LTUE, Day One

Well, I survived day one of LTUE 31, the annual science fiction and fantasy writers symposium sponsored by BYU. I’m exhausted, but it was a good day. What did I learn?

  1. There are a stinkin’ lot of people hoping to become writers. There were at least 150 people in every class, and probably around six classes per time slot on average. At first that was discouraging, but I got used to it. I mean, all those people have been out there all along, right? I just more evidence of that now. Nothing has changed, really. I’ll either make it, or I won’t.
  2. The Writing Excuses podcasts are a great resource. I’m not saying LTUE is a waste of time or anything, but much of what was covered today has been covered by the Writing Excuses gang at some point or another, and covered about as well in a 15-20 minute podcast as is covered in a 50 minute class. Nevertheless, it never hurts to hear it presented from a different perspective.
  3. Be flexible. Before I went I marked all the classes I wanted to take. That list changed as I went through the day and found that some of the panelists and lecturers were worthy of more attention once I found out more about them. I ended up changing up my list so as to get in to hear some different speakers than I had planned. I also had to change my list at least once when one of the rooms filled up more quickly than expected and they couldn’t fit any more in without running afoul of the fire marshal.
  4. They don’t give you any breaks. Ever. So just admit you won’t be able to see everything you’d like and take a break anyway. It was 3 pm before I hit a slot where I didn’t have any specific presentations I wanted to see. That as far too long to wait to eat.
  5. I need to talk to people. I’m an introvert, so being among that many people drains me. But one-on-one conversations energize me. I should take a little time to speak to my fellow attendees. When I did that in one of the late afternoon classes I found my energy returning.
  6. After three days of this I’ll be happy to return to work. I’m enjoying this immensely, but I was there for ten hours today, and it only gets longer. I’m not as young as I used to be.

What were some of the highlights?

  1. Michaelbrent Collings. The guy has an interesting sense of humor. Almost he convinceth me to read horror. He also backs up the humor with solid advice.
  2. Deren Hansen. He has some good insights on writing, and a different way of approaching it. He’s written a series of books on writing I may have to check out.
  3. This exchange: “You realize we carry around in our pocket or purse more computing power than was used to put a man on the moon?” “And we use it to throw birds at pigs.”
  4. As authors we are con artists. Our job is to find the core of truth so as to sell the bigger lie.
  5. Other writers also struggle with finding time to be creative. And life continually shifts, causing them to have to adjust their process and move on.
  6. No matter whether we self-publish or get a publishing contract, we will need to do marketing.

Some low-lights:

  1. No air conditioning. It’s not the heat, it’s the humanity.
  2. No breaks. Even half an hour here or there would be nice.
  3. Too many options to choose from.

But seriously, I’m enjoying it. It’s a good experience. I just hope I can keep up with the pace. I may need to adjust my approach, too, as I don’t think I’m yet getting the networking benefits I could be from this. Time to roll up my sleeves and change things up a bit.