Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LTUE Recap: Writers on Writing

Yes, I know. I suck at recapping. I've been back over a week and haven't shared hardly anything. I'm repenting right now.

One of the absolute best reasons to be a gopher at a conference is that you have the perfect excuse to meet all the awesome authors on the panels. So, naturally, I made sure I signed up for the Writers on Writing panel, featuring four really fuzzy guys:

Tracy Hickman, Brandon Sanderson, L.E. Modesitt, David Farland
Sorry. I guess my cell phone doesn't have the best camera.

Still, you know it's going to be a phenomenal panel when Brandon Sanderson declares that he's going to moderate because everyone else knows more than he does. I know, right?

So here's the highlights, left to right:

Tracy Hickman said:
  • Talent without discipline is a waste of air
  • You have not yet written your best work
  • Black Swan novels can't be engineered: they are an accident of the universe. He's more interested in the Craftsman Writer, who has consistent stories to tell, and can consistently produce work that changes and moves their audience.
  • After all this time in his writing career and all the apparent success, he still has obstacles he has to overcome. "You just have to rely on faith to get you through that."
  • Publishers need to realize that they’re not in the business of making books anymore: they are in the business of arbitrating quality.

Brandon Sanderson said:
  • Chasing trends is a bad idea unless you're really excited about the trend. If you're just chasing it, you'll write mediocre stories.
  • After failing to sell over and over again, Brandon looked at why he was writing: he wanted to get published, but had to ask himself how many books he’d write even if he never got published. He decided that he’d keep writing for the rest of his life, even if he never sold a book.

L.E. Modesitt said:
  • “If it doesn’t the hell say it, it doesn’t the hell say it”
  • If you're a novelist, BE a novelist: Don't try to cram novels into short stories
  • The editorial side of things is a lot more restrictive than the reading public: Stick with it, and there’s got to be somebody out there who likes what you do
  • Every writer with every book is in the hardest time: we are only as good as the last thing we published. Beyond that, readers want to be entertained, if they didn’t like your last book, they’ll let you know.

David Farland said:
  • Write for the love of it: if you have fun, you'll write better and longer
  • Story isn’t a bunch of unrelated incidents happening to a person, but you need to look at what the story is really saying: what characters do I need to express it?
  • His teachers in college wanted him to write literary fiction, to "let the world know who you are." David responds: "I don’t care who you are. There are 7 billion people trying to explain how they’re unique and different."
  • When he decided to write what he liked to read, it became completely different. "To do anything else was immoral." He wasn’t going to be untrue to himself by trying to write something he didn’t like reading.
  • It doesn't matter how you get your audience: hot air balloons are fine. 
 
Amazing, no?

18 comments:

  1. Amazing, yes. "You have not yet written your best work" I loved that especially. Thanks for sharing this. :)

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    1. I love that one, too. It totally doesn't feel like it when you're slogging through the latest WIP, but it's so good to keep in mind!

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  2. Well at least when you recap you do it from really good notes. :)

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    1. That's what mini laptops were invented for. :)

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  3. This is fantastic Robin. Thanks for the recap!

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  4. Thanks for the bits of inspiration. I feel inspired. :)

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    1. Me, too! Sadly, I'm stuck at the day-job for a few more hours. Do some writing for me, k?

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  5. I was so mad I missed LTUE (still am really) but this helps lessen the blow. Thanks for helping me feel like I can still benefit from it :)

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    1. There is always next year! Are you coming to LDStorymakers?

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  6. I went to that panel... in fact I think I may have been sitting really close to you, I remember a girl taking a picture on her cell phone ;)

    Sanderson's comment about how many books are you willing to write really struck me. I don't know the answer. I think I would keep writing forever, and just share the stories with friends. But if a genie said he could tell me how many I would actually have to write, I wouldn't want to know!

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    1. Did you also see me get up and count everyone in the room? It was such a good panel.

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  7. Wow, thanks for sharing your notes with us! I identified with what Brandon said.I had that same epiphany after writing a year & not getting published (I was very naive back then)& thought . . . why am I doing this? If it's to make more $, then I can go out and get a part-time job on top of my day job & it'll be a lot less hassle . . . but not as rewarding! I write to keep my sanity:) And, I agree with David about writing what you love to read. I've been writing contemporary YA love stories for 2 1/2 yrs now but I really love to read YA fantasy but just didn't think I was creative enough to pull it off. Now I'm finally dipping my toe into the fantasy realm and I feel my writing is taking off b/c I listened to my heart. I'm going to a writer's conference this weekend . . . will take notes to share with you on my blog next Wednesday:)~Cheers!

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    1. YA Fantasy is the best! Everyone should write it! Er... Just kidding. But YOU definitely should. Always write what you love to read.

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  8. Wow, that's awesome advice! I especially love the quote about how talent without self discipline is wasted air. If that's true, I've wasted quite a bit of oxygen. . . *guiltily* (Considering I have talent.) Now I'm just inspired to make up for it. :)

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    1. LOL! That's the one that gets me! I'm seriously thinking of framing it by my computer.

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  9. This was really amazing and inspiring. Thank you so much for being there and sharing!

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  10. I love those guys. And I thought I was there for the whole thing. How'd I miss this one?

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