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)