Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Realm Makers 2016 Reacp

Have you ever walked into a place and felt a sense of "rightness" about it? As if you were meant to be there? Accepted and understood?

That is the Realm Makers Conference for me!

This year's conference was hosted on the Villanova University campus which is stunning with all of its stone buildings and lush greenery (you can see that in the pictures to the side). The keynote speaker was none other than Thomas Locke (also known as Davis Bunn) and he was fantastic! If you've been following my blog for any length of time you'll know that I've read the first two books in his fantasy series: Emmisary and Merchant Of Alyss, so getting to hear him speak at a speculative fiction conference was amazing. He had deep points that I will take to heart as I continue on in my writing journey.   

In addition to all of the wonderful and amazing classes and speakers present at Realm Makers, it was just a whole lot of fun. I've got a post coming about this later in the week, but being around a bunch of people who are nerdy like you are is pretty amazing.

Attending a conference like this is the perfect chance to catch up with friends you've connected with online for the last year and to bring that friendship into the "real world". It's also a great time for talking about the characters that usually exist only in our heads, discussing wild ideas, and sharing our successes, failures, joys, and fears. I always come back from a conference like this enthusiastic to to continue on in my own writing projects after hearing of the struggles my fellow writers have had. I realize: "I'm not alone" and if they can do it, so can I!

Three things to put into practice: 

1) Treating your book as a product
This was a point that Thomas Locke made and it really hit home for me. As a writer who hopes and prays to become a published author one day, I am quick to realize that I get very attached to my books. They are, after all, like children to me. Thomas pointed out that the reality is, if you've got a publisher looking to publish your manuscript there will be changes made, but that is only because they will be made to make your book better and in the interest of selling it. It becomes a product at that point.

It could sound like a very stringent way to look at a book, but the more hands that hold the book mean the more people you are able to reach with the message of your book. Though my writing is an extension of reaching others as well as entertaining them, my writing is also a business and I think it will help me to have more of a detached attitude at certain points.

2) Forging a discipline around my creative process
Thomas Locke spoke a lot about disciplines a writer should have and they all resonated with me, but this part was especially impactful. He explained how the first draft of your work is very much a "free" creative process but the moment you move to the second draft things change. You must approach it with discipline and realize the editing process will be critical and is not about you it's about making the book better.

3) Where possible, adapt to the outside world
This last point  also hit me deeply. Thomas spoke of the change in the market and where our books can (and will in some cases) go. He encouraged us to adapt to the outside world. He wasn't saying for us to become like the world, but to find our place in it as spec writers. I loved what his guidance was. He said, "You must find your way though prayer". It's so true! A lot of the writers I know and those that I met aspire to reach the world through their writing. Some will do that in the CBA and others will do this in the general market, but either way they must be guided by the Lord. His perspective was very encouraging to me!

Final takeaways:

*There are others out there who understand the mix of "nerd" and "normal" that I am. Those people are fun, accepting, and just a whole lot of fun!

*Realm Makers is the only place a Tardis would be caught taking headshot photos of a Jedi... 

*The Lord has created us Speculative Fiction writers with a unique way to look at the world. We may tell stories differently than others - using magic, time travel, spaceships, or zombies - but these differences are beautiful. I personally love the fact that I enjoy writing Romantic Suspense and YA Science Fiction!

*The friendships I've forged through Realm Makers are cherished, full of quirkiness, and so vital to who I am as a writer and as a Christian!
*I seriously need to figure out my world structure for this new SciFi I'm working on...Thanks Kathy Tyers!

*The Doctor, River Song, and a Weeping Angel can co-exist as roommates!

*When all else fails, the answer is 42 ;-)

>>>If you went to Realm Makers - what were some of your favorite memories?

For those of you who didn't get to join the Realm Makers fun, I brought a piece of it back for you! I'm offering a copy of Firebird by Kathy Tyers to one winner with a U.S. Address. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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