So LTUE (BYU’s science fiction and fantasy symposium) was last weekend, and it was awesome.
The venue was the BYU Conference Center just north of where DT used to be, and in my opinion this was a much better place to hold it than the student center, where it’s always been. It felt a lot more professional, and allowed for better interaction.
It felt like there were a lot more people there this year, including two editors: Lisa Mangum from Shadow Mountain, and Stacy Whitman from Tu. I didn’t try to pitch to either of them, since I don’t think they really publish what I write, but they were on a few interesting panels. Tracy Hickman, Howard & Sandra Tayler, and Jessica Day George were also very awesome on all the panels they attended.
One of my favorite panels was the presentation by Tracy Hickman on Lord of the Rings. He basically took it apart using Dramatica theory, showing how the series is composed of several distinct subplot, where each character (even the minor ones, like Eowyn) is literally the hero of their own story.
The presentation inspired me to go through some of my own novels and use the basic character archetypes from Dramatica to outline my own novels. I wrote out the names of all the characters in WAFH and GE on notecards, then on the back wrote down which archetype they fulfilled based on who was the protagonist.
There were several other excellent panels as well. I got a ton out of the “Can your dreams pay the bills?” one, with Sandra Tayler moderating. She sure knows her stuff when it comes to the practical business aspects of a creative career.
I dunno; a lot of my writing friends claim to be at a point where panels at cons are less useful for them. While I can see why they say that, I still find them helpful. While a lot of the advice is stuff I’ve heard before, every once and a while someone will have a fascinating insight on things. It’s like stories, I guess; even though there’s nothing new under the sun, everyone has a different way of making it their own, which is ultimately what makes the whole enterprise valuable.
Also, I had an awesome first this year: I signed my first autographed story! Leading Edge had a booth in the hall, and while I was hanging out there, I mentioned to Eric James Stone how I had a short story published and joked around about signed copies. To my surprise, he bought the issue and asked for me to sign it!
So yeah, my first signed copy of anything ever goes to Eric–thanks for the support! Now I’ll see what I can do to make that signature actually worth something someday…
Oh yeah, one more thing: Dan Wells is going to name a character in one of his books after me! According to Dan, the character (Gabe Vasicek) is “a big guy who wields a minigun.” Hehehe…can’t wait to read it!
Anyhow, LTUE was awesome this year, just as I’d expected. The panels were enlightening and entertaining, the guests were gracious and easy to talk with, and the overall experience was just a lot of fun.