So day 2 has come and gone at the LDS Storymakers conference and it perhaps wasn’t as memorable as yesterday but still great.
The first class was on Prepping for Nanowrimo- by John Waverly and Danyelle Ferguson.
They had some cute ideas and were an adorable couple. A lot of it the advice was more tailored to a family but I just liked seeing them interact.
They went over the different styles- planning vs pantsers and how to deal with Thanksgiving which is helpful. I’m really excited about my idea for this next Nanowrimo. It’s going to be called:
How to be Alone- isn’t that a good title? At least I’d be intrigued.
I liked that he said ‘give yourself permission to stink. Point of Nanowrimo is not to publish but to write. Get it on the page’. Love that.
Writing Great Short Stories- by Angie Lofthouse
To be honest the class I wanted to go to was full so I went to this and it wasn’t bad. A little dry but fine. She talked abotu what a short stories was and how the action had to start right away.
- Never begin your short story with backstory (begin with the action)
- Don’t start before the beginning of the story. Start with inciting incidents.
- Don’t use someone else’s world and characters
- Don’t worry about length of story when writing first draft
A lot of the classes I took today were more technical in nature and I think I enjoy the lighter one’s like the class on Jane Austen. Next year I’m going to take more of those kind of classes.
Gesture Crutches- by Jordan McCollum
Jordan seems super cute and information was helpful but honestly I struggled to stay awake and my computer died half way through so I don’t have a ton of notes.
Basically if we use too many of the same adjectives and verbs to describe our characters it gets old quick.
Words to use when needed but not in excess
Nod, head shake, smile, eyebrows, shrug, eyes narrow, widen, light up and gaze
Basically avoid cliches and using the same words too much.
Next was lunch and it was blah, very disorganized by the hotel staff. The food was not great at this event.
The rest of the conference was a lecture by
Crafting Character Arcs- Brandon Sanderson
It was probably the best lecture of the conference and it lasted 2 hours but the time flew by.
It’s kind of funny because way back in 2005 I knew Brandon. He was roommates with a bunch of my friends and we would go over there to watch Lost every week.
At the time he was getting ready to release his first book Elantris and he asked me to read it, so I did. I’m normally not much into fantasy but I enjoyed. If only I’d known I’d have gotten it autographed. 🙂
Anyway, Lost connection aside his lecture was great. I think he did what everyone was hoping OSC would do yesterday. He talked about characters needing:
1. Proactive- character makes choices
2. Competent- character is good at something
3. Sympathetic- has flaws and consequences we feel some sympathy for
Sometimes it is very little of one trait or the other but almost always some of each.
He also said “you want someone to be able to pick up your book, read a page, and be able to tell something about your character”
The last half of the lecture he did a Q and A and a lot of great advice about when to move on from a project, when to kill of a darling passage or scene, outlining vs starting raw, and how many projects to start at once.
He said “My biggest weakness was my unwillingness to revise. Had to learn in order to make characters alive give characters veto power over the outline”
I really liked how he talked about the promises you make your reader:
“Ask yourself how do I remain consistent to the promises I’ve made my readers so that my ending is fulfilling not out of nowhere?” (Couldn’t help but think of How I Met Your Mother on that one…sigh)
Key to keeping promises is defining what they are along the way.
There was a lot more information but that was some of the highlights. He is very engaging and funny so if you ever get a chance to hear him speak or lecture I’d recommend it.
Then we finished up with closing remarks and I had tickets to the banquet tonight but my back was hurting and as I hadn’t read any of the nominees this year I didn’t think the awards would be very much fun. Instead I went to my hotel room, ordered room service and relaxed. Tomorrow I think I will go for a swim and then head out.
Perfect weekend! It inspired me to take a look at my nanowrimo projects and try to make them better and to work harder on this blog. I focused a lot on storytelling and hopefully you will see that in this blog. Hopefully you will see some improvement in my writing. That’s the goal at least.
Thanks for reading and thank you to all who worked hard to make the conference a success. I look forward to next year!