There was one good thing that came out of this pandemic for me, and that was the fact that I was able to attend webinars for #YALLSTAYHOME. YALLWEST/YALLFEST are events that I’ve always thought it would be fun to attend. However, due to the nature of my job and the timing of the events, I have known that I will never be able to actually attend them. Fortunately for me, the regular event was cancelled and then reformed as a virtual event where participants could tune in from the comfort of their own couches. I was so excited to get the chance to hear some of my favourite writers speak.
I ended up signing up for seven sessions. Two of those were more fun, but the others I found were somewhat educational and informative. I had fun sitting on my couch and listening to my favourite writers talk about their craft in various different areas of discussion. As I watched, I tried to jot down a couple of notes, and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I learned on this blog.
Modern Magic Worldbuilding
- Fantasy can help create empathy.
- Important to write because it’s a distraction, can help us understand our reality.
- Find inspiration from around you – music, books, etc.
- Worldbuilding from the ground up:
- think about the details,
- but be careful not to overwhelm yourself – you need plot and characters
- think about history, culture, power structure – what are their motivations? How do the people interact/behave?
- You don’t have to have everything figured out – readers like to fill in the gaps and the gaps allow for fanfiction.
Facing the Enemy: Hope, War, + Revolution
- Inspiration can be found anywhere.
- Hope is an important part of YA.
Suckage is a Part of Writing
- It’s okay to not be perfect, and to just get the first draft out. Just try.
- It’s okay not to be joyful.
- “Your book is going to poop with the bathroom door open at some point.”
- Outline and then draft (or whatever works for you). Revision is when the story talks back to you.
- Keep thinking about the thing that made you passionate about the idea.
- We are our own worst critics. It’s a matter of self belief.
- Suckage is the story you tell yourself, and it’s a burden you have to overcome.
- There is magic in finishing.
- Your taste is higher than your skills.
- Just finish the thing: you don’t know what it is until it’s done. The difference between amateur and professional is finishing it.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- You can’t edit a blank page.
- Celebrate everything.
- Write you “heart trash” – write for yourself.
- Try other methods of creativity, and step away if you need a break.
- Your first job is just to be human.
- Remember: you get to escape into the world.
World Building Beyond Wikipedia
- Set in someone else’s world:
- what does it take to make it feel like that world?
- What can you add?
- Boomers: have meticulously documented their experience online.
- Inspiration from ghosts.
- Different things will tell you about a character.
- Setting as a character in the story.
- Character in a situation in a place.
- Concept is connected to character.
- “What is she doing?”
- “What does this culture do with their dead?”
- “You must never write history until you hear the way people can speak.”
- Acknowledge that oppression exists but translate that in different ways.
- It’s a story first.
- These kids have a goal, but the bumps along the road need to be realistic.
- We want a good story.
- We are never just the one thing – we have ups and downs.
- Think about all the things that create the greater character.
- Make sure all the plot threads have equal attention and move the plot forward.
I felt so inspired after listening to all my faves talk about their craft. I haven’t really done any writing since then, but I know that I want to get back into it. Did you attend YALLSTAYHOME? Which sessions did you go to?