Posts Tagged With: inspiration

It’s YOUR Story – Part 2

Last November I wrote a section of my “What I Wish I’d Known” series concerning how, in the end, it’s your story.  Despite all the feedback you receive, the final decisions are yours.  The story is yours and yours alone.  Today, I’d like to talk about it some more.  We’ll call this “It’s YOUR Story – Part 2.”

We’ve all seen the writer who completely changes their entire manuscript every time someone provides any sort of feedback.  These are the sorts of writers who spend months and sometimes even years revising and revising until the novel and story they began with becomes so twisted and convoluted not even they know what’s happening anymore.  Some of us may even be that person.  Don’t get me wrong, revising is a good thing. Getting external feedback from others is a good thing.  In fact, I will go so far as to say they’re both NECESSARY THINGS.

But the story is still yours.

Just because you receive a suggestion, revision request, or negative criticism doesn’t mean you have to listen to it.  It doesn’t mean you have to change your manuscript.  There’s a skill every author needs to develop at some point in their career where they can determine for themselves what feedback is necessary to the story, and which is not.  It’s not a solid line of demarcation and is developed over a lifetime, but it’s a vital skill.  How does one balance the arrogance of saying it doesn’t need to be changed with the requisite humility to implement the actual needed changes and the wisdom to know which is which?


Frankly, all authors are a little arrogant at heart.  We have to be.  How else would we stare into the face of possible rejection and try anyway?  How else would we make the arrogant assumption that anything we write would want to be read and enjoyed by anyone other than ourselves?  Yet we make those assumptions, we try, we write, and we persist.

But in order to improve we have to be willing to change and do better.  That only comes through being humble enough to ask for and accept criticism and then figure out how to implement it and improve.  Does it sound hard?  Yes.  Why?

Because it IS hard.

Hard things, however, become easier with practice. If you remember nothing else, remember that.  Hard things become easier with practice.  They don’t become easy, just easier.  You’ll find that balance as you continue to write and practice your craft.  Don’t spend your whole life in an endless cycle of revisions and re-writes.  No novel is perfect, not even published ones.  If you’re getting lost in that cycle, end it by setting the project aside and writing something new.  You’ve got this, after all, it’s your story.  No one can tell it quite as well as you can.  Just remember that no one only has one story – keep writing and practicing until you’ve developed that skill to discern what feedback to take and what feedback to tastefully ignore.  It’s a vital skill, but one I’m confident all writers who are persistence in their craft can master.  You’ll do it.  Don’t worry.  It’s there within you.

Categories: What I Wish I'd Known, Writing/Editing Tips | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LTUE – My Favorite Writing Symposium

Today I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about the single most influential writing convention in my writing career to date.  Every year, a group of students and volunteers put together the Life, the Universe, & Everything Symposium at the Provo Marriott (this year it’s Feb 11-13th).  Specifically geared toward science fiction and fantasy, the LTUE Symposium was the first convention I ever attended and was the catalyst for me becoming a published author.  This year, I have the great privilege of being on several panels, but more on that later.

First, from the website, this is what the Symposium is all about, “Life, the Universe, & Everything: The Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy originated at Brigham Young University and has grown and changed a lot over the last thirty years. LTUE is a three-day academic symposium on all aspects of science fiction and fantasy. Comprised of panels, presentations and papers on writing, art, literature, film, gaming and other facets of speculative fiction, LTUE is a place to learn all about life, the universe, and everything else you love. The symposium is, most importantly, a gathering place for fans of our creative and innovative world to hang out and share their love of all things amazing, obscure, and even not-quite-real.” 

At only $50 for ALL THREE DAYS, you really can’t afford to miss it.  Such amazing and talented writers as Shannon Hale, Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia, Michaelbrent Collings, Johnny Worthen, and David Farland (Wolverton) teach classes and present on panels.  And STUDENTS are FREE!  Need a hotel room to stay at?  Reserve before Jan 18th and the room is only $99/night.

If you’ve never been to a writing conference before, come to this.  It is affordable and you’ll learn tons.  With classes every hour on the hour, you won’t ever have a moment where there’s not amazing, published, bestselling authors, artists, and fans from whom you can learn.  Everyone is kind, approachable, and you can talk to your favorite author in the hall if you find them with a free moment.  I can’t recommend LTUE enough.  Go!  You really really should!

Here’s my schedule for the convention:

Panel Name Day Time Room Other Panelists
Monsters, Fantasy, and Horror Fri 10:00 – 11:00 Cedar Michael R Collings, Michaelbrent Collings, Larry Correia, Jenn Johansson
Diving into the world of Terry Brooks Fri 1:00 – 2:00 Timpanogos Daniel Coleman, Ali Cross, Candace Thomas, Michael Young
Tectonics: When Plates Collide Fri 2:00 – 3:00 Cedar Derrick Duncan, Valerie Gardner, Josi Russell, Michael Young
Charismatic Villains Sat 10:00 – 11:00 Amphitheater Virginia Baker, D.J. Butler, David Farland, Craig Nybo



Categories: Events, LTUE Convention | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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