast.
Yes, there are cases where one or two artists are picked up from the convention scene, but these cases happen once for every few hundred or so creators.
Factors contributing to a great booth experience at an event have little to do with good sales or pure recognition. From what I’ve observed, a good attitude brings about a better experience. Whether it’s your first event ever or in another location, I’d recommend concentrating on the following instead of just sales:
I hope this post was helpful to everyone who’s reading this! Do leave your tips for other booth owners in the comments, I’d love to hear from all of you.
It has only been a couple of months and I feel like I’ve been using this planner for way longer. Thanks to sites like iheartorganizing, the Hobonichi Users Group (on Facebook), and various users on Instagram and Pinterest, my Cousin is shaping up to something I’m glad to have in my life day after day.
The yearly and monthly pages remain the same as they did when I wrote about it in my previous #Hobonichi365 post. Most of my changes, however, were made after compiling a list of post-mortem pointers after using the planner in January.
What really helped was removing financial information and moving my focus of the day to purely the upper right corner, where the To-Do squares are. Fewer things to worry about, greater focus.
Speaking in terms of a greater focus, the Tiger introduced this method to me while I was having a huge guilt trip about doing so much but still not moving. What I used to do was to assign different personal projects to different days – with the intent of focussing on just one thing as much as possible a day.
However, that induced a lot of guilt if I felt tired or sick on that day.
So having a few major points like these help with goal and process-tracking – and that, in turn, helps with personal To-Dos for each week and each day.
Bonus Pages: Collections – Projects
Another great incident which happened within these couple of months was how my good friend, Mintea, got a Hobonichi Cousin as well. Inspired by her talking about trying to fit a Collections page into her own planner, I decided to give it a try as well.
And I think I’ve found a new way to track and limit the amount of creative projects I can take in a year.
So that’s 54 days into #hobonichi365. I’m excited to see how the rest of the year will be like =)
My sanctuary of creative organisation, arts management, and planners.