I learned lots of different things at LTUE this past week, despite having gone for the past several years and attending some of the same class sessions and panels before.
It was awesome to hang with some other writers and to make new writer friends.
So, what did I learn?
It was reaffirmed to me that I need to really commit myself. I’ve let job and teaching be my excuse for not writing every day. That needs to stop. I am making a goal, right now, of finishing my tree.love book this year by writing for at least an hour per day (probably at work during lunch), six days per week. Another goal is to write 2 new short stories and to keep submitting old and new ones this year. My ultimate goal is to be writing full-time by 2015.
Speaking of which, I learned a lot about how to structure short stories. I’ve had a hard time figuring out how to end a story. I figured that I was just more cut out for novel-length writing. While most of my ideas do tend to run to longer works, I just was too influenced by the literary sensibilities of short story writing (which doesn’t work well when writing genre fiction).
I thought Dan Wells’ session on How to Scare People was especially awesome. I am not planning on writing horror, but I do want to build more suspense into my novel. I liked the idea of “waiting for the other shoe to drop” in story-telling (from the story about the guy whose upstairs neighbor would always drop both shoes loudly on the floor at night until one night when only one is heard).
Paul Genesse had some great sessions too. One was about hard science concepts and how to present them (presented with Eric James Stone). I liked the idea that Quantum Mechanics equals magic! I was stuck a bit in my novel about how to handle the engine, and the stuff they talked about helped point me in a good direction to solving the problem. Paul also had a nice discussion about the importance of using character as your starting point and plot seed.
The session on Dystopia helped me classify my novel better.
Marketing and Promotion was completely made of awesome! I’ll have to post more about that later. Bree Despain is an amazing marketer – very impressive. I bought her book because I was so impressed.
I learned about the value of music with writing. In the past I’ve not listened to music, for various reasons. But I want to start using some of the ideas to see how things go. It seems to be working well for Stephanie Meyer.
The Romance versus Story with Romantic Elements was very helpful in getting me thinking about those parts of my novel and how to improve the character relationships and the sexual tension.
I haven’t really thought about sequels, but they brought up some great points that I definitely need to consider.
Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland) had a great session about Editing and Revising. Some of what he talked about will be on a to-be-released-episode of Writing Excuses. I especially appreciated the idea of doing a triage edit first.
John Brown’s Lessons from the Hunger Games gave me lots of stuff to think about with that series, especially considering my initial reaction to the story.
And so much more.
I’ll get stuff up here within the next week to share some other lessons and to be more specific about how I want to apply what I’ve learned.