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The Year of Dreaming Bigger and Reaching Higher

I’ve been quiet for a while, at least on my blog.  I’m more active on Twitter and Facebook because they’re a much shorter format.  (And you can find both off to the right-hand side!)

But this past weekend I attended the Life, The Universe, and Everything writing symposium again.  Those of you that have followed me for a while know that this is one of the biggest highlights of my writing year.   I’m still processing it all.  But as always, I will have plenty to say about it once that processing is done.  🙂

But the biggest, best thing I got out of it this year is a renewed confidence in my talent, skill, and ability to be an up-and-coming professional.  And because of LTUE, I know what the theme for 2015 is meant to be.

2015 is the Year of Dreaming Bigger and Reaching Higher.

This year, I believe in me.  This year, I believe in taking everything that the previous years have given me, and applying it to making something incredible of my life.  This year is the one where I build the foundation that will allow me to quit my day job next year and write full time.  And this year is the one where my life finally becomes everything that I want it to be, not what everyone else around me says it should be.


LTUE 32: Saturday

Saturday, 15 Feb. 2014- Sessions Attended

  • Who Influenced Me As a Writer- Holli Anderson, Tom Carr, Jessica Day George, L.E. Modesitt Jr., Peter Orullian, with Eric Swedin moderating
  • Wrapping Things Up-  Bree Despain, Megan Hutchins, Janci Patterson, Brandon Sanderson, Michael Young, with Chad Morris moderating
  • Reading: Janci Patterson
  • Verisimilitude: How Illusions, Confidence Games, and Skillful Lying Can Improve Your Fiction-  Presentation by Deren Hansen
  • Banquet- with Toastmaster Brandon Sanderson


Best points picked up from Who Influenced Me:

  • Read outside your genre, and read people who are doing things well
  • Learn to be your own best critic
  • Know the difference between valid criticism and internet traffic-seekers
  • If you don’t like the book in the first five pages, don’t waste your time

Best points from Wrapping Things Up:

  • If you can’t end your story well, what’s the point?
  • Fulfill your promises
  • Make your ending make sense
  • It is okay to have something besides a happy ending- as long as there is sense to it
  • Ending doesn’t have to be good in the first draft
  • Don’t get obsessed with the “perfect” ending
  • Always listen to what your beta readers still want to know at the end
  • Don’t force it
  • Always answer the narrative question

Best Points from Verisimilitude:

  • How well does the story create the illusion of reality?
  • The art of illusion is directing the reader’s attention
  • In late, out early
  • Sustain the illusion- don’t jar people out of it with incompetent wordsmithing or botched details

Overall, had a blast, got a lot of good things out of it.  Looking forward to LTUE 33 in February of next year.  And if I’m lucky, I might even get to present a paper of my own.  We’ll see….

LTUE 32: Friday

Doing the last of my LTUE summaries instead of talking about the craft this week and next week, because they are quite a bit about the writing craft.  It’s one of the reasons I love LTUE as much as I do.

Friday, 14 Feb. 2014- Sessions Attended

  • Reading: Sandra Tayler
  • Query Workshop
  • Writing Fantasy: Using Words to Build Worlds-  A paper presented by Douglas Whittaker (a good friend of mine, yay!)
  • The Rules for Writing Magic- John Brown, Al Carlisle, Teri Hartman, Brandon Sanderson, Natalie Whipple, with Emily Martha Sorensen moderating
  • Mass Autograph Signing

Best points picked up from Sandra Tayler’s reading:

  • It’s okay to treat yourself kindly.
  • It’s okay to do your own thing.
  • It’s okay to pursue a life of creativity.

Best points picked up from the query workshop:

  • You have three sentences or less to grab attention.
  • Watch out for wordiness.
  • Use the RIGHT words.
  • Have a really clear idea of what you’re pitching!

Best points picked up from Using Words to Build Words:

  • World building is what separates speculative fiction from all other genres.
  • Conflict is what makes writing into a story (Dan Wells).
  • Iceberg theory: Show 10% of what you’ve built, but know the other 90%.
  • Geography affects the way culture and society develops.

Best points from The Rules for Writing Magic:

  • “Been done before” doesn’t mean anything- be creative.
  • A story with great characters and weak magic will sustain better than strong magic and weak characters.
  • Set your rules early on.
  • Maintain consistency.
  • Know your limitations (geography, cost, genetics, range, etc.).
  • Know the purpose of your magic (scale of sense of wonder to plot tool).
  • Magic should be grounded in reality.
  • Magic should be AWESOME.
  • Focus on one thing and dig in deep- have a deep system rather than a wide one.
  • What does magic teach us about ourselves and our worlds?


LTUE 32: Thursday

All right.  Long overdue summary of LTUE that went on hold because of hiatus.  As always, I learned a lot from the experience.   I waited too long to be able  to remember everything I wanted to touch on, I think, but I also took very good notes (16 pages for Thursday alone…).   That should help me reconstruct some of the points I wanted to talk about.   Warning, this is a list-heavy post.

Thursday, 13 Feb. 2014- Sessions Attended:  (more…)

LTUE 32: A Brief Summary

Life, the Universe, and Everything 32 was pretty awesome.  I really enjoyed the panels that I attended.  Some felt like refresher courses in things I already knew about writing (which is not a bad thing), some were informative, and others, like the readings I attended, were simply fun.  In between, I got to do some networking and hang out with cool people.   Right now I’m just going to tell you which panels and presentations I went to.  Later I’m going to touch on some of the things I got out of each day that were most relevant to me.  


Home from LTUE


That is all.

Seriously, though, I just got home from Life, the Universe, and Everything.  I got a lot of good ideas, got to attend some pretty good panels, met some pretty awesome people and renewed connections with other awesome people I met last year.    Yes, I had a couple of fangirl moments, but I think I managed to mostly keep them to myself instead of making a fool of myself.

I have a lot to process.

And that processing might include setting projects aside for new ones.  It definitely includes a spark that I hope turns into a blaze of motivation that will get me back into university.  There’s a lot to do in order to make that happen, but now that I finally know what I want my degree in, instead of spinning my wheels majoring in changing majors, it’s time to go do it.  (That will be a post of its own because I have a lot to say on the matter.)

Right now I’m still in overloaded-brain mode, but tomorrow I’m not going to be able to get out of bed.   I overdid my physical limits a little and the fibromyalgia is letting me know it.   Tomorrow sounds like a very good day to get some blogging done, yes?


Life, the Universe, and Everything 32 is this weekend.  I’m excited.  I’ll be heading out here in a few minutes.

I’ll probably be tweeting more than blogging over the next few days (not that this is anything new) but I guarantee that I’m going to have a lot of racing thoughts and good ideas.

And maybe next year I can be a participant and not just an attendee, right?

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