Monday, May 20, 2013

Pics & Advice from LDStorymakers

I'm still recovering from the awesomeness that was LDStorymakers a few days ago. Does one need to recover from awesomeness? Why yes they do. Storymakers is a three-day (if you do the bootcamp on Thursday) writers' conference that is packed from morning till evening with workshops, classes, a keynote speaker, and designated times for mingling (meals, signings, etc.). It's a concentrated splurge of education and networking with other writers. There were about 450 in attendance this year, including top-notch agents and editors from around the country. This conference was important in catapulting my writing career to the next level last year, and it continues to be worthwhile to me. Plus, I got to hang out with so many writer friends! Below are some highlights (writing advice and photos) from the conference.

With my CPs--Robin Hall, Ilima Todd and Emily Prusso

Writing advice from agent Hannah Bowman: Look for the relationship between the internal and external conflict in every scene. If there is no relationship, can you create one?

Adams Lit Agency sisters:
Me, Kimberley Griffiths Little and Sara B. Larson

Writing advice from editor Victoria Curran: What does your character risk in loving someone else? The secret to building romantic tension is why two characters shouldn't be together.

Sara B. Larson, Jacqui Scott, Erin Summerill,
me and Renee Collins

 Writing advice from author Traci Abramson: Make sure the middle book in a trilogy is necessary. Some resolution is critical for a satisfying read and for readers to want more.

Lending our freakish support to Jenn Johannson (top R)
for her soon-to-be released novel, INSOMNIA

Writing advice from author Janette Rallison: A character's goal becomes the story problem (Can Harry defeat Voldemort?). If you don't have a defined goal, it's very hard to have a great climactic moment.

With one of my lovely CPs, Emily R. King

Writing advice from author Anne Perry: A person usually spends two weeks reading a book. Do you want to spend your own time with a character who whines and mopes? A main character needs to have redeeming qualities. They need to show compassion to other people. A little bit of humor also helps a lot. We want to root for characters to overcome and to have hope at the end of a story because we want hope in our own lives.

Me with the phenomenal
and inspirational Anne Perry

More thoughts from author Anne Perry: A book is your letter to mankind. What is the most beautiful image to you? Share those things with people. Share your love, your faith, your doubt. Put your heart on the page, what gives you hope, what hurts you. What lies in your heart is precious. What is priceless to you?

Me with my super cute and fun friend, Jessie Humphries

Writing advice from agent Hannah Bowman: The point of a first chapter is to draw you into a premise. It's like a short story. At the end the conflict is worked out, but a complication is introduced to propel the rest of the story.

Love my friend, Kate Coursey.
We've decided this is our year!

Writing advice from editor Victoria Curran: In 99% of submissions she sees, authors motivate their characters, but don't let them act. Her advice is to let them make mistakes, and then fight to redeem themselves. Your reader will enjoy your story more if the motivations and actions are true--even if your character makes mistakes.

After-conference dinner with a ton of writer friends (L to R):
Nichole Giles, Elana Johnson, Jenn Johannson, Renee Collins,
Sara Raasch, Kate Coursey, Ilima Todd, Jenilyn Collins,
Shalee McArthur, Jennifer Jenkins, Jacqui Scott, David West,
and (not-pictured) Sara B. Larson, who had to leave early.

Writing advice from author Janette Rallison: Conflict is not the same as arguing or random bad things happening. The problem needs to be larger than that. Any conflict that can be cleared up with a two-minute frank conversation between two characters is not real conflict.

This is the face of pure joy.
My CP Emily Prusso joked that she
would quit writing if she didn't win
a door prize. Luckily on the last day
of the conference, she did. A sign! ;-)

Last bit of writing advice from author Anne Perry: We are seeking truth. We want to know who we are. We want to understand. This is why we have always told stories. Good writing is communication. Great writing is relatively simple. We are here [in this life] to learn to empathize with as many people as possible. Reading allows us more of this. Make sure your stories carry the power and passion you want them to. Simplify, cut, expound your stories until they do.