Tuesday, February 17, 2015

LTUE Report, Day 3

Keynote Address: Toni Weiskoph – Know the theme of your story. She used the song “Margaritaville” as an example of something which contains all the necessary elements of theme and story, and is even done in acts with character progression. Too much fiction is missing the part called “story.”

Tracy Hickman, Sarah Seeley, and Karen Webb

Modern Fantasy & Its Relation to Folklore and Myth – This was a fun panel. I’ve heard a fair amount about Tracy Hickman, and have gotten to know Sarah Seeley through Xchyler Publishing. The ideas within folklore and myth can be powerful, but the source of ideas can also come from and depend deeply on your own personal beliefs, which can lend depth to your writing. There was talk of pulling from scripture, such as retelling the story of Samson and Delilah. Another thing I learned was that Tracy Hickman is an avid supporter and protector of women against abusive relationships. It was actually very applicable to the panel since it came up in context of fiction making use of myth, but presenting it through broken and abusive relationships. Tracy also said he considers mythology to be stories with some truth trying to return home.

D. J. Butler, Eric James Stone, Brad R. Rogtersen, and Daniel Craig Friend

The Ramifications of Fictional Religion – This was the second panel I attended on religion in fiction. As you might expect for a writer’s symposium in Provo, Utah, every member of this particular panel was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The interesting part was the variety of how and why they’ve used religion within their stories, which range from Steampunk to Science Fiction interacting with aliens. One thing I’ve seen that wasn’t limited to this panel was the inclusion of religious overtones where it was seen in a positive and constructive light. It’s pretty easy to use religion in a positive light without coming across as preaching.

Putting Technology Ramifications into Your World Building – Discussions ended up crossing over a bit into things covered in the super villain panel, unless they just happened to merge in my brain. The trick in world building is to think it through carefully enough that you don’t get buried in angry fan letters telling you how your device on page two would completely ruin the entire story/world/universe if abused in a particular way.

That's Scott on the right.

Publishing with a Small Press – The moderator of this panel was Scott Taylor, who has a self-published collection of short stories in addition to several anthology contributions. I've spent some time talking with him during the symposium, and he’s a down-to-earth guy who is a lot of fun to be around. Like the other small press and indie self-publishing panels I went to, a lot of the same things came out. One was do not ever pay money to a publisher. Money should always go to the author on a publishing contract.

How a Military Unit Works in Real Live – The panel consisted of veterans with a wide range of experience. They talked about things that are missed by a lot of stories, including chain of command, delegation, communication, individual initiative, standing orders, discipline, order, conduct, the difference between competence and experience, the difference between garrisoned or deployed troops, and a host of other similar topics. When asked what their greatest fear was, it was never for self, but they feared that something they did would cause the loss of a life for someone on their team. Pet peeves included portrayals of a unit as stupid grunts just following orders, a highly informal group that fraternizes freely, a lack of discipline being portrayed, and showing things running smoothly. None of those happen in real trained military units.

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