Mar 25, 2015

Flight at the Conference

      My sister is not happy with me right now.

     It's because I took Flight to the writer's conference. Prior to going, I submitted a bit of Flight for a scholarship. When my sister found out, she said, "How come strangers can read it, but you won't let me?"

     "Because they're strangers and it's for you."

     I didn't really think I would get the scholarship. It was the first scene I ever wrote for Flight (and one of the only scenes I know will be in the final story), an action sequence with Benjamin and the main character, Phoenix. 

     Somebody liked it. Or maybe they thought I needed to come to the conference and get help. Either way, I got a partial scholarship! If you have ever seen the movie Little Women, you have a good picture of how I pranced around the house ("Five whole dollars! I'm an AUTHOR!"). 

     When I showed the scholarship to my sister, I said, "Look! They paid me for Flight! I told you it was a story worth waiting for!"

     She rolled her eyes. "It would still be better if you let me read it."

     At the conference, I brought the same piece to Teen Track for critiquing. They were extremely helpful and said they liked it.

     I probably shouldn't have told my sister that the Teen Track saw it, but I was so encouraged by their responses. She was even more than less than unhappy ("Savvy?") that some people know a lot more about Flight than she does. 

     Today, my sister asked, "So, wait, is Phoenix a phoenix?"

     "I cannot divulge that information," I said. 

     "Do the Teen Trackers know what kind of bird Phoenix is?" 

     "Uhm... yeeeeees?"

     She slapped me. Apparently, secrets do not make friends. This story better be worth it. 

     Post Tenebras Lux!

     By the way, my sister and I still have a good relationship despite her annoyance with Flight. In fact, she just did make-up testing on my face.
     "Why are you putting primer on my eyelids? I'm not a wall!"
     "No, but you are a canvas. Close your eyes."

Mar 9, 2015

My First (hopefully not last) Writers Conference

Some special writers at the conference (Photo by Christina L.)

     Meeting people makes me sick. It's not that I hate people; I love friends! But meeting new people, even just thinking about becoming acquainted with strangers, gives me butterflies in the stomach. I mumble and tumble through sentences, ask strangely-worded questions, and try to keep my heart from racing. 

     So what was I thinking when I decided to go to a writer's conference?

     Thanks be to God, He has taught me at least one thing in my lifetime; trying to impress people is just another way of being prideful. The nervousness abates more quickly when I focus on the other person. I made a conscious decision to become an extrovert (even if an awkward one) for the few days of the conference.

     I did not have to try hard to make friends. Within the first few hours, I was quickly absorbed into a cult called "Teen Track." Ok, just kidding, it wasn't a cult. It was a series of classes led by author Bryan Davis. 

    Ahem. I said, I got to learn about writing from Bryan Davis. Hello! His Dragons In Our Midst series ranks in my top ten most influencial books for my writing (and my life, which -- for me -- goes hand-in-hand with writing). It was an insanely special privilage for me to be under Mr. Davis's teaching.
The Teen Track (photo by Deliegha S.)

     Apparently, Mr. Davis has been leading the Teen Track at this particular conference for quite a few years (somewhere in the double digits, I heard). Many teens and young adults have returned to his classes year after year. It was encouraging to see how God is using Mr. Davis to mold a new generation of top-notch writers who are after a standard of excellence and holiness. I certainly learned a lot! 

     The citizens of the kingdom of Teen Track are all amazing young people. Spending time with them felt like how I imagine the Inklings felt; having fun, safe in an enviroment of writers with the same goals. It was, simply, a group of friends who freely accepted others -- balm to an introvert's soul.

     Outside of the Teen Track, I found an equally interesting assortment of writers; some not much older than I, one in her eighties! The group was not very large, but each person I met had a unique story. It was so much fun to sit beside, eat with, worship with, and yes, even meet so many people with similar interests.

     But crawling out of my comfort cocoon and temporarily transforming into a social butterfly was
Everybody together (photo by Christina L.)
not the reason I went to the writer's conference. I went as part of my game plan (see the post from September 1st). I am happy to report that this step of the plan was a success. I made important connections, learned valuable lessons, and gathered helpful tools. On top of that, it was a blast! If you are a writer and you ever have the opportunity to go to a conference, do it. It's worth all the nervous butterflies in your stomach.  

Post Tenebras Lux!