Monday, February 15, 2010

What I Learned at LTUE

Last post, I talked a little about my LTUE experience, but not many specifics. Here are the specifics, but in a bit of a list format so hopefully it's easy to read.

First, a list of some of the panels/lectures (mostly panels) I attended, just so you know what sort of things we're talking about here:
  • Fantasy without magic

  • Mormons in Horror

  • Defining YA Lit

  • Putting Romance into Fantasy

  • Abnormal Psychology

  • Zombies!

  • Building Different Cultures

  • Regional Publishers

  • Writing a Good Blog

  • Edgy YA

I also went to:

  • a Brandon Sanderson reading where he read from The Way of Kings (out later this year,) and from the next Alcatraz.... funny funny stuff.

  • a James Dashner reading where he read from The Scorch Trials.... wow.

  • Brandon Sanderson's keynote address, about a subject that makes we want to devote a whole post to it... stay tuned

  • Nathan Hale's keynote address, where despite the technical difficulties he faced, had us all on the edge of our seats anyway, and where I learned I need to hang out more on his website.

  • live recording of two Writing Excuses podcast episodes.... and where we laughed so much our faces hurt (the first episode is up, you can listen to it here.)

  • a Brandon Sanderson book signing, where I got Warbreaker signed with "My Breath to yours," and a picture, AND an invite to send him a link to the reviews I've done on his books. Cool.

Things I WANTED to go to but couldn't fit in:

  • Ghost hunting!

  • How to write a story that Rocks

  • Who influenced me as a writer?

  • Believable child characters

  • A guy's take on romance

  • Current trends in YA

  • Pre-mortal romance in Twilight

... just to name a few. Sheesh, for a FREE symposium, there's really a lot here. And like I said before, most of it is geared toward aspiring writers, but I'm finding that the discussion generally goes in a direction that is very much fascinating to avid readers.

So, if I take a look at my notes, here's a few random tidbits that pop out as things I want to remember:

  • Fantasy is a story about something that is impossible, but not necessarily needing magic.

  • Science can be the magic in a fantasy book, and thus we have the blurring of the genres.

  • What is "slipstream"? The mash up of all sorts of genres!

  • Magic defined: Certain laws of physics that do not exist in our universe.

  • Science fiction defined: making use of laws of physics that COULD exist in our universe.

  • A Lee Allred quote: Science fiction is things that COULD be, Fantasy is things that could NEVER be, and Horror is things that SHOULD never be.

  • Three degrees of horror according to Stephen King: Highest degree is called terror where there is a slight change going on but you don't know what it is, middle degree is called horror where you have monsters that you can see, lowest degree is called the gross out where you have blood and guts. He tries to aim for the highest degree.

  • Zombies represent: political statements, things we are scared of, the fear of the loss of control, chaos

  • Some authors use blogs to get the juices flowing and therefore write their blog first, others use it as a reward and only write their blog after writing, say, 1000 words on their project first.

  • Book blogs are becoming a strong force in the publishing industry! Blog tours are effective.

Other random things I learned:

  • I need to keep reading in the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

  • Own up to the fact I have a book blog... people actually think that's pretty cool.... especially people just breaking into the writing world

  • Use my Suey nickname, people remember it better than my real name.

  • If you ask for a picture with an author, even if no one else is taking pictures, they will probably be fine with the idea!

  • If you get certain authors in a room together, be prepared to laugh and laugh and laugh.

  • Zombies are a much deeper subject than I originally thought!

  • The subject of publishing vs. self-publishing can get very VERY intense!

  • Brandon Sanderson is an interesting speaker, even if he thinks he didn't prepare anything at all.
  • I really really want to get my hands on a copy of I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells! :)

  • Time flies when you are talking about science fiction and fantasy!

This symposium has been going on for 28 years now and this is only the third year I've gone to it. Where was I all those other years? The things I've missed! I had a blast and can't wait for next year.

So... what do you think? Does it sound like something you'd love too? Or does it sound like something that is much too much on the nerdy scale for you?


  1. Thanks for the recap! I really need to make it down there one of these years. I only heard about it last year or the year before, but it's a tricky time of year for me to get time off to go. Still, now that I know how cool it is, maybe I'll try harder next year.

  2. I wanted to go to a few things this year, but it just didn't work out.

    I'm impressed with how much you managed to do!!

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  4. There was a whole lot of YA discussion it seems. I'm going to have to see what posts are out there (including yours!) on those panels.

    Sounds like this was really and interesting and educational event. I'm shocked it was free!

  5. I intended to go to a few panels, but ended up only getting one - the beginnings of YA/Sci-fi in children's lit. It was pretty interesting (though, since it was taught by a librarian, I may be biased). Sounds like you saw a LOT more than I did :) Maybe next year I'll get to more!

  6. A bit of good news: the 12 part video recording of the HOW TO WRITE A STORY THAT ROCKS presentation should be up on my site by the end of next week. So you don't have to miss it after all :)

  7. Nikki: I hope you do get to go one of these times.

    Britt: Maybe next year for you too?

    Michelle 1: Maybe you'll come with me next year? With Julie too?

    Michelle 2: They LOVE to debate the YA issues at this thing!

    Melissa: I didn't get to go to that one, it was during work for me. Here's hoping for next year for you too!

    John: Cool! I will check it out for sure. And I hope to get my hands on your book one of these days soon too. Looks great.



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