LDStorymakers in Review

11244904_10205537467848961_7298393372357348081_nI survived the writing conference. I know it was a good one because I didn’t want to leave and return to real life, which is my litmus test of choice when evaluating an event. While I can wish all I want for more, that would be selfish. There are little monsters angel babies at home that miss their momma.

Of all the conferences I’ve attended, this one comes close to being the best. Local writing celebrities and NYT Bestsellers came and taught some of their delicious trade secrets, including James Dashner, author of the Mazerunner series; J Scott Savage, author of the FarWorld series; Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series; and several more.

By far the most influential class I attended was a two-hour intensive by the effervescent and talented Margie Lawson, a psychiatrist by trade, and a guru of teaching the art of making mundane prose sing. She made a personal study of the best books out there and boiled out the different literary devices that made the reader feel that much desired emotional punch. Then she shared those juicy tidbits with us!

The two keynotes were from celebrated authors Anne Perry and Martine Leavitt who both emphasized the importance of perseverance and also spoke about how writing is a gift to the writer. Both addresses fed and enriched the audience.

Perhaps the most important part of any conference is the feeling of being with your tribe. Fellow writers and geeks are my tribe and being able to spend a weekend with hundreds of them is the equivalent of gassing up the motivational tank. They share the same struggles and frustrations as I do as well as the joys. They know exactly what a big deal it is for a publisher to request a full, they know what a crushing defeat it is to receive a rejection. They understand how to talk about stories and characters in a deep meaningful way.  They make it hard to come back to the real world where the people around you don’t.

With these new tools under my belt, and my tank full, I’m hoping to embark on a new level of writing and find even more joy and success in doing so. That is if my little angel baby (who is currently bashing his head against my leg) will permit me to do so.

Live From LDStorymakers

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This weekend is the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference in Utah and writers from around the midwest and further have congregated in brute force. Over 600 of us are milling around the Utah Valley Convention Center attending lectures and intensive workshops to improve our craft.

Last night I attended a Publication Primer workshop, which is six hours of combing through the first 10 pages of  the manuscripts of the members of your table finding ways to make prose stronger (and more likely to be picked up by an agent or publisher). My table was moderated by the talented Amy Winehouse of Eschler Editing.

I’ve already brushed shoulders with writing super star and NY Time Bestseller David Farland, we shared an elevator on the way out.

Should you happen to be at the conference come find me and say hi! I’ll be wearing a grey fedora.

Expect a full report on Monday!

I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend and will give a full report on Monday.

Writing Update – May 2015

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted an update so here we are.  I’m excited to say that I finally finished the current draft of my epic fantasy, Stonebearer’s Betrayal. This draft has been long in coming, over a year, and it feels so good to finally be seeing a finished product.

The next step is to put the final polish on the chapters and send them off to a few trusted beta readers. I have to be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve let anyone see anything more than a scene or two and I’m a little scared about the feedback I might get. At the same time, it’s super exciting to know that I’ve gotten this far.

I did sneak in a little short fiction writing for a contest that one of my local writing groups hosted. I’m proud to say that my flash fiction piece, This is my Destiny, won first place in its category.  I wanted to try my hand at a historical fiction piece with a speculative fiction twist for another anthology but it didn’t come together. There are a few other deadlines in the future that I’d like to prepare pieces for, but for the most part I think I will focus on my novel.

LUWOC first chapt 2015 certThe next big thing is the LDStorymakers Conference in two weeks. I have a chapter entered in to the first chapter contest, which again scares the crap out of me. I’d love to win, validation is always a good thing. I will also attend the intense Publication Primer where a professional editor will ream my first 10 pages to shreds along with the other four people in my group. It’s the best way to grow as a writer, but man it can be rough. It takes thick skin and lots of perspective to be able to not take things personally.

Hopefully by the next update in a few months I’ll have my initial beta feedback on my novel and will be well into the final editing process and then  – gasp! – it’s time to start sending it out! EEEK!

Until then, happy reading!

Writing Update February 2015

51-BE6kx1PLThe last six months have been a strange mix of writing for fun and writing that feels like work.  I sold my first piece of short fiction BREATH, which led to several weeks spent in working with a professional editor.  By the way, if you ever want to know the truth about what your writing weaknesses are, a good editor will have no problem in telling you.

With any publication there comes marketing, which for me included conducting several interviews and also being interviewed.  It also involved creating author accounts on Amazon and Goodreads.  As fun at it is, all these things take up valuable time.

MechanizedMasterpiecesThe success of my first story kicked off a crazy desire to try again, so I spent several weeks writing and polishing a steampunk story to submit. Having never written steampunk before, this was a huge learning experience for me.  I had fun writing it, but in the end it was rejected.  Disheartening?  Yes. Life shaking? No. I know where I went wrong, and now I have a story that with a bit more work, I can brush it and try again.

Fast forward to the last few weeks, I’ve decided to enter the first chapter of my book-in-progress in the LDStorymakers Writing Conference first chapter contest. I swear I’ve rewritten this opening chapter at least five times.  This time, I finally feel like I have the right characterisations and the right tone.  Hopefully the judges will agree.

Next on the docket – a contest entry for one of my writing chapters. I have the choice of short story, flash fiction, first chapter, or poetry.  The due date is next week, so I better get hopping!

Want to read what I’ve been working on? Check out these links: