{REALM MAKERS 2017 HIGHLIGHTS} + internet hiatus

thank you Keturah and Tracy for being in my header graphic 😉

I’M BACK.

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.

 

#1 MEETING OTHER WRITERS.

 

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

 

#2 PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP

 

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

 

 

#3 BOOK SIGNING

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

 

#4 TEN-PAGE CRITIQUE

 

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!

 

#5 NERF WAR

 

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!

 

 

 

 

<3

audrey caylin

 

 

Have you ever gone to a writing conference? How as Camp NaNo (if you did it)? What’s going on with you? I’ll miss you all so much this month!
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58 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane Maree
    August 5, 2017 at 9:52 am

    ACK OH MY WORD I LOVE THESE ALL SO MUCH AND YEEP THIS WHOLE POST. <33 It makes me really really really really (times infinity) want to make it to RM one year soon. *cries*

    Those photos though. <33 I've looked through them a gajillion times already but I can't look at them enough because I just wanna be /there/.

    I WISH THERE WERE GOOD WRITER CONFERENCES IN AUSTRALIA . But no. We are destined to look at photos and flight costs and empty wallets FOREVER. Rude.

    have fun spending more family time. 🙂 all the bestest for you, girl. <3

  • Reply
    Ivie Brooks
    August 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I saw your picture on GTW and I was really excited. It looked like a lot of fun. I think I might have to go to one of those conferences one day. I hope they come to my state, otherwise it will be a lot of driving. (I don't trust planes.)
    Have fun with your family. Its really important to be there with them.

    We'll all be here for you when you come back. God bless you!
    <3

    iviewrites.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Anna
    August 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

    AHHHH NO FAIR *cries* Meeting up with other bloggers and REALM MAKERS…because I know absolutely not a single christian writer outside of my screen. 😉

    But seriously I am so happy for you, it looks like you all had so much fun and I wish you a restful hiatus Audrey! <3

    Anna | http://www.worldthroughherheart.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Farm Lassie
    August 5, 2017 at 11:50 am

    We'll have to set a goal – Rebellious Writing meet up at Realm Makers one day…..

    Though I may just go myself one of these days – it looks like a lot of fun and informative too!

    Have a good hiatus, Audrey!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Andrea
    August 5, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    OH MY I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU <3 I would love to go to a writing conference someday! I'm still in awe — like, a whole convention-style thing full of readers and writers? HEAVEN.

    Enjoy your hiatus, you deserve it! Meanwhile, I'm just coming back from my sudden hiatus.

    – andrea at a surge of thunder

  • Reply
    AmyNikita
    August 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Ahhh this looks so amazing and fun and rewarding and now I'm super jealous!! But I'm SO happy you had a great time and got to ask questions and get feedback and discuss your book 🙂

    Aww I'll miss you around the internet during your hiatus, but it's definitely good to take a break every now and then. Enjoy it!

    P.S. How did you make it without caffeine??! #goals

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

  • Reply
    Florid Sword
    August 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I will go someday. I pray.

  • Reply
    Savannah Grace
    August 5, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Ohmygoodness, REALM MAKERS. I talked to my dad about going, but it was just to far away this year – so HOPEFULLY I'll be going in 2018 (are you planning on going next year?)!

    I LOVED this post, it was so much fun getting to see all your pictures, and hear about the things you did! RM is sounding better and better with every recap post I see about it xD. I'm so happy that you got to go, Audrey! I hope you have a wonderful August ;).

    (also, question – other than David Farland (who sounds like an awesome writer, I'll have to check out his work!), what did you think of the other speakers at RM?)

    ~ Savannah | Scattered Scribblings

  • Reply
    Jonathan // Fishing For Ideas
    August 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    AAH YES *FLAILING* I ALREADY MISS EVERYONE SO MUCH xDDD Your post is like super organized though, mine is more of a giant ramble and photo dump for no apparent reason.

    Also yes I totally agree about David Farland. *nods* He was super practical and just plain HELPFUL and he said a lot I had never heard before. (Although he never explained why MCs should always have an even numbered age?? XP)

  • Reply
    Rebekah Eddy
    August 5, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    So jealous! XD I wanted to go this year SOOOOO BAD, but our family ended up having a ton of things happen that made it so I couldn't go. 🙁 Maybe next time… *crosses fingers*

  • Reply
    Hailey Hudson
    August 5, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I'm sooo jealous! So why are YA protagonists always 16??? I don't know either. Also don't forget to breathe 😉

    Hailey
    http://www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    abigail lennah
    August 5, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    This makes me cry happy tears, because honestly Realm Makers looks so cool. THAT NERF WAR HAD ME SOLD ON GOING NEXT YEAR. It's sad though, because I live a thousand miles away and plane tickets are so expensive. If I could only go one thousand miles (what's funny is that as I'm typing this the one song about falling into the sky and walking a thousand miles is playing).

    I'm the same with buying books, too. 😛

    I really hope that you're able feel refreshed after your hiatus! Just a question, though: are you going to be present for the opening of the #RebelliousWriting site? ^.^

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

  • Reply
    Melissa Gravitis
    August 6, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Oh wow it looks like you had a fabulous time! I'm so happy for you, particularly how well your critique went!!! Jill Williamson is a fantastic writer so I'm sure she was amazing. 🙂 Thanks for sharing; I love hearing about writers' conference experiences! (And have a relaxing hiatus!)

  • Reply
    Abbiee
    August 6, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Looks like y'all had so much fun!! Pizza and caffeine are definitely the best tools of survival *nods sagely* Where exactly is Realm Makers anyway?? I know how you feel about journaling and taking more pictures!! I always regret not taking more pictures. :') Also journaling can be super fun, especially when you get really detailed…going back and reading the entries just feels like experiencing it all over again!! <3

    rock on,
    abbiee

  • Reply
    Jem Jones
    August 6, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    *Australian tears*

    We'll have to start an Aussie writer conference, right, Jane?? Even if it's just so we can have our own Nerf war and pizza party! (The problem is, of course, that it's STILL never going to be near where I live. Probably in Sydney or somewhere. *grumps*)
    Jem Jones

  • Reply
    Jem Jones
    August 6, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    THIS LOOKS SO AWESOME. Even for introverted me 😉 I mean, NERF WAR? Plus meeting all the amazing internet peoples + authors who are super-nice and sign your books?? (I recognised Jonathan and Mary, but is that Tracey Dyck as well? And I actually thought you were Katie Grace in the first few photos – *embarrassed shrug* …but your hair's shorter than in your profile picture!)

    Have a great hiatus – family is the most important thing 🙂
    Jem Jones

  • Reply
    Jane Maree
    August 7, 2017 at 1:23 am

    YES WE NEED TO START A CONFERENCE. *fist pumps*
    We'll just have to do it at my house then. XP (although I'm not really very close to anywhere or anything soo XD)

  • Reply
    Jem Jones
    August 7, 2017 at 2:23 am

    (I'm not really close to anywhere/thing either, it's really annoying!) WE SHOULD PLAN THIS OUT. Like, do you know any Christian Australian writers of YA??

    [And we can just have a big chat on Audrey's post while she's away on hiatus xD]

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    I'M SO SAD YOU WEREN'T THERE, JANE. ONE DAY it will happen and we will have the most amazing pizza party and Nerf war ever <3

    Okay, if you and Jem make that happen I WANT ALL THE PICTURES. Eeep it would be so epic if you guys started a conference like Realm Makers in Australia. (and you have my permission to chat on my blog xD)

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Conferences are a ton of fun! Travel wasn't an issue for me this year bc it was only one state over from me, but I fear it won't be so any other time 😛

    Thank you, Ivie! 😀 I hope you have a wonderful month! <3

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I think just about every Christian teen writer who blogs feels that way, xD

    Thank you, Anna! Have a wonderful August! <3

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    YES. That would be the most amazing thing ever! 😀

    You should totally try to go! I learned a ton. I'm nervous to open up the notebook I used and see how messy my notes are 😉

    Thanks, Catherine! <3

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    IT WAS TOTALLY HEAVEN. Especially if you're an introvert and/or have never met another writer like you in person. The halls were filled with people who write weird genres and spend hours a day at a keyboard xD

    Thanks, Andrea! I look forward to reading your posts when I'm back!

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Aaaahhh thank you, Amy! I will miss you a ton *hugs* I can't wait to read a bunch of your posts and reviews when I'm back! 😀

    (idk but I'm going to try and make it as long as I can xD)

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I hope you do too! 😀

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I've heard a rumor that it's in PA next year which is WAY far from me, but hopefully I'll be there 😀 (it would be so awesome to see you there!)

    I think that's because it's getting better every year 😉 The speakers were absolutely AMAZING. I got a blister on my finger from trying to write notes as fast as I could for an hour straight xD (I still have yet to page through them and see if they're even legible XP)

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    ACK YES I WISH IT WAS STILL GOING (though I don't know how I'd survive two weeks with that little sleep lol).

    But don't you have headings? (like "food" ;). I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR POST ANYWAYS. I'll have to sneak back into blogsphere to check it out xD

    I know. He was SO AWESOME and that workshop was worth every penny (but yeah…I mean, I just finished Jill's Replication and the protagonists were 17. *shrugs*)

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I'm sorry about that 😛 I hope you get to go next year though!

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Apparently 16 is when teens still have childlike "wonder" but also are interested in romance. So YA readers like that? I don't usually incorporate much romance into my novels but it was good advice anyways xD

    I'll try 😉

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    THE NERF WAR WAS EPIC. I had no idea what to expect bc I've only done ones with two other people before, but this one was so epic with all us writers running around and shooting each other xD

    Thanks, Abby! 😀
    I'm not going to be taking part in the blog tour, but I'm going to be full time on the Twitter page throughout the whole month. I told my Twitter partner, and we worked it all out 🙂

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Aw, thanks, Melissa! <3 Have a wonderful August!

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Since I don't do caffeine, I guess I'm only half alive then 😉

    This year Realm Makers was in Reno, NV. I've heard a rumor that it's going to be in PA next year. Half of me hopes that isn't true because that's so far away but the other half hopes it is because a lot of blogger friends live east coast xD

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 7, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I think 75% of the people there were introverts xD

    Yep — Jonathan Trout, Mary Horton, and Tracy Dyck were all there! 😀 And it's actually ironic that you say you mistook me for Katie, as a couple other people did too. I guess we look alike? Sort of? idk. xD

    Thanks, Jem! <3

  • Reply
    Tracey Dyck
    August 8, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Ahhh, this brings back all the memories! I miss Realm Makers–and everybody I met there–already!

    That pre-conference workshop was PACKED with advice. I think I scribbled close to a dozen pages of notes just that day. XD And the 10 page critique was one of my personal highlights too! I'll bet Jill was amazing for that. (I love the Go Teen Writers blog, and she seems like such a cool person.)

    Loved your recap! I've no idea how I'll cram everything into mine later this week… XD

  • Reply
    Tracey Dyck
    August 8, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Confession: when I first saw you, I thought for a second you were Katie Grace too. Oops! 😛

  • Reply
    Clara
    August 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    OHHH MY GOSH! This looks like a blast! <3

  • Reply
    Jane Maree
    August 9, 2017 at 7:23 am

    @Audrey YES ONE DAY. <33 That would be so epic.
    YEET YES. If that ever happened of goodness everyone would hear about it, trust me. XD

    @Jem ACK YES YES. I know there's several Aussies on the Kingdom Pen forum that I'm a part of. At least six, I think? And I have no clue where they live or anything. BUT STILL.

  • Reply
    Marrok MacIntyre
    August 9, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Wow sounds like you had a best at Realm Makers! It must have been cool to see authors of your favorite books just walking around (well they probably weren't walking but you know)

    Ooo that Ten-Page Critique sounds like ton of fun and scary. But it sounded like it went well so cool!

    See you're post again in September!

  • Reply
    Keturah Lamb
    August 10, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Amazing conference and amazing meeting you 🤗 Wow, 'twas fun 😀 Have fun with family!

  • Reply
    Lisa // Inkwell
    August 12, 2017 at 1:44 am

    WOWO THAT WAS TERRIFIC I LOVED HEARING ALL ABOUT THAT CONFERENCE.

    also have i introduced myself before? I don't remember if I have commented. Do I know you on Goodreads? Because if not, hi. *WAVES* I'M GOING TO FOLLOW YOUR BLOG NOW.

    lisa
    thisinkwell.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Grace Osas
    August 12, 2017 at 8:35 am

    It looks so fun.

    I also want pizza. I haven't had pizza in AGES. <–that word looks pretty weird to me right now o.O

  • Reply
    Jonathan // Fishing For Ideas
    August 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    TRUE I DO HAVE SOME HEADINGS. (and food is one of them MWAHA) But legit one of the headings is just "the photo dump" so they're really just a poor disguise for my rambling. Shh, don't tell anyone. xD

    Truuue I just finished that also. If he's at Realm Makers next year and I go, then I'm going to have to ask him haha. 😀

  • Reply
    Mary Horton
    August 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    *whispers* I thought you were Katie Grace, too. I was walking by your table on Thursday night and I kept staring at you because you looked familiar. I was like, "Wait, but I thought Katie Grace wasn't going??"

    Lol! I guess you two just look alike. 😉

  • Reply
    Mary Horton
    August 12, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    AHHHHH. ALL THE NOSTALGIA. I just love all the Realm Makers recaps my friends are posting. They make me miss allllll the things. <333

    I love how everyone has organized their posts differently! The highlights was a good idea. *nods* I…still haven't decided how I'm going to organize mine. #oops? XD

    It was just ah-may-zing meeting you and everyone else and just being at Realm Makers. I REALLY HOPE WE CAN ALL GO AGAIN NEXT YEAR!!

  • Reply
    Casey Oswald
    August 17, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Sounds like a great time! Glad you got to meet Jill! I think she's swell! 🙂

  • Reply
    tizzie100
    August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    The conference looks really neat! 🙂

    https://tizziestidbits.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 2:50 am

    @Tracey @Mary lol. If both Katie Grace and I are there next year, we'll have to take a selfie xD

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 2:53 am

    I know! I woke up on Sunday and was already missing everyone D:

    Eeep, yes, Jill was so awesome! I haven't really been on Go Teen Writers all that much (my to-read list is pretty long xP) but I'll have to check it out more!

    Thanks Tracey! I loved yours too! 😀

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 2:53 am

    IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER. 😀

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    It was completely surreal. Especially when you just saw them talking with other people and suddenly realized it was them, standing right there across the room xD

    Thanks, Marrok!

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    It was great meeting you, too, Keturah! I hope you've had a lovely month 🙂

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    EEEEPP THANK YOU IT WAS A BLAST.

    Nice to meet you, Lisa! I think I've seen you around somewhere… thanks for following! I'm heading over to check out your blog now 😀

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    It was 😀

    PIZZA IS THE MOST AMAZING FOOD EVER. And yeah, "ages" in capital letters does look strange though I don't know why O.O

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    YESSS. I was so happy yet sad while writing this and now reading it again 😛

    I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR POST. *bounces impatiently*

    EEEPP YES. I hope we all make it next time!

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    She's awesome xD It was great meeting you too! 😀

  • Reply
    Audrey Caylin
    August 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    It was incredible 😀

  • Reply
    Kate Marie
    November 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Ohmyword, Audrey!!! It looks like you had an amazing time!!! This post has made me RESOLVED to go one year and meet you all!!! Nerf wars are the best and meeeeep!!! You got to meet Tracey!!! Wow, Mary’s hair is LOONGG!!!! :))) And you got to meet Jill Williamson!!!! That is awesome!!!

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 20, 2017 at 9:07 am

      ASDFJKL; IT WAS SO AMAZING. It was so weird and epic to meet bloggers and authors in person. YES DEFINITELY COME. It would be awesome to meet you 😀

    Let's chat!

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