Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend Life, The Universe, and Everything, a sci-fi/fantasy symposium that's held every year in Utah. This was the first time I've ever been to LTUE, and it was the first time I've ever been to a writing conference of any kind.
It was awesome.
Besides getting to be with friends and others who share my passion for writing, I was enthralled by the authors and editors who shared their wisdom freely. With all this information--some new, some repeated--my creative side soaked up enough confidence to speak to one of the presenters at the end. Tough stuff for me; you know how I am with verbal communication.
My husband is doing a full-on summary of each class we attended over on his blog, so I won't go into it like he did. Instead, let me present to you the words that affected me the most, from all three days. Here's what I got out of LTUE.
- If it sucks, don't put it in. If you don't enjoy it, no one will.
- People have imagination; don't over-complicate.
- Learn as much as you can for what you're writing about--but you don't have to be an expert. (None of you have ever fought a dragon.)
- Languages don't differ in what they can express. Languages differ in what they must express.
- As far as editing goes, recognizing a problem and fixing it is much more important than memorizing names like "gerund" and "dangling participle".
- Don't rely on coincidence to save the day. Have your characters use their brains.
- Take everything others say with a grain of salt. Trust your gut over your ear.
- Never sacrifice what you want most for what you want most at the moment.
- When speaking to an audience, speak as if you're talking to the person at the back of the room.
- The narrator is a character, even if they're unnamed.
- Pay close attention to the geographical distance between your character and their destination, and have them meet that within a reasonable amount of time. (Don't make your horses run 100 miles every day with a rider and pack--they'll die.)
- Everyone has a belief system. Even the atheist believes in something: that there is no god.
- Science and religion do not necessarily conflict. Science tries to explain how. Religion tries to explain why.
- It's important to connect the beginning of a book to the end.
- A plot has a main character, a noble goal, obstacles, and successes and failures.
- Your appearance is part of your social presence.
- Create something that represents you.
- Have your ideal reader in mind.
These are the things that impressed me the most.
I'm so glad I had the opportunity to attend LTUE. I had the best three exhausting days since... well, this was the highlight of the year so far... but I intend to have many more great adventures in the near future.
PS. If any of you went to LTUE this year, I'd love to hear what impressed you!