Thoughts on LTUE 2106

It’s been nine years now since I discovered this little gem of a writing conference, and I haven’t missed it since. It’s an amazing deal and so much fun… even if I can’t seem to get my writing (or bookish) friends to go with me!

My writing resolve has suffered pretty much since I wrote the enthusiastic post about how great I was going to do this year. I’ve been feeling guilty ever since. I was hoping this conference would kick start the enthusiasm, but so far, it hasn’t.

Not to say it wasn’t great, because it was. Just to say that I’m not feeling the writing thing at the moment and that makes me all sorts of crazy sad.

Anyway, here are a few highlights from the event:


  • watching two hours straight of six episodes of Writing Excuses. I got tired sitting there, but my brain was engaged the whole time. Subjects they talked about: fashion in writing, the question of wonder, environment in writing, self-publishing, how to get the great ideas, and etc. It was awesome all around.
  • Shannon Hale’s keynote speech about gender bias when it comes to books and reading and how boys should have the choice to read and like any book, the same as girls do. It was passionate and powerful.
  • Kevin J. Andersen’s keynote speech about how it’s important to just jump right in and get your hands in all sorts of projects. I loved the stories he told about his friendship with the band Rush and how he wrote many of his books inspired by their music. So awesome.
  • I tend to enjoy the one person presentations over the panels. I went to presentations about tips on productivity, how to write horror, techniques to show more and tell less. I feel like in presentations I take a ton of notes whereas in panels I just listen and absorb.
  • some stuff I starred: come up with a sentence memorable elevator pitch hook, think of an event and go back ten steps answering “why” and go forward ten steps answering “what if,” all writing is telling but we need to show by giving the reader triggers to feel stuff, cliches work if you do them right….
  • the program was printed wrong which made me miss the panel on finding your tribe, which is something I really need to do. So that made me sad. I was hoping they’d say something really enlightening that I hadn’t thought of that would make all the difference.
And a few pictures:
Brandon Sanderson, Lee Modesitt, and Mary Robinette Kowal


Dan Wells and Howard Taylor


Shannon Hale


Kevin J. Anderson


Learning about the future.
Anyway, it was a great time as usual and I look forward to next year already!

Writing is Freaking Hard but Conferences are Freaking Fun!

The other day I went to a one-day writing conference. This one sponsored by the less than a year old United Authors Association (UAA.) This was their very first conference and those in charge did a fine and fabulous job! I was extremely impressed and loved every minute of it.

Also, it didn’t hurt that I’d brought my friend Jayne along. She’s just jumping into the writing adventure with her first attempt at Nano coming up this week. She saw the ads for this UAA conference and actually said to me, “Hey, let’s go!” I was thrilled!

We went to six presentations, all of them wonderful. But the one that left me feeling most concerned, to put it mildly, was Julie Daines‘ class on showing and not telling (or why writing is freaking hard!) This is obviously where I have the most trouble. She actually critiqued a chapter of mine a few months ago at UVW meeting and her comments have helped me a ton in my revising of late. So I wanted to go to her class to get it all solidified and to hear it all again.

Everything was great except for these two statements:

“Never name an emotion.”

“Only use two visceral actions per chapter.”

You see, I’m afraid I can’t do this! These two statements make me feel like this writing thing is impossible and not for me! And I totally GET what these statements are saying, but I just don’t know HOW to do it! I guess, it’s all about practice and I’m determined to discover the secret that is writing without telling AND without showing using visceral actions. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I will figure out the whole metaphor secret one day too.

Other classes I enjoyed:

John Brown‘s story structure presentation where we plotted out the points and parts of a story in a new way that made it so clear and easy to grasp.

Callie Stoker‘s thoughts on the differences between plotting and pantsing. And even if you pants, what sort of things does one need to know before writing? (She insisted that you need to know the end even if you’re pantsing and I was like.. really?) She listed out all the different ways you can approach plotting and there are many.

Jordan McCollum‘s class on POV and voice. I’m starting to worry that I have one voice and one voice only. Here’s hoping I can find some more for all the stories in my head.

Charlie Holmberg‘s presentation on world building. I don’t usually think I’m the sort that enjoys this, but the book I want to write for Nano coming up in a week requires some (a lot) of world building, so this class was a great kick start for all the things I need to think up. But it overwhelmed me and makes my head spin.

And finally, Ali Cross talked to us about fight scenes. I hope to have a few in this Nano book too. We’ll see if I learned anything from Ali, yes?

Anyway. Fun stuff are these conferences. I was glad one popped up this month because I’ve been having withdrawals. Can’t wait for the new year when they all seem to start happening again!