Saturday, February 28, 2015

LTUE—The Explosion

J Scott Savage, and his Steam Punk Dragon

By Keith N Fisher

I couldn’t be there until Thursday night, so I don’t know what I missed, but it was good. I learned some things, relearned others, got depressed, and hugged my friends.

At my first LDStorymakers conference, I looked at all the writers in wonder. I couldn’t believe there were so many people who want to write in the LDS market. A few years later, the numbers exploded.

LTUE has always been well attended. At least since I’ve been going, but most of the attendees were Trekies/Trekers, Whovians, and other groupies. They were followers of Tolkien, Lewis, and other fantasy/SCIFI authors. Now with classes, and panels about writing contemporary fiction, many other writers, like me, are attending.

When I watched the explosion at Storymakers, I wondered who would publish all those writers. Many of them got national contracts, however, many more, are now self-published. I couldn’t make it to Storymakers last year, but in years before, I could count on knowing a good portion of the writers. They are my friends, my peers, and my network.

Last year at LTUE, I knew many of the people who I saw. I met many more, and with the exception of the time during the keynote address and trying to get in and out of classes when a famous writer taught, I felt at home.

This year at LTUE I watched an explosion. Very few of my old friends were there. Maybe they avoided me? I sat in the lobby between panels and looked at the people with LTUE nametags. Who were those people? Most of them are younger than I. Are they just starting a career? Are they established authors?

Like at Storymakers, I wonder why so many people feel the need to write. Of course my mind turns to the competition angle, but most of them are writing fantasy and SCFI. It’s true. Judging by the email list we signed up for, in Tristi Pinkston’s class on critique, I’m the only writer of women’s fiction.

When I attended another class, one of my acquaintances made a comment, to which, I wish I’d paid more attention. I heard part of it and wondered if he was referring to me.
He ended his statement with “. . . then your writing will never be anything more than a hobby.”

I reared back, resembling the remark. I started writing many years ago, and success has eluded me. I’m a serious writer, but I haven’t been a serious promoter.

I could list all the reasons for my stagnation, but suffice it say I had some serious downturns in my personal life. From which, I’m still trying to recover. I’ve written about that before on this blog. Anyway, I left that class feeling like a fraud. I wandered around the venues for the better part of an hour. I finally came to rest in the lobby and bore part of my soul to a couple of my friends. I admit to fishing. I needed to hear that I am a good writer.

Later that day, I filled out submission papers for one of my books. It didn’t feel right. The last time I submitted to that publisher, it took eighteen months to get a rejection, but that’s not what didn’t feel right.

Two days after LTUE, I finally understood. My life has been on hold. I’ve been prolifically writing. Finishing books and starting new ones. I now have several in first draft. More that need editing, and the LDS market doesn’t feel right. Many of my books can be turned into national market with only a little tweaking. Some of them can’t be anything but LDS, but I think I’ve found my direction.

I know, I know, I’ve written this before. We humans need to feel like we are making goals, but we sometimes fall short of those goals. This time for me, I recognize a serious need to get on with my life.

Along with life decisions that will help me move forward, It’s time to finish what I started with my writing career. The parting shot comment I heard, might or might not have been directed at me, but it helped me to see what was wrong. Now if I can just incorporate the changes I need to make.

Good luck with your writing—See you next week.

    

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