Two weeks ago, I loaded my car with writing buddies and drove to Provo for LTUE. Standing for Life, the Universe, and Everything, LTUE is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror writer's conference. It's a good refresher and a great motivator, since I got a ton of writing out after the conference was over.
Through no fault of the panelists, the conference suffered this year. You see, last year it took place at a college campus, and this year it was in a hotel. The hotel had uncomfortable chairs, there weren't enough spaces to get into a couple of panels I was interested in, and at one point it got so stuffy and hot that I got anxious (claustrophobic) and had to step out.
But of course, there were some fantastic panels and lectures that made up for it. Some of my favorite notes from this year's LTUE:
- Lies are all about truth. In order to lie effectively, you must understand the truth.
- Respect your readers--if you call attention to something, it needs to have some significance--it needs to be seen again.
- The reader should not see you.
- Any time you give numbers, make sure they add up!
- Author is short for Authority.
- If you don't know something, don't try to cover it up. ("How does it work?" Don't pretend that you do. Say, "I dunno.")
- Internal consistency is most obvious when you don't have it.
- If you're pantsing, the first draft is your outline.
- The prop in a fight has to be right for the time and person. (Teenage girl with a longsword? ...No.)
- Too many details in an action scene slows the pace.
- Every fight has consequences.
- Sometimes we get too close to our characters to see the problem.
- Let characters create themselves. Let them speak.
- Every word in your book needs to have a job. If it doesn't have one, give it one or get rid of it.