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)


  1. Those are basically the things I took from the conference, but you summed it up so much better than I could. Great to see you this weekend.

  2. Hey, you guys. I was there, too! I met Elana Johnson and Clint Johnson, and I can't count how many times Brandon Sanderson walked by me in the hallway. I wish I had seen both of you. The conference was fun and I learned some great things, but I wish there weren't so many panels. Then again, it was free. :) I did love Dan Wells' class on structure. Are you two going to StoryMakers in April?

  3. I agree! Dan Well's class was amazing! I took a half a notebook of notes on it.

    Jen you did a great job of describing the conference! I didn't make it to all the same classes you did, so it is good to hear what happened. (I don't know Klingon language either. I'd be a little scared too!) =)

    Great post Jen, thanks.

  4. I found your blog over at Shooting Stars! Love it, it's so cute!! I can't wait to start checking your blog daily!

  5. You did a great job summing up the conference!! I really enjoyed meeting you at the dinner Fri. night.

  6. hey, did you attend the "Thousand names for Sand" class? (or that's close to what it was called). If so, can i borrow your notes??


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