Janet Sumner Johnson
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Gems from LDStorymakers Conference

May

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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Infiltrated by Gremlins*

Nov

29, 2012 |

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gbbbnmmgjkkkkkkkkkkkkkllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

UPDATE:

A certain gremlin* kept me up last night, and I made the mistake of falling asleep on the couch today while my computer was still running. I know I should erase the message the gremlin* left on my blog (surely scolding me for sleeping when I should be paying attention to said gremlin*), but the post and the comments I woke up to made me laugh so hard, I couldn’t do it.

Instead, take this as a warning. Gremlins are about!

 *3-year old

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Who Needs Sleep?

Jan

22, 2010 |

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So our darling angel-by-day transforms into a shrieking stinker by night. (Sounds a lot like Shrek to me.) With both London and Brandt, I could sleep through the cries, no problem. But Khyah’s little wail just strikes me in the depth of my bosom and I jerk out of sleep like a Mexican jumping bean (and those things are real, in case anyone wondered).

I have been Little Miss Grumpy Pants all week, and soon, I feel certain my brain will enter shut-down mode to preserve what little battery I have left. And then where will I be?

So, in desperation, I am going to let her cry it out. Multiple sources tell me I need to let her cry it out. I need to put my foot down about midnight snacks. She can sleep 8 hours in a stretch and all this should only take 3 days.

We never did this with the boys because London would throw-up which I couldn’t deal with (that and his daddy’s a big softy), and Brandt was always a pretty good sleeper—he doesn’t take naps . . . but at least he sleeps at night.

So, all you experts out there . . . what did you do to get your baby to sleep through the night? Any suggestions? Coping strategies? Name of the store you bought earplugs? Because I’m having visions of white coats and white walls while I shriek to anyone who’ll listen: “SLEEP?! I DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ SLEEP! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!” (You’ll have to make the laugh sound as maniacal as you can in your own imagination.)

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