Blog Contest!

It's not my contest, it's my friend Elana's. But it's so fabulous, I just had to share.

Okay, so that's not exactly true. I agonized. Do I share the news and risk others reading my blog and entering and lowering my chances of winning? Or do I keep it to myself and lose 5 points toward my entry?

In the end, I decided to take the 5 points to better my chances of winning. :-D

The reason this contest is so fabulous is because if you're among the top 5 winners, a real live literary agent will read your query letter and review it on their blog.

I know!

So, hop on over to Elana's blog, and enter to win. Oh, and you could also possibly win a free copy of Elana's ebook, From the Query to the Call, or even -- and maybe I should have said this first because it's so rad -- some huge post-it notes!

And if you don't win, go ahead and buy Elana's book anyway. It's a great book, and your purchase also buys you a free query review from the master queryer herself, the fabulous Elana Johnson.

Writing Science Fiction

I'm writing a Sci-Fi story set in the year 2190. It's been so much fun to work on because, really, almost anything goes.

Right now, the story is quite technology-driven. In building my world, I'm constantly asking myself how today's technology might evolve throughout all those years. What will cars be like? What will fashions be like? Etc.

So when I get an idea of, say, the transportation system, I have to make my characters go somewhere so I can write about it. In order to make it really interesting, though, they have to be going somewhere important. It has to move the story forward. As I'm writing, I know my critique group is going to nail me if they're just going on a joyride for no real reason.

So far, between the basic story idea I have, the rough synopsis I was forced to write last year, and the technology I've been able to come up with, I've managed to push the story through to a certain point. But I keep getting stuck. What's going to happen next? How exactly is this all going to work out?

So, at LTUE this past weekend, I got some more ideas, and I'm fleshing more story out with even more detail and cool extrapolation of what the world will be like so far in the future. Unfortunately, I still don't really know what's supposed to /happen./ This has always been my biggest problem in writing.

Any ideas? :o)

A Few Tasty Tidbits

I spent quite a bit of time this weekend at LTUE. I do have to admit that not every moment was pure revelation, inspiration, or even, well, consciousness. But it was still a great conference.

Here are just a few of the things I picked up from some of my favorite classes for you to taste test:

1 - If you want to write a strong character, they have to MAKE DECISIONS.

2 - When writing young children, their thoughts shouldn't be far different from their words. If they think you're weird, they will say, "You're weird." If an adult thinks you're weird, they'll say, "Nice to see you again."

3 - Don't think that just because you didn't like a book that it's crud. It's okay to like something someone else hated, and it's okay to hate something someone else likes.

4 - Science Fiction and Fantasy are hopeful, optimistic genres. They demonstrate clear lines between good and evil, and that good triumphs over evil.

5 - Readers don't want to read about how Washington REALLY works. If it's too close to reality, it's boring.

6 - In Fantasy, you can deal with hard topics and more edgy material head-on without it affecting your readers as much because the whole world is fake, so they don't feel as much danger of it happening to them.

7 - By using fairy tales in your writing (either retellings, or even just using an icon like a glass slipper), you can evoke a lot of meaning and reaction in the reader with much less words, because they already know the story.

8 - And last but not least, everyone who came before Columbus was NOT an idiot, and they didn't believe the Earth was flat! In fact, they were the smart ones and Columbus was the idiot. He was just lucky America was here or they all would have died out there in the ocean because the world was too big for their food supply. :o) I actually knew this about Columbus already, but it's so interesting. Brandon Sanderson was talking about this in the context of blowing apart our perceptions. 90% of SF&F books are not crud, as is sometimes believed, just like the people in Columbus's time weren't idiots.

9 - Oh, and of course, it's a little scary to be in a room full of people who all know the Klingon language on sight. :-D

And, that's it. It's not everything I learned, but it's a few of the things that struck me as the most interesting and/or thought-provoking. :o)