Yay! My first writing conference ever! I mentioned it briefly a few weeks ago and now that I’m back from Mexico, I thought I’d give you guys a rundown of what went on during the conference!
They were a long two days, but worth it! I ended up having a ton of fun and learning so much! Both my Friday and my Saturday were filled with classes all day and though it was utterly exhausting, I enjoyed it very much!
LDStorymakers, unsurprisingly, is very much catered toward the LDS community. Of course, you can attend even if you’re not LDS (I’m not and I was fine! :)) and you definitely shouldn’t let the fact that it’s LDS majority scare you off! There are a lot of great authors attending, in addition to editors and agents!
The best thing about it is that you are literally surrounded by writers! It was so awesome! I don’t know about anyone else, but I am a really private person. Like really. Absolutely no one–no one–outside of my family and my CPs/writer friends knows that I write. And I do keep it that way on purpose, because for me, writing is really personal and it’s just for me.
So it was beyond cool to be able to mingle with people who are ALL writers who I could talk with about writing! And to my (wonderful) surprise, most of the writers I met turned out to be YA writers, which I loved! And by the way, everyone I met was so so nice! Everyone was really friendly and it was so easy to just start talking with someone, which was great, because I was a little bit nervous going in without knowing anybody! :)) I took a bunch of classes and learned soooo much! There were lots of great people presenting and teaching–most of which whom were authors–but agents, too!
So here were some of my favorites that I went to!
Jennifer Nielsen (Author of The Ascendance Trilogy, The Mark of the Thief, A Night Divided)
Sorry, bad picture, but here’s Jennifer Nielsen, talking about how to be an unhappy writer!
I went to Jennifer Nielsen’s How to Craft a Page Turner session! This was hands down my FAVORITE class that I took! And Jennifer Nielsen is hands down THE BEST/MY FAVORITE teacher! She is so good! She’s a wonderful teacher who really knows what she’s doing (she used to be a speech/debate teacher!) while still being entertaining! She has a really clear presentation and does such a great job of staying focused on what we’re talking about. She uses great clear examples that illustrates her point and she knows how to teach! She’s clearly really smart and she has really great thought-out points that make so much sense!
She talked about the elements that are needed when you want to craft a page-turner, such as wringing for emotion, time limits, always increasing the stakes/raising the tension, important elements for heroes vs. villains, etc… It was a two hour class, but it went by so quickly! I literally just want to listen to her talk forever!!
And I just wanted to mention kind of an epiphany/realization thing I had in her class! Jennifer Nielsen talked about how readers are very forgiving about a lot of character flaws–such as arrogance, vanity (Celaena Sardothien, anyone?); rashness, impulsiveness, cruelty, etc–as well as character mistakes–like how we forgive Harry for being responsible for Sirius’s death (I literally teared up when she used that example). But the one thing a reader cannot forgive in a character is stupidity. Characters must be proactive and they have to be smart.
I never thought about this before, but once she said it, it was so clear! Like (this is Jennifer’s example) in horror movies, when a girl is out in a haunted house by herself; she hears a chainsaw and actually turns toward it and goes to meet her death. And you’re screaming at the girl the entire time because it doesn’t make any sense to go toward the chainsaw! You’re thinking RUN AWAY! and so it’s so frustrating to watch when the girl does the exact opposite! And you don’t really feel sorry for her either when she gets cut up by the chainsaw or whatnot because you’re thinking: She deserved it! However horrible that is, it’s true, because she made a decision–a stupid decision–to walk toward that chainsaw instead of running away.
Anyways, that was one of the biggest things that I took away from the conference! It was just such an amazing realization for me and I’m still stunned about how simple a concept that is, but how true it is!
Ugh, LOVE HER! Her class was so much fun, so much learning! If you ever get the chance to take a class from her or anything, I really really recommend it! You will learn so much and have the best time ever, too! I’m only regretting that I didn’t record her presentation, cause I’d really like to hear it again!
Because Jennifer Nielsen was so awesome, I ended up going to her Motivation presentation later on as well! Speaking of which, it was equally beautiful! Same sort of deal: You get to learn so much! A lot of insight on what it’s like to be a writer, how things are hard for everyone, every level of the publishing industry, and how to deal with all that!
She mentioned Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement speech as a must-watch! So, of course, I did! And here’s the link below in case you want to see it as well!! Definitely really really great to watch!
And here is a commencement speech from JK Rowling about Failure that I really love–it’s the one that got made into a book–Very Good Lives. (This also makes me tear up–ugh, JK Rowling!)
Thanks for reading, guys!! I’ll have Part 2 up soon–like next weekish, if not sooner– (because apparently I can’t keep things short!) 😀