Day 1 of my little pied-à-terre has come to an end. What a day!
It started very early for me driving up to Layton, a city I don’t believe I have ever spent a day in in all the years I’ve lived in Utah.
It’s hard for me to get started in the morning with my insomnia issues but I made it out the door and to the convention center in time for the first lecture.
Lecture 1- Creating Compelling Villains by Stephanie Black.
I went to this class thinking of my first nanowrimo book that has a Miranda Priestly type villain (Devil Wears Prada) .
I think I was probably the only one there not writing young adult fiction (I bet 2/3rds of attendees are writing YA, yawn)
Nevertheless, I took some good notes and enjoyed it.
Lecture 2- Show Don’t Tell- the Macro and Micro Way by Annette Lyon
This was very helpful and something I’ve been working on. I’m trying to not just say I’m excited but show how the excitement looked.
Lunch- Honestly the food was not great. Who makes a ham sandwich with no lettuce? But my friend from my little writing group was there and I had fun visiting with her and the other attendees
Lecture 3- Giving and Receiving Feedback by Rosalyn Eves
Very helpful class as I can be a bit prideful when it comes to my writing and hearing feedback. I’ve gotten better each year but some things are harder to hear than others.
I learned the difference between directive (blank praise or criticism) and facilitating comments (Tells you problem but also some ideas to fix it). Some good strategies to provide both types of comments.
Lecture 4- How to Read like a Writer by Luisa Perkins
This teacher reminded me of my Mom. I think they would get along quite well. She talked about reading the books that change your life not settling for the candy.
Love this quote “If you do not read good books you have no advantage over the people who cannot read them” Mark Twain
Her words reminded me of a symposium I went to a few years ago where the teacher kept saying ‘at least the kids are reading’, but reading candy books.
I disagreed then and I disagree now. We have a responsibility to at least try to elevate the level of reading for all around us and only then can we say ‘at least they are reading’.
The other interesting thing she mentioned is that she doesn’t have time for candy books because if she lives to 90 she has about 3500 books left to read in her lifetime.
This made me think. If I live to be as old as my grandpa (84) and I read 35 books a year (I have goal for 1 non-fiction and 1 fiction each month but I think it is usually around 35).
So 35 books 51 years left= 1785 books left.
Isn’t that kind of nuts? We ended the class with her saying ‘better make them count!’.
Lecture 5- Dissecting Jane by Sarah Eden
This was such a fun class. We went through all the Jane Austen heroines and stories, dissecting why they have stood the test of time. Why do they work?
Some reasons we discussed is how she allowed her characters to have real strengths and weaknesses and those traits had consequences.
Her characters also had choices that moves the stories along. Always something likable or relatable about the characters.
She wrote about things she knew and was passionate about.
Lecture 6- Mormonism and Steampunk
This was definitely the most creative lecture but I enjoyed it. Jules Verne, Conan Doyle both had Mormonism (although not always the most flatteringly) in their stories and they have influenced the movement.
It is set in neo-Victorian era and that is when the Mormon church started. He had some entertaining slides about the similarities even down to crafts
Then we had dinner and it really wasn’t very good. Tough meat, bland sauces, not enough food and apple pie with a strawberry on top?
Still, it’s food. What are you going to do?
Then we had the keynote and it was…different. Orson Scott Card was the speaker and a lot of people were very excited. I’ve read Enders Game and Sariah and enjoyed them but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan.
Sadly most left disappointed. He rambled, was admittedly unprepared and some statements were baffling. He kept making very broad generalizations about the church, saying boy scouts was the church’s attempt to get boys to stop learning and that basketball replaced books for young men.
He said that the church had no use for academics and that any intellectuals were relegated to putting away chairs. He also talked about swearing, defecating, phallic symbols in awards, and stake presidents were often idiots. He also clearly hates the movie made of his book (and any covers) and has strong feelings about The Hunger Games.
Anyway, it was a bit of a bummer but he did say that being a Mormon was more important than anything else and that a dedication to family is all that really matters in life. No writing will make up for that, so I’m trying to take that away from it.
At the very least he should know his audience. It doesn’t make much sense to speak to a room of 643 LDS intellectuals about how the church doesn’t treat intellectuals very well. He should have just stuck to writing. He oddly didn’t talk about that all that much. Sigh…My teacher for the Jane Austen class evidently walked out. I have pretty thick skin so was able to glean something from it and not let it spoil the day, but I feel bad for his fans. One tweeted ‘never meet your heroes…’
I did enjoy tweeting during it (it was long and honestly I got bored and my back hurt). Probably my best line of the night was: