Life, the Universe, and Everything is a science fiction and fantasy conference held annually in Provo, Utah.
I do not always attend LtUE, but as I make a firmer push toward publication, I have also made a commitment to become a regular at more conferences, and it was quite fortunate that I decided to go this year, as I made some discoveries that have opened doors for me.
Here’s my progress report from the event.
I must admit, attending conferences like these for writers has been a game of diminishing returns.
Learning at the feet of established—and even some highly successful—authors is incredibly useful when you are starting out. Not so useful after you’ve heard everything they have to say.
It turns out that many of the principles of writing great books do not change from one year to the next. As a result, you end up hearing a lot of the same lessons every time you attend.
This is the reason why my attendance has been so lax in recent years. It’s all stuff that I’ve heard before.
But the other great thing about these conferences is that occasionally they will surprise you—even floor you—with some new information that was not covered in years past.
It just so happens that Thursday happened to be a particularly good day. The rest of the conference went more or less as expected. But that first day made a mountain of difference.
A Question for Mr. Wolverton
If you follow me on Twitter, then you know how often I recommend that writers on the platform follow David Farland—the pen name of Dave Wolverton, who taught creative writing at BYU for many years and is, quite simply, the greatest writing teacher living today.
Now, despite having many opportunities to interact with Mr. Wolverton—as he attends many writers’ conferences—there is one question that I keep meaning to ask him, but that I continually miss the opportunity to voice.
I finally asked that question this year, and got an answer.
Sorry to be so vague, but the details are not important. I already knew a great deal about what it would take to get my books published, but one detail I needed filled in. I have that detail now.
This knowledge is going to prompt me to actions I am not yet ready to discuss. I am a Keeper of Secrets, after all.
The Long Con
Many of my frustrations with attending writers’ conferences stem from the fact that they are often hybrids of professional conference and fan conference.
As such, a lot of the panels, kaffeeklatsches, and other activities are tooled around entertaining the attendees, rather than forging real connections.
How grateful I was, then, to get new information about World Fantasy Con.
It’s actually going to be held in Salt Lake City this year. And though I had already acquired my ticket, I was thinking it was going to be similar to Worldcon, which I have attended before.
But it turns out that World Fantasy Con is a conference I should have prioritized in previous years. It distinguishes itself by distinctly not being a fan con. It is for professionals only, and is attended by people who actually work in the industry.
A number of authors have also said it is the conference to attend for people seeking to break into the industry. It is exactly what I have been looking for.
Based on the information I gleaned, I have also decided to attend next year’s World Fantasy Con in Montreal.
(I would also have liked to attend this year’s Worldcon, but New Zealand is a little too far afield for me).
But the timing gives me another goal to reach.
Having Two Books Ready
If I work hard and commit myself, I could have at least two projects to pitch by the time World Fantasy Con comes to Salt Lake City. This would give me twice as many opportunities to make an impression. It’s exactly the kind of deadline I need to keep myself on schedule.
The theme of this year has to be productivity. And I have been given plenty of opportunities to be productive.
I made the mistake of not getting a hotel for LtUE this weekend. Driving 1.5 hours each way for three days is physically draining.
I need a little bit of a rest to get ready for everything that’s coming. Luckily, I still had enough energy for this blog post.
Big things are in the pipeline. I’m grateful to have come this far.
Thank you for listening to my story.
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