Priming the pump, gassing the engine, greasing the wheels; what ever metaphor you choose, every author knows what it's like to need a jump start when in a slump. I can't think of a better to get one than to attend a well run, well rounded, professional writer's convention where authors learn new concepts, are reminded of things they already know, and are encouraged by presenters and attenders alike to hone their craft.
LDStorymakers recent convention (see http://ldstorymakers.com/) for photos and reviews) hit the mark on all categories. The available classes ranged from beginner level to 2 hour master classes that engaged and informed us. Classes I attended that were eye-openers were "Researching and Writing Credible Historical Fiction" by LC Lewis, "Creating Your Character Bible" by J. Scott Savage and Deanne Blackhurst, "The Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling," Larry Brooks, and "Building Author/Editor Relationships That Build Careers" with Kirk Shaw.
LC Lewis (laurielclewis.com) took us neophyte researchers on a guided tour of what to research for a historic setting, how to do it, and how to document the results. This class was so informative that I would like to see it made into a master class next year including a list of the most helpful research sites compiled by participating authors.
Classes by Scott Savage (http://www.jeffreysavage.com/) are always a delight and we were swept along by his enthusiasm not to mention the huge amount of insight he give on creating three dimension characters, protagonist and antagonist as well secondary characters and walk-ons. Doing the exercises in his class led me to a slew of new discoveries about the main character of my next book. I thought I knew her. I know her so much better now. Thanks Scott and Deanne.
Larry Brooks( http://storyfix.com/)brought a highly structured interpretation of storytelling to his masters class. The thirsty left side of my brain sucked up the information like a clean sponge just out of the clothes dryer. Since my approach to just about everything is random abstract, I was surprised and pleased when the revelation of seeing the writing process from Larry's point of view unexpectedly created a blue print in my brain like the pigeon holes in an old post office. The storylines and character developments that have been floating around aimlessly in my head suddenly have a destination and are happily filing themselve where they belongs even as I write this blog. Fabjous day indeed!
As the youngest and least experienced writer in our trio of writing partners I have often bemoaned being the low dog on the totem pole when it came to writer/editor relationships. Kirk Shaw's ( http://firstname.lastname@example.org )class was a clear call to be proactive in developing the an appropriate healthy relationship with any future editors I work with. I appreciated his explanation of what editors in today's market can and cannot do. Thanks for the insights, Kirk.
The best critique for the conference came from a friend who was attending for the first time in preparation for writing her first historical novel based on ten years of research. She was so excited and energized by the classes the first day she wanted to skip the second and get on with her writing. Wisely she held to the course and got full benefit from her attendance. As a university teacher of LDS literature she was also very impressed the the large variety of works available by LDS authors in the bookstore.
So hats off to all the fine folks who made the convention such a rousing success! The experience gave me the information I needed as well as the encouragement to pursue my next writing project. You did a fantastic job. I am already looking forward to next year.