I was at LtUE this weekend.
No, I didn’t go to Magrathea and converse with a hugely intelligent supercomputer.
No. Instead, I was at a SciFi/Fantasy writing conference in Provo, UT called Life, the Universe, and Everything (32).
It. Was. Awesome.
I took a lot of notes. I collected a lot of bookmarks. I had to forcibly stop myself from buying a lot of books.
I didn’t talk to a lot of people, although I did bond with someone over my pen-of-many-colors.
I’m pretty sure one of the points of a writers conference is to connect with other writers. Which is what I intended to do. Which is something I did not do, because I’m a big fat chicken with extra grease. I met Orson Scott Card and had the opportunity to, like, say something intelligent, but instead it was more like
I did take some good notes at his workshop, and I think I fixed something in a novel because of some suggestions he made. Hooray!
I did not agree with everything he said. He said thoughts aren’t in italics anymore. PFFFTTT I’LL ITALICIZE MY THOUGHTS UNTIL THE DAY I DIE! But overall, very good stuff (whether you agree with his personal ideals doesn’t have any bearing on the fact that the man is good at storytelling).
I was struck by something, though, that still vexes me two days later.
What is the deal with YA??
Every other frickin person there writes YA or MG (or both). No, it was more like 2/3 of them. Which is fine, if you’re into that sort of thing, but…
KEEP IT OUT OF THE PANELS!
(unless it’s a YA/MG panel, and then by all means, keep it in)
I went to a panel on how to begin a story. I was expecting something more than the oft-lectured (hook your audience, be interesting, start as late as possible, blah blah blah), but what I got was a rehashing of that same information, targeted to teenagers.
I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Cool story! Now can you talk to the rest of us who don’t write for kids? Thanks!”
I don’t like YA/MG but I don’t hate it. If you want to read it or write it, go nuts. I won’t look down on you or judge or whatever. But please, for the love of chocolate-covered pretzels, in a panel that’s supposed to cater to every genre, don’t make it all about what kids like.
“You want to introduce a physical description of your character as soon as possible, because if you don’t, the middle graders have a tendency to wander away.”
Okay, great. But what about everyone else? What about adults? That’s what I care about. That’s what a lot of people here care about. How about talking about what we want?
A minor gripe in a conference that was overall uh-may-zing! I’m totes going next year! If I’m around. I hope I am. Because I’m going! You should, too!