Responses to LUW Spring WOrkshop

(LUW means League of Utah Writers)

So, as treasurer for the League of Utah Writers – Utah Valley Chapter I should have had very little to do with the Spring Workshop. Well, that’s partially true. I had very little to do because I joined LUW at the end of March. But no, I had some tasks to do with the workshop. Not a lot, but some. One thing that was a little cool, I was in on the pre-show entertainment that no other member of the committe knew about. Teehee. Even if it did embarrass me. I’ll be trying to figure out how to post what I’m referring to later.

The other cool thing that I got to do was introduce Elana Johnson before she spoke to us. She knows a lot about query writing. Some things were opinionated, but all-in-all, Elana did give some great insights and useful information that I intend to employ with my next query write. I actually intend to purchase her eBook, From the Query to the Call, as soon as I feel like I want to really delve into query writing. Until then, I’m going to enjoy her self-centered awesome blog. But it was great to meet Elana before the workshop started and get to know how hilarious she is.

Before Elana’s presentation was John Cleaver’s Dan Wells’ presentation on the 7-step process. I’ve actually seen this presentation before and stepped out since Mary wanted to talk to me on the phone. But, I still learned something this second time around. Dan is ingenious at keeping people entertained while talking about something as boring awesome as writing a book. But seriously, reading “I Am Not a Serial Killer” is very scary fun. I mean, wow! It’s not the kind of book you’d expect to have come from a Mormon author. It’s funny how many people I’ve suggested this book to people and then when they learn he’s Mormon, they’re completely shocked. “A Mormon would write horror.”

I guess I’m going backwards here, so I’ll go on back to the presentation/workshop before Dan, which was Clint Johnson’s presentation on character viewpoints. He gave us four writing prompts to choose from and to write from a certain character viewpoint for ten minutes. I had no idea which one of the four to choose at first. Finally, I opted for one that was about an American woman in England, watching a parade, and the Queen of England trips. (Like the Queen is really going to be using her feet.) After we were done writing, four groups were created, one for each of the prompts. My group had two men in it (one was me.) The other guy in our group was originally from Scotland. And he had a thick Scottish accent with all the awesome jargon that is common over there. After I read my version of the prompt where the American chick is reluctantly visiting Manchester with her boyfriend, this guy said that he felt really there. I really don’t know why (as you’ll see when I put it up later this week.) Regardless, it was a great and honest compliment. But the coolest thing was, as I left the conference, this Scot…guy named Jeff…stopped me and said…well, I don’t recall what he started by saying. But he did say “you’ve got what it takes.” I thanked him for the compliment and went on my Mary-er-merry way.

So, I started with Elana, who was in the middle of the conference. Moving on, the speaker after Elana was Ben Behunin, a self-published author who has done fairly well for himself with his book. He told his story of self-publishing. But I was surprised that he stated how he hoped this publishing credit would help him get his foot in the door. It’s possible, but most agents don’t care whether or not your published nor that your book sold 5,000 or 20,000 copies. I’ve read this in my research of many agents. If the book you’re trying to sell to them is worth “their” time, they’ll buy it. Credits are good, but they prefer them not to be self-promoting. But, maybe it’ll help that he had a distributor. I don’t know.

I had to leave during the last presentation. I’m sad to have missed it, but was glad to get out of the room that had got to a million degrees by the time the first half hour of the workshop was over. I drank so much water, I’m sure people were expecting it to come out of my ears. It was an awesome workshop and if you’re into writing and didn’t attend, you missed out.

The other thing that was cool was the people I met that had things to say about my blog. One lady, Taffy, remarked how the Survivor: LDS Authors was a funny idea, but that the comments were actually funnier than the blog itself. Yeah, she’s right. I’m not that arrogant. The comments that the authors made in response to it were just as good, if not better than the blog itself. If you missed any of the great comments by the authors, check them out here. Also, it was cool to learn that Taffy is writing about alien abductions. (You’ll see why that’s cool at the end of this blog.) I had been to Taffy’s blog before the workshop. But it was in conversation that we figured out who one another was/were (I’ll have to ask which is correct.) But it was the guy who just flat out asked me if I’d written it. Believe me, I was shocked to meet this semi-total stranger who asked me if I was the author of the blog that got many LDS authors against one another.  Yeah, it was really cool though to have that random recognition.

Anyway, the workshop was awesome. Met a lot of cool people. I believe that I’ve passed that “I’m a fan and in awe of your awesomeness and can’t speak like a normal unnervous human being” to “Yeah, you’re awesome, but there’s nothing wrong with me.”

The most random thing that I learned about the conference: “Awesome” is a coined term that I need to use less. All the presenters used it at least twice and it was used by many of the presenters. I think Bill Engvall had a good concept with awesome. When you get the chance, look it up (I’m too tired to do that right now.) As always…

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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