A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

13 February 2015

Life, the Universe...You Know the Rest....

I'm here attending the 2015 edition of the Utah-based writing conference "Life, The Universe, and Everything." It's been a good experience, as it is every year. This year, there've been some special highlights, though. They've even had a couple of panel discussions that are RPG-related, although there were some more technically-oriented discussions at the same time that took precedence. Everything I've heard, though, has been applicable to all forms of writing, whether it be sci-fi, fantasy, romance, general fiction, or RPG writing. If you're ever in the area around Valentine's Day, I'd recommend it, and do so highly.

Plus, if you let me know, I'd love to sit down and have a bite to eat with you too.

Honestly? As fun as my experiences have been at the Salt Lake Comic-Cons and the local FantasyCon, I'd take LTUE any day. Honestly. Granted, it's a different type of event, with a different focus, but the inspiration and education I get here every year is amazing.

Some of the highlights:
  • Michaelbrent Collings espousing "Because the dog!" as a motive for villainy. (Let me 'splain: the hero is standing with his friend with the villain of the piece walks up, punches the hero's friend in the face, and yells, "Because the dog!" before fleeing. (In response to the hero's friend harming/killing the villain's pet.)
  • perhaps the greatest summary of the War in Heaven and the casting out of Heaven of Lucifer and his angels. Not everyone in the room appreciated it due to a severe case of "stick-up-the-rear-itis"...but then, those who have ears to hear....
  • Listening to a PhD in economics discuss the economics of Super-Villainy, including various types of "rewards" and the motivations behind collecting said awards.
  • Hearing Howard Tayler, Michaelbrent Collings, and L.E. Modessit debate Sanderson's First Law.
    Some additional highlights of this discussion: the idea that magic systems should be AWESOME/interesting/wonderful. (They don't need to be AWESOME, says Modessit, because subtle is sometimes more effective. It was then clarified that AWESOME in this context meant interesting, or even more exact: interesting. Also: that it should always exact something from the user/caster.
  • A frank presentation by Sandra Tayler, Howard's wife, on how to "Break through Blockages," whether that be your Inner Critic, your Voice of Perfection, your kids/work/church/social obligations, or your fear of failure. She also discussed how to experiment with your writing process, to learn what worked best for you. Most importantly, perhaps, was her observation that you need to learn who, in your life, feeds the "voices" and who in your life is your ally against the "voices." Oh yeah, also that most "time complaints" are simply masks for a deeper blockate: in 10 years, what memory is going to satisfy you more--playing "Plants vs. Zombies"? or writing something/being creative?

    But the greatest highlights so far? In ascending order:
  • The official debut of the horror anthology Old Scratch and Owl Hoots containing my real-life alter-ego's first official published work. If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy, Umm.... Why not? I'm serious.... My contributions aside, there are some chilling works here, including some of the best in Utah horror. I'm honored to have been included in the volume.
  • My first request to sign a book. To young Melissa, wherever you are, thank you for that experience. I hope you enjoy the stories.
  • Having an established author-friend, one whom I respect greatly, ask me for my autograph in his copy, followed by the assertion that mine "was the only signature he wanted to deface his copy." He then told me that the book would be going into his library, in the corner reserved for authors he knew...and that I'd be right there beside Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia, and a host of other men whose written work I admire.
  • Being able to spend this time with my family, all of whom are aspiring writers and artists in their own right.
The only real downside so far? My friend, Dr. Michael Collings, who is a FIXTURE at LTUE (he's only missed a couple of sessions in the 30+ year history of the conference) apparently failed to even get a formal invitation from this year's organizers. Not only is he a fixture here, he is a true scholar of speculative fiction and a great writer in his own right. (If you don't believe me, or haven't heard of him, click the link there on his name and take a gander.) Plus, it's one of the only times each year I get to sit with him and chat. It's been a real loss. SHAME ON YOU, LTUE. Granted, the loss was mitigated by being able to talk with his wife, the lovely and gracious Judi Collings, and of course his son, Michaelbrent.

Anyway, the conference runs through Saturday, February 14th. Once that's over, I can get back to layout work on Issue #1 of The Stronghold.

I promise.


Tim Shorts said...

Sounds like a blast Boric. And right up my alley. I used to attend several writing conventions a year, but none at all of late. This one sounds perfect though. Very, very cool. Have a blast!

The Happy Whisk said...

Happy Writing - Have fun.

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