Friday, September 23, 2011

The League of Utah Writers Roundup

I had a great time at roundup and I (with a little from Christina) wanted to share the highlights from my time there.

To keep this post from going too long I am just going to talk about the classes I took and bullet point the highlights.

1. Problem the Core of the Story - Taught by John Brown

* When it comes to the plot if you ever get stuck think of the original problem and then you will have the answer. (i.e. in Jurassic Park the problem is the dinosaurs.)

* Problem is the engine. There are three types of problems that can push your story forward.

o Danger/Threat - Someone's going to die or something else is threatened.

o Mystery - It's a puzzle and you have to put all the pieces together.

o Hardship/Lack of opportunity - you're not rich enough or you have some sort of disability.

* You can combine the types of problems you use.

2. Voice and Style - Taught by Clint Johnson

* Your voice is who you are, but it is also something that can be refined.

* You can find your voice by opening yourself up to new experiences and genres. Ask "why?" about everything (why do you like to sleep in your bed?) Then dig as deep as you can. Meet new people and try and see everything from their point-of-view even if you don't agree with it.

* Style can be found by trying different POV's (writing from an object or just from someone who is the opposite of you.) Experiment with different kinds of writing (even practicing writing in someone else's style) and learning the rules then breaking them for effect.

* Read your writing out loud and consider how the phonetics sounds. Examples used - The Giver - The last Unicorn - Hunger Games (read these out loud and think about how the author sounds)

3. Pacing - writing at the speed of life - Taught by Alexander Gordon.

* When you're writing action you want everything to be fast paced.

* Use short sentences and try to cut words like he/she

* Think only about what the character is seeing and don't focus on anything that they wouldn't notice in the heat of battle.

* Write it step by step, and keep it concise.

4. Getting the joy back into your writing - Taught by Sarah Fitzgerald * Write 750 words (personal) every morning to vent your frustrations.

* Don't listen to internal 'backtalk" (i.e. I'll never be good enough, I'm going to disappoint my friends/parents/spouse)

* Don't write to be a bestseller, write because you love it!

* You will NOT die if no one likes what you write, if you give up because of rejection you shouldn't be writing.

Okay that sums it up. Hope that leaves you all informed!

Posted by Jennifer Bennett. Thank you!!!!!


  1. Thank you! So many great thoughts. Words to write by.

  2. I'm glad you shared this. Great reminders. Wish I could have gone this year.