Monday, May 25, 2015

Gems from LDStorymakers Conference

Last weekend I went to LDStorymakers writing conference. I went with a critique partner and I got to meet my agent which was pretty awesome (!!!). And I should totally have a picture of this momentous occasion, but I don't. I'm like the worst ever at remembering to take pictures. In fact, I didn't even take one picture during the whole conference. I know, right??? I guess I was just too busy soaking in all the writerly Karma of the place. :)

The thing I love best about writing conferences is that they help me remember why I love writing in the first place. And they help me remember all those things that make my writing better.

I don't want to re-hash everything I learned because one, that would be boring, and two, that would be copyright infringement. However, I did want to share a couple of gems.

FIRST: You may laugh at this one, but I said a big AMEN!  Peggy Eddleman gave a class on getting your writing mojo back. One point she made is that as writers, we seem to think we earn the writer's badge by missing sleep. We stay up late. Work off of two hours sleep. And somehow this is a bragging point. Well it's not. WE NEED SLEEP TO FUNCTION. Obviously everyone is different and we all need different amounts of sleep. But skipping sleep is not doing ourselves any favors!

So, don't be afraid to go to bed on-time to get a full night's sleep. Then you will be refreshed and ready to tackle a new day and fresh ideas. [And no, we won't talk about the irony of the fact that I am staying up late to write this.]

SECOND: I attended a class by Chad Morris and Brandon Mull about the 3 parts that make an awesome story idea. While there was lots of good stuff, the gem I got was that every trouble needs a payoff. That may sound obvious. But I needed the reminder. I can't just make my characters go through hard things and expect my readers to enjoy that. There has to be a moment that makes it all worth it. Both to the character and the reader.

And THIRD: This one came from a class on Description by Sarah Eden. We talked about all kinds of things, but one piece of advice that stuck out was this: Never interrupt your own story! Well, duh. Except I do this! Description should be organic, and if it disrupts the flow, then you've done it wrong.

I know. None of this stuff is new and exciting. But amazingly, what I need from conferences is not new and exciting info. What I need is a reminder (preferably in a not boring way) of all the things I know, but have forgotten.

When's the last time you went to a conference? And what do you get out of them?


Chris Phillips said...

I sleep write. The ideas are great and free flowing, but the editing takes like forever.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have never attended a conference, but the more I hear about this one, the more I want to attend it. Guess I should really look into Storymakers for next year!

Slamdunk said...

Yea for Peggy and the sleep recommendation. I sacrifice sleep too often, and it certainly can dent creativity. I have found that even a good night's sleep every few days can do wonders for generating ideas the next day.

I hope you had a nice holiday weekend, Janet.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Oh, no! Yet another blog person who went to Storymakers and we didn't meet up! Maybe next year. It was a wonderful conference, so I definitely want to go back.

Also, how cool that you got to meet your agent there! I saw my agent, Suzie, there, too. It was so much fun! After all of our emails and phone conversations it was wonderful to finally see each other in person.

Oh! And we were both in Peggy's class on getting your mojo back. SUCH a great class! (Can you tell I keep reading your post, then coming back to make a comment because I can't help myself, then go back to reading, then come back with more comments?) Anyway, that class was exactly what we needed after a full day of filling up our brains with information. Just pure inspiration.

I heard Chad Morris and Brandon Mull's class was excellent. So glad you enjoyed it! And I love that tip about every trouble needing a payoff. SO TRUE. Now I want to look through all my books again to make sure I followed that advice.

And, finally, Sarah Eden's class sounded terrific, too. I was in an intensive then, and loving it, but I did read a lot of tweets from Sarah's class afterward and felt a vague missing-out feeling because of that. Then again, the conference had so much going on that it would be impossible to do everything.

Enjoy the rest of your week and happy writing!