Once a year, the LDStorymakers hold a conference. I think it's hands down, the best writers conference in the state. The only bad thing about the conference is that once it's over, I get depressed. I know it's a lot of work to put on, but couldn't we hold this thing once a quarter? Or every other week?
A few things I learned this year:
Carole Thanye is great. I rode down to the conference with her, and there wasn't a single moment when we weren't talking about something interesting. I've always enjoyed talking with her, but there are rarely opportunities to do so. Riding for three hours with her to the conference was a great start to the weekend.
Los Hermanos does not follow the mantra; eat food, not too much, mostly plants. I got their burrito and there was about 8 pounds of beef, pork, and chicken. I didn't much care for it, but if you're into eating a big ol' pile of meat, this is the place for you.
Friday was boot camp, and I met some great folks who are very talented. They all had some great starts to stories they were working on. We heard a few really good presentations, and then I did my first presentation of the day. Nobody threw food, so I felt it went OK.
To kick off the conference, the incomparable Rob Wells gave us a history of the LDStorymakers conference. It is one of those events that can't be described; you just had to be there. But if you were there, you were likely grabbing your belly while tears of laughter rolled down your cheeks.
On Friday I also met with Stacy Whitman, a freelance editor. She gave me some good feedback on the first chapter of my book. I have conversed with Stacy many times online, but this was the first time we had met in person.
In the afternoon I gave my 130 slide presentation. Yes, that's right, 130 slides of information in 45 minutes. I think I only had 4 bullet points though; most of the slides were single words, or images to drive a point home. I got high marks on the feedback sheets, so I think it went well.
Friday evening we had a wonderful talk by Dean Lorey. I had not heard of Dean's YA series before the conference, but I'm a big fan of another little project he was involved with called Arrested Development (best television comedy of all time).
That night, we went out for Italian ice cream. It was a great time to talk with both published authors and the up and comers. I had a wonderful talk with Eric Swedin, Janette Rallison, Kristi Stevens, Melinda Morley, and more. These kind of impromptu meetups are what makes the whole conference worth it.
Boot camps continued the next day, and the final day of the conference began. I'm a firm believer in the saying that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, so I don't hang out with Jack. I also try to get in a bit of play, wherever I go. So Rob Wells, Dan Wells, and myself snuck into a corner room and played Small World. You know a game is good when you lose twice, and still want to run right out and purchase it. We also snuck in a game of Dominion, my current favorite game.
Eventually, all good things must come to an end, and the conference came to a close. But before we all went home, a few of us stayed after and attended the Whitney Awards. I got to blog the entire event with the amazing and talented Jaime Theler and Tristi Pinkston. We had a wild time, and you can relive the Whitneys over on the Whitney site. I was clearly the one with the most grammatical errors, but I vindicated myself by eating the most cheesecake.
Jaime and I also had the privilege of presenting James Dashner with his award. Jaime's presentation demeanor more than made up for my stammering, sputtering, and choking into the microphone.
And thus the conference came to a close. It was depressing to see it end so soon, but I think the entire conference can best be summed up by the phrase, 'and a good time was had by all'. I'm already looking forward to next year.