Superstars 2013

Two weeks ago I was in Colorado Springs, attending the Superstars Writing Seminar. This was my second time attending. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time – last year’s seminar had been a revelation for me. Among other things, it convinced me to start this blog.

The only way I can describe the experience of attending of Superstars is it’s like your brain being lit on fire. Spending three days in the company of sixty people who all share my passion for writing is remarkably inspiring. Between talks covering every aspect of publishing you can imagine,  I reconnected with old friends and made some new ones.

The second evening of the seminar was the VIP dinner – an opportunity to spend a couple hours with one of the authors at a table with a few other attendees.  Last year, I was at Brandon Sanderson’s table and was treated to a huge amount of information on publishing, editors, and a bunch of stuff that can’t be repeated in public 🙂

This year I ate with James Owen. James astounded me with his talk last year and it was just as good this year. He’s monumentally inspiring; his ability to eloquently describe his approach to things and how he’s overcome a lot of adversity is remarkable. At the end of the dinner he had us all sign a dollar bill and informed us that was good for a stay at the guest room in his personal workshop in Arizona, should we ever want to work in a project in a place designed to foster creativity. I know I’ll be taking him up on that offer as soon as I can.

Tracy Hickman, who wrote the famous Dragonlance novels in the 90s with Margeret Weis, was there, replacing David Farland who had to miss the seminar. Tracy was a remarkable speaker – his answer to the question ‘what writing means to him’ had the room in tears – but more importantly, he was an incredibly nice man. He offered to critique our novel pitches; I managed to stammer out mine and got some great feedback (better yet, he though I did a good job!).

I think the thing that stuck with me most was a quote from Tracy’s talk.  “Why do we write?” He asked. “We write to inspire.” That really resonated with me, because it’s what I hope my writing will do, one day. I know other people’s writing has inspired me; to wonder and to dream, to learn and to read, to write; to be a better person. The heroes in stories might be imaginary but the lessons they teach are not.

If you’re someone who’s serious about writing and wants it to be a career someday, you should go to Superstars next year. They’ll be announcing the dates soon. I know I’ll be there.




An Ending of Sorts

Yesterday, I wrote the last few scenes at the end of my novel, The Wildfire Crown.

Despite the myriad drafts the novel has gone through, it was the first time I felt like I’d brought it to some sense of completion. There had always been holes before. Not to say it’s perfect now, but what I can say is the entire novel, chapter one to thirty nine, is a complete story.

It felt absolutely amazing.

Now, there’s still a lot of work to be done. I have some additional scenes I want to insert in, and a number of chapters that need to be rewritten. After that I hope to send the novel to beta readers for critique, before beginning a final round of polishing. I’m not totally sure how long that all will take – I’m very optimistically hoping only a couple months, but it could easily go longer than that.

I credit the two week break to write my short story for giving me the distance necessary to fill in those last few scenes.  The hardest thing about writing for me is the way you lose objectivity about your own stories. I write a scene and I’ll have absolutely no idea if it’s great or terrible. Worse, sometimes I’ll write a great scene and read it a week later and find it mediocre. At least the reverse also occurs; I had one early chapter that I absolutely hated when I wrote it. I read it again last night, expecting it to be a total train-wreck, and instead found it okay with a couple rough patches.

I look forward to being done with this project; as much as I love the story, I’m getting sick of it. I want it to be out in the world (or whatever aether novels sit in while awaiting the decision of agents / editors).  I want to share it with people, and hope that I’ve crafted at least one moment that means as much to the reader as it did to me writing it.


Next week, I’ll be attending Superstars Writing Seminar in Colorado Springs. . Last years trip was the impetus to creating this blog. I can’t wait to see what I learn this time – I’ll be sure to write all about it when I get back!

Today’s video: another fantastic performance by Pentatonix. Enjoy 🙂