Although it's been around for years, this was my first time attending the writers symposium, Life the Universe and Everything (aka LTUE) at BYU in Utah.
And I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in some panel discussions. The first one I was in the hot seat for was "Mormons and Fantasy"- why the explosion of mormon writers in fantasy? Brandon Sanderson sat on one side of me and Lisa Mangum on the other. It was an interesting conversation. Although Brandon made many fantastic points, my come-away thought to ponder was that the LDS population is education oriented and that probably has a lot of influence on the fact that there are so many readers and writers in that genre.
The more I considered that concept, the more I agree with it. Education plays such an important role in influencing people to stretch their minds on a broader horizon. It's a powerful idea to consider.
I always figured people who read my book were smarter than the average person ;)
I attended other panels and came away with new ideas to ponder.
*What is the surprise element in the new technology you developed for your story?
*Edgy YA is dealing with problems head-on in an honest way, but yes, it can be other things too.
*Publishers put the ISBN number on your book that will help it sell. This ISBN thing is way more complicated than I ever realized.
*The best ideas are compounds- multiple ideas that have bonded together to make a completely new element.
*There are no rules. I mean, yes, there are rules, but broken rules sell too.
*Write from your heart. Write what you're passionate about- that is what makes a good story.
*There's not a right way or wrong way to go about writing a book, and it might be different every time you try.
*Some people actually diagram every single sentence in their novel. Said people haven't published a book.... yet. It would take me approximately 100 years to diagram every single sentence in my novels.
*For all their talent and success, every single author and artist I met was incredibly nice, normal and perfectly human.
*Almost everyone wears jeans to the LTUE. Who knew?
I had a great time, met some wonderful people and will absolutely be going back next year. I thought everyone was especially friendly and it seemed to me that complete strangers had no problem sharing handshakes and hugs. Wow. I love you guys. Thanks to last week I have dozens of faces to put with names and I know the people in my writing community a little bit better now.