|thank you Keturah and Tracy for being in my header graphic 😉|
You may have heard that I went to Realm Makers 2017 last weekend. I can honestly say that it was a major turning point, a giant stepping stone in my writing journey.
Right now I can’t quite figure out what to say in this post. I mean, what happened at the conference was so much that I can’t put it into a single post that is a length anyone would dare read on a Saturday morning. I tried journaling about it earlier, but missed so much. I’m…speechless. What it was like. What I learned. Just…. *mind explosion*
So I’ve settled to give you five highlights from Realm Makers 2017.
I don’t know about you, but I know ZERO other writers in person. Basically all of them (you!) are far away and the Internet is the only thing that connects us. But here I was surrounded by other Christian speculative fiction writers and it blew my mind that there are so many other people like me in the world.
Not to mention other teen/young adult writers. It was so amazing to meet some of my writing friends and fellow camp nanoers in person! Like, talk voice to voice, face to face with people I’ve been chatting with on the Internet. (after I awkwardly stammered through my introduction explaining my pen name xD)
We had such a blast brainstorming and flailing about books and writing and talking about so much stuff that I can’t remember half of it. I just feel so blessed to have met so many other awesome teen writers in person and I miss them so much already <3
|we got a little creative here|
|because writers must have a pizza dinner|
The conference itself started at 4pm on Thursday. The pre-conference started at 9:30am and went until then. David Farland was teaching the topic of creating a writing career. I thought it would be super interesting. I came in with an open mind to learn everything I could.
I was blown away.
Of course, a TON of sessions at Realm Makers were incredible. But what David Farland was teaching really hit me, especially about beats in a story. I’ve always wondered how good authors seem to control what the readers feel, and beats is just how they do it. Action beats, emotional beats, intellectual beats… I love that sort of stuff so much, and just ate it all up.
And have you ever wondered why every protagonist in YA novels is sixteen years old? I’ve always had something against sixteen year old protagonists. But after David explained WHY the protagonists are always sixteen, I had a big “oh. stupid me” moment xD
OMW THIS WAS SO AMAZING. I’ve NEVER had a book signed by an author before and now… there was so many here and their books were available in the bookstore (note to self: make a budget next year, not “I’ll keep buying until I run out of cash” xD).
THESE are all the lovelies that I snatched up. I’d developed a deadly bookworm disease in the past years of only reading ebooks, so I went on a rampage here, buying all the paperbacks and then hunting down the authors.
Let me just say: authors are amazing people. Not in that they’re famous or anything though. I was just geeking out a bit to think that the person in front of me wrote the amazing book I was holding. They were totally cool and just… human. They loved their books. They loved their fans. But they also had struggles writing and wanted to encourage you so you could be the one signing a book one day.
|I sort of stalked Catherine Jones Payne so she could sign my book xD|
You might remember that I mentioned this way back in June, that I’d sent the first ten pages of my manuscript off for a professional critique. That was part of Realm Makers, and my critiquer was Jill Williamson. She was also teaching the Teen Track, so I sort of already knew who she was when I sat down with her to go over the notes she’d sent me. I’d prepared a list of questions beforehand, and was incredibly nervous. I’m not one to talk about my book. At all. But now I HAD to talk about it….
Disaster then? No.
We just started…talking. About the notes. Then about my novel. I’d been having some trouble with it, and we ended up talking about the notes and that. Talking to someone who had been through this stage of learning so much and being uncertain was so encouraging. I walked out of that critique with a new plan, huge respect for Jill, and feeling like I was floating, flying, soaring.
|me and Jill Williamson!|
Need I say more? IT WAS AWESOME. I’d actually won a gun in a raffle on Thursday night, so I was super hyped. They cleared out all the ballrooms and put some tables on their sides for cover. Then we did three game modes — zombie apocalypse, duel teams, and capture the flag.
Three days of sitting and then running didn’t bode well for me, and my muscles sort of cramped up and got sore xD HOWEVER I did manage to shoot a certain Nerf war champion in the back, and even though I got hit in the process, it was awesome xD
|epic slow-mo walk|
|setting up the room for the Nerf war!|
Realm Makers was just so awesome and I wish it could have lasted forever. If I can make it next year, here’s what I would do differently:
– Get more sleep leading up to the conference. I’d been waking up at 6am the whole week before, so I was a little tired going in. I managed to make it without caffeine though (I was awake for 18hrs straight on the last day).
– Take more pictures. I got a bunch, but I wish I had more xD
– Take more time with God. I wish I’d taken a few more quiet moments of prayer or reading the Bible
– Remember this awesome thing called “breathing.” I got really dizzy and almost passed out a few times, and my mom and I later figured out that I was so excited and nervous and such that I forgot to breathe entirely.
– Bring a costume! Though someone (I forget who) said I could be a modern day Nancy Drew in what I’d worn 😉
|left to right: Elise, Jonathan, Hann, Mary, me|
|walking to get pizza, of course|
This post is already super long, but I have one last thing to say: I’m going on an Internet hiatus for the rest of August. I really want to spend a ton of time with family before the school year starts up. I’ll miss reading everyone’s blogs and chatting with you guys!
See you in September!