Tuesday, February 14, 2012


First of all, a few things:

1. Fellow PUSH Novel Contest winner Anna Waggener is having a giveaway over at her blog for three ARCS of her debut novel, GRIM! GRIM won the 2008 Scholastic Awards and from what I hear (there was buzz during my internship at Scholastic last summer) the book is awesome. It comes out in June, so go enter and support Anna!

2. I did a guest post on the PUSH Novel Contest over at Teens Can Write Too, a blog by and for teenage authors. If you're interested in the PUSH Novel Contest, or if you're just bored (I hang around the blogosphere a lot when I'm bored) you should check it out.

3. Congrats to my CP, BWB, and business partner-in-crime Taryn, who recently signed with Vickie Motter! Taryn's an amazing writer (we're almost the same age...woohoo!) and her novel, BEGGING TO BREATHE, is fantastic.

This past weekend I attended LTUE at Utah Valley University, a symposium for sci-fi and fantasy. It was awesome and I had a great time hanging out with my critique partners, Melanie and Celesta. I also got to see David Powers King and other bloggy people. Fun!

Since I don't really feel like doing an in-depth post, I thought I'd list a few random things that struck me from the panels I attended. Writers give such great advice! So without further ado, here are a few bits and pieces I picked up from the presenters.

1. Your protagonist should always be proactive. For instance, if you have a villain in your novel, and the villain has an evil plan, the protagonist's goal shouldn't just be to thwart the villain. They should have their own desires and plans that in some way counteract the villain's. In other words, make your main character proactive rather than reactive.

2. Avoid deus ex machina. For those of you who aren't familiar with the phrase, a deus ex machina is basically a copout way for a character to solve a problem. Let's say your main character gets captured. Things aren't looking good. Then, an older, wiser, and far more adept character shows up to rescue them, and they get out of the situation unscathed. This is a deus ex machina because the protagonist didn't have to solve their own problem. Not that characters can't be rescued at times, but if your book includes multiple situations such as this you may have a problem.

3. Everything should have a consequence. This was my main issue with the final Twilight book: I felt there were no real consequences. Everything turned out fine. Nobody was heartbroken, or injured, or dead. This is a large-scale example, but even on a small scale everything in your story should somehow change the main character's situation in a way that impacts the overall story development.

4. Don't give your characters stupid names. Need I say more?

5. When you're at conferences, try to utilize the buddy system. It's easier to have a friend introduce you to someone new than to introduce yourself. As a writer it's important to make networking connections at every conference you attend.

6. While networking, talk less about yourself and ask more questions about the other person.

7. Don't be rude.

8. Never give up. The single most cliched piece of advice ever given.

9. Don't freak out editors/authors/agents by being creepy.

10. Okay now I'm just listing random things because I can't think of anything else and I really wanted a list of 10.

Yay. There you have it. Did anyone else attend LTUE? How was it? Awesome? Stupendous? Life-changing? I want to hear about it!


  1. " the protagonist's goal shouldn't just be to thwart the villain." -- THANK YOU. I'm pretty sure this is one of the biggest problems with my current WIP. *sits down to puzzle out the MC's goals*

    And, actually, COULD you say more about #4? What names do you define as 'stupid'? Obviously not Az'zzksquillf'end etc... Or Renesmee.
    But I write fantasy and science fiction, which means other worlds, which in my mind means 'made up names'. Where do you draw the line between 'original' and 'stupid'?

  2. Sounds like you had an awesome time. I love the list. Gives plenty to think about for sure.

  3. Sounds like LTUE was awesome :) I wish I could have gonhe, bad too bad for me I live half the world away ...

    I loved your points, especially number one and two (not that ten wasn't awesome also). That's some really great advice about proactive protagonists and deus ex machina. Thanks!

  4. My favorite part was when L.E. Modesitt, Jr. told us that there are only 3 editors who like what he writes. Three! But there are a lot more readers who like what he writes. Thus, he's had a long and distinguished career. Hearing him say that helped me believe for the first time that it really is about finding the right agent and editor. And just because one doesn't like what I write, it doesn't mean everyone else will feel the same way. I think the little devil on my shoulder exploded when I heard that because she has been mysteriously quiet ever since.
    But the best part was definitely getting to hang out with the coolest people on the planet!

  5. I love the 'everything should have a consequence'. It's so true! And I think a lot of times we forget that there are GOOD consequences as well. Maybe something unexpectantly good will come out of our characters actions... :)

  6. This is a great list. And it was nice to meet you face to face at LTUE. I had a good time at the conference too.

  7. That is exactly what I felt about the end of Twilight! It still drives me nuts. (P.S. Hi from the campaign too :) )

  8. Tag, you're it! You've been tagged in a game of 11 Questions being passed around by the Platform-Building campaigners. You can pick up your questions at this link: http://inklinedwriters.blogspot.com/2012/02/11-questions.html
    ~Sarah F.

  9. Don't be rude? Don't creep people out? I THINK WE WENT TO THE SAME PANEL on not acting like social outcasts! It was pretty funny :)

    I'm impressed with your progress as a writer. Go girl!

  10. Glad to read about your experiences (and thanks for the shout-out). I seriously should have gone to that "don't be rude and creepy" panel. Hopefully I'll get to see more panels next time. :)

    Great seeing you there!

  11. I should try going to a conference, but I don't know where any are held nearby. And really I'm nervous since I'm so young, but nothing ventured nothing gained right?

  12. Great tips! I'm stopping by from the campaign and am enjoying your blog posts. Nice to meet you!