Janet Sumner Johnson
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Brandon Mull

Gems from LDStorymakers Conference


25, 2015 |

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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?

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Your Audience Reluctantly Speaks


07, 2011 |

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Today, my self-proclaimed 26-year-old nephew (read that as 14-year-old) will share his views on what makes a good book.

It may have been more or less like pulling teeth to get him to write this. But since I said pretty please with sugar on top, he caved. What can I say? I’m the cool aunt. Okay, okay. The almost-as-cool-as-their-other-aunt aunt. Aunt. And one more for good measure, aunt. Sounds totally weird now, doesn’t it?

Okay, enough fun. On to the wise words of my nephew, a.k.a. Zeke:

The kind of books I enjoy to read are the kind that have lots of fantasy and action. They need to have some realistic characteristics. One of my favorites is “FABLEHAVEN” by Brandon Mull.  His series is very good and enjoyable, they are easy to get into and to continue reading them. Sometimes it is hard to stop reading, and you end up reading two or three more chapters than you wanted to.

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