Life, The Universe, & Everything this week at BYU

This week is the annual LTUE sci-fi/fantasy writing symposium at BYU.  I’m on a mess of panels and doing a signing.  This isn’t really a Con. There are no people in costume, but if you are interested in becoming a writer, or you are a writer and you want to get some new tips and tricks, then LTUE is absolutely awesome.

This is my 4th year at LTUE. Last year I was a special guest. This year, though I’ve sold 4X as many books, I’m a regular guest. Go figure. It doesn’t really make a lick of difference anyway. Every year has been filled with good stuff. This is where I did that 2 hour presentation with John Brown last year that ended up on Youtube. (we’re doing a 1 hour version this year because of time constraints).

We are in a different building this year. I don’t know my way around BYU at all. I think we’re like 4 blocks north of where we were before. Last year I got a parking ticket. Crafty BYU and your camoflaged No Parking signs.

It is free for BYU students but anybody else would have to pay $25.

I’ve highlighed the panels/things that I’m going to be at in bold.

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

9:00 AM:
– Best and worst writing advice ever given
(Anna del C Dye (M), Mette Ivie Harrison, Tyler Whitsides, Frank L.
Cole, James Dashner)
– Mormons and the Paranormal
(Blake Casselman, Nathan Shumate, Scott Parkin (M), Eric Swedin)
– The impact of free ebooks on retail sales of printed works at
Deseret Book
(Dr. David Wiley)

10:00 AM:
– First Contact stories
(Helge Moulding, Eric James Stone (M), Roger White)
– Using the scriptures as a basis for fiction
(Michael R. Collings, Laura Lind, Scott Parkin (M), Bree DeSpain)
– Writing Action
(Larry Correia) This one is all me. I did a panel like this at UVU last year and it went great.

11:00 AM:
– Self-Publication pros and cons
(Jessica Douglas (M), LuAnn Staheli, Sandra Tayler, Anna del C Dye)
– Poetic license vs. authorial obligation
(Clint Johnson, Eric Swedin, Robin Weeks (M), Julie Wright)
– How to Scare People
(Dan Wells)
– Masons: Fact versus Fiction
(Kevin Tucker)

– Killer Openings: the first paragraph will make or break your story.
(Steve Walker, Lisa Mangum, Dene Low (M), Jessica Day George)
– Building believable aliens and monsters
(Helge Moulding (M), Howard Tayler, Dan Willis
– Coloring Workshop with Colored Pencil Tips
(Sarah B. Seiter)
“Portrayals of the Holocaust: Maus and Magneto Testament”
Derek Steele

1:00 PM:
– Time Travel, Parallel Universes, and Quantum Physics: In a parallel
universe somewhere, you’ve already attended this session and know all
about how wave theory, super-strings, quantum entanglement, and things
like noetics bear on frequent sci-fi concepts like time travel and
mirror Earths, but since you’re not in that universe and don’t have a
map to get to it, you might want to attend this panel and get some
insight into actual physics . . . or just enough gobbledy-gook to make
your next story sound credible even though it’s quite fantastic.
Remember, in some universe, you are bound to be a well-known, well-
paid, best-selling author, adored by fans, critics, and even your
mother-in-law. Why not make this universe be that universe?
(Paul Genesse, Laura Lind (M), Eric James Stone,
– Dealing with Deadlines
(Rebecca Shelley (M), Emily Sorensen, Elana Johnson)
– Camera techniques for drawing
(Jessica Douglas (M), Brian Hailes, AJ Bell/Chris Weston)
“Ten Steps to Overnight Success, Or How It Only Took a Decade To Get
Michaelbrent Collings

2:00 PM:
– Writing Strong Female Characters
(Sheila A. Neilson, Aleta Clegg (M), Clint Johnson, Jessica Day
George, Bree DeSpain)
– Plots, Subplots, and Foreshadowing
(Howard Tayler, Dan Willis (M), Larry Correia)
– Beyond Orcs and Elves: Diversity in Fantasy and Science Fiction for
Young Readers
Recent cover whitewashing controversies and the internet discussion
tagged #RaceFail have brought to light how little diversity can be
found in fantasy and science fiction for young readers. We’ll discuss
the history of diversity in these books, including
diversification through fantasy races that all share the same traits,
and ways for authors to consider diversifying their own stories. We’ll
also discuss writing cross-culturally, cultural awareness, issues of
appropriation, and other things to consider as you write.
(Stacy Whitman)

3:00 PM:
– Contemporary/urban fantasy
(Michael Young, Larry Correia, Dan Wells (M), Leslie Muir Lytle)
– Slush Piles and what not to do when submitting your writing
(Ami Chopine (M), Lisa Mangum, Brad R. Torgersen, James Dashner)
– Drawing Humanoids
Improve your figure drawing and your doodling with this rundown of the
underlying proportions and shapes of the human body.
(Rebecca Jensen)
“The Meek Shall Inherit: Why An Aristocrat Will Never Save the Universe”
Kathryn Olsen

On that last one, what about Prince Roger or Miles Vorksogian?

4:00 PM:
– Dystopias/Utopias
(Robison Wells, James Dashner, Jessia Day George (M), Lesli Muir Lytle)
– The Writing Life: how to set and keep goals, how to prioritize.
(Angie Lofthouse, Julie Wright (M), Sandra Tayler, Berin Stephens)
– What is the McAuliffe Space Education Center Presentation
(Aleta Clegg)
“The Path of Self Destruction: A Villain’s Guide to Manipulating the
Good Guys”
Amy Jones

5:00 PM:
– The art of podcasting (podcasting)
(Howard Tayler, Dan Wells (M), Robison Wells)
– Pay It Forward: Help other writers, and you’ll end up helping
yourself. Topics we’ll tackle include mentoring, managing expectations
of other writers, when it’s appropriate to pitch ideas to other
professionals, the downside of too much shameless self-promotion, and
building a writer’s community for support.
(Paul Genesse, Elana Johnson, Robin Weeks (M), Tristi Pinkston)
– Digital vs. traditional tools in Art
(Jessica Douglas, Rebecca Jensen (M), Sarah B. Seiter, Jess Smart Smiley
, AJ Bell/Chris Weston, Steve Keele, Isaac Stewart)
Reading: Dene Low

6:00 PM:
– The Lure of Horror
(Michael R. Collings, Eric Swedin, Eric James Stone (M), J. Scott
Savage, Blake Casselman)
– Marketing and Publicity–what can you do?
(Stacy Whitman (M), Bree DeSpain, James Dashner, Dene Low, Elana
Closet Costuming
(Heather Monson (M), Jessica Harmon, Sarah B. Seiter)
Reading: Julie Wright

7:00 PM:
– Comics and Webcomic
(Brian Hailes, Rebecca Jensen, Jess Smart Smiley, Emily Sorensen (M),
Jake Black)
– Does Your Book Have a Soundtrack?
(Aleta Clegg (M), Sheila A. Nielson, Michael Young, Berin Stephens,
Bree DeSpain)
– Creating A Fictional Language (session 1)
(Nathan Richardson, Dr. Elzinga)
Reading: Eric Swedin

8:00 PM:
– Superheroes
(Nathan Shumate, Jake Black)
– Streamlining your fiction
(Michaelbrent Collings (M), Clint Johnson, Rebecca Shelley, Berin
– Creating A Fictional Language (session 1, cont.)
(Nathan Richardson, Dr. Elzinga)
Reading: Aleta Clegg

Friday, February 18th, 2011

9:00 AM:
– Writing for LDS markets
(Lisa Mangum, Julie Wright (M), Berin Stephens, Tristi Pinkston)
– How to research, when to stop, and what to use
(Dene Low (M), Eric Swedin, Scott Parkin, J. Scott Savage)
– Fairy Tale Presentation
(Dr. Jill Rudy, Hailey Evans, Kristy Stewart)

10:00 AM:
– How to write a good short story
(Angie Lofthouse, Eric James Stone, Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury (M), Dave
– Tracy Hickman Presentation
“Tohu Wabohu; or, There is no room in which there is no void, and no
void in which there is no room: An essay on Michael Collings’ Into the
Harlow Soderberg Clark
Reading: James Dashner

11:00 AM:
Main Address: Steve Keele

– What is an agent, and what can they do for you?
(Tyler Whitsides, James Dashner, Lesli Muir Lytle, Robin Weeks (M))
-Charisma is not a dump stat: The real world importance of personal
appearance and social skills in achieving your creative dreams.
(Howard Tayler, Jake Black (M), Tracy Hickman)
– Romance vs. Story with Romantic Elements: Injecting romance into
saving the world
(John Brown (M), Ami Chopine, Stacy Whitman, Lynn Kurland)
– Map Making for Writers. There’s some nice freeware online to help
writers make nice-looking maps for their books and for worldbuilding.
(Isaac Stewart)
Reading: Eric James Stone

1:00 PM:
– Dialog Tags and Speech Patterns
(Michaelbrent Collings, Lynn Kurland, Tyler Whitsides, Angie
Lofthouse, Dave Wolverton (M))
– Starting, Finding, and Getting the Most Out of a Writing Group
(Sheila A. Nielson, LuAnn Staheli, Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury (M),
Tristi Pinkston)
– Drawing graphic novels
(Brian Hailes, Rebecca Jensen (M), Jess Smart Smiley, Emily Sorensen,
AJ Bell/Chris Weston)
– One on one Poetry Workshop
Bring a poem to Dr.Collings and he will go over it line by line with
you and help you make it better.
(Michael R. Collings)
– “Space Warfare: Problems in Perspective and Strategy”
Frank Hennis
Reading: Nathan Shumate

2:00 PM:
– Characters’ morals/theology vs. authors’
(Aleta Clegg (M), Hickman, Brad R. Torgersen, James Dashner)
– The Problem of Sequels
(Anna del C Dye, Mette Ivie Harrison, Larry Correia (M), Bree DeSpain,
Jessica Day George)
– Storyboarding
(Brian Hailes (M), Jess Smart Smiley, AJ Bell/Chris Weston, Steve Keele)
“Edgar Allan Poe and the Deep Structure of Inception”
Dr. Perry
Reading: Rebecca Shelley

3:00 PM:
– Collaboration
(Blake Casselman (M), Brian Hailes, Jake Black, Tracy Hickman)
– SF-Fantasy-Horror Poetry: how does it differ from mainstream poetry
in language, structures, devices
(Michael R. Collings, Charlene Harmon (M), Karen C. Evans)
– Plotstorming from Character: In some cases the plot of a book drives
the characters. However, characters that instead drive the plot can
make for a more compelling story. In this hour, we focus on how to
grow your plot from your main characters.
(Paul Genesse)
– When Plants Go Bad
(Dan Lind)
Reading: Dan Wells (3:00 – 3:25)
Reading: Berin Stevens (3:25 – 3:50)

4:00 PM:
– Space travel without warp drive
(Helge Moulding (M), Eric James Stone, Roger White, Berin Stephens,
Frank Hennis)
– Rewriting to Greatness–Five editing techniques to help improve your
(Dave Wolverton)
– The Protagonist Compass.
(J. Scott Savage)
– Languages in Fantasy
(Caroline Steele)
Reading: Michael Young (4:00 – 4:25)
Reading: Jessica Day George (4:25 – 4:50)

5:00 PM:
– What You Can And Can’t Do In A YA Novel
(Mette Ivie Harrison (M), Elana Johnson, Bree DeSpain, Robison Wells,
J. Scott Savage)
– Scriptwriting
(Nathan Shumate (M), Blake Casselman, Dave Wolverton, Jake Black)
– Drawing Oceanic Beasties
(Jessica Douglas)
“Bella as Mother-Savior: The Powerful Feminine Journey of
Transformation and Choice in The Twilight Saga”
Karie Crawford
Reading: Roger White

6:00 PM:
– The Horror, the Horror!
(Nathan Shumate, Dan Wells (M), Julie Wright)
– How NOT to talk down to your YA audience
(Michaelbrent Collings, Clint Johnson (M), Stacy Whitman, James
Dashner, Frank L. Cole)
– How to get and develop killer story ideas
(John Brown, Larry Correia)
Reading: Lesli Muir Lytle

7:00 PM:
– Writing for Comics
(Blake Casselman, Emily Sorensen (M), AJ Bell/Chris Weston, Jane Black)
– Lessons on Story from THE HUNGER GAMES
(John Brown)
– Creating a Fictional Language (session 2, cont.)
(Nathan Richardson, Dr. Elzinga)

8:00 PM:
– Zombies: They’re still here!
(Aleta Clegg (M), Nathan Shumate, Frank L. Cole,
– The Devil’s Snare
(Brian Hailes & Blake Casselman)
– Creating a Fictional Language (session 2)
(Nathan Richardson, Dr. Elzinga)
– Filking

Larry Correia sneaks out with several other writers and plays a game of Legend of the Five Rings to represent the honor of Crab Clan. Hida Bushi all the way, baby.
Saturday, February 19th, 2011

9:00 AM:
– What I wish I had done, if I could do it all over again – A Guide to
New Writers
(Lisa Mangum, Dave Wolverton, Brad R. Torgersen (M), Kathleen Dalton-
– Religion in Science Fiction: How to Make It Work
(Angie Lofthouse, Helge Moulding, Dan Willis (M), Michael R. Collings)
– Unicorns and Vampires meet real life–how to use sci-fi/fantasy in
the classroom
(Amy Jones, Aleta Clegg (M), LuAnn Staheli)
– Killer Breakfast
(Tracy Hickman)  I’m totally going to this one. I’ve heard legends of Tracy’s Killer Breakfasts. Think comedy improv with situations run by a living legend.

10:00 AM:
– What Exactly Does an Editor Do, Anyway?
(Lisa Mangum, Suzanne Vincent, Stacy Whitman (M), Tristi Pinkston,
Karen C. Evans, Dave Wolverton, LuAnn Staheli)
– How to recover from writing slumps (from family, illness, work,
laziness, whatever)
The writer/artist and health (probably with a strong sub-topic of
depression and how to deal)
(Ami Chopine, Jessica Douglas, Howard Tayler (M), Berin Stephens)
– Killer Breakfast (cont.)
(Tracy Hickman)
– A librarian’s view of what kinds of novels kids are reading and
publishers are buying.
(Sheila A. Neilson)
– Creating Fantasy Art
(Daniel Hughes)

11:00 AM:
Main Address: James Dashner

– Can a YA protagonist have adventures and still have a family?
(Tyler Whitsides, Mette Ivie Harrison (M), Lesli Muir Lytle, J. Scott
– Military on Military SF
(Roger White, Brad R. Torgersen, Frank Hennis, Steve Harmon (M))
– Anime and Manga–what it is; what’s good in SFF
(Stacy Whitman (M), Jessica Harmon, Scott Parkin, Joe Monson,
Charlotte Randle)
“Zombies and You: A guide to what does and does not constitute an
Ross Wolfe
– Lucky 13 Writing Workshop
(Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury)
Signings in 1188: Jake Black, Larry Correia, David Farland, Paul
Genesse, Tracy Hickman, Dan Wells

1:00 PM:
– Archaeology in SF Media
(Jessica Harmon, Charlotte Randle)
– Writing Excuses Podcast
(Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, Dave Wolverton, Tracy Hickman)
– How the Internet is shaping our kids and our future
(Eric Swedin, Sandra Tayler)
“Jacen Solo’s Journey of Self-Discovery”
Carolyn Bawden
– Bell/Weston presentation
Signings in 1188: Jaleta Clegg, Frank L. Cole, James Dashner, Mette
Ivie Harrison, J. Scott Savage, Eric James Stone

2:00 PM:
– Fractured Fairy Tales
(Paul Genesse, Suzanne Vincent, Scott Parkin (M), Jessica Day George,
– Building believable economies/politics
(Dan Willis, Eric Swedin (M), Roger White, David Ferro)
– Writing Excuses Podcast, cont.
(Howard Tayler, Dan Wells,
– Using the Open Source Program Stellarium in the classroom
(Laura Lind)
Signings in 1188: James Dashner, Bree Despain, Clint Johnson, Rebecca
Shelley, Lisa Mangum, Berin Stephens, Julie Wright, Michael D. Young

3:00 PM:
– Can your dreams pay your bills? A discussion of how to set up your
finances to facilitate your dreams. Managing money does not have to be
scary. We’ll begin by discussing basic budgeting and move into taxes,
self-employment and further organization you may need as your dream
(Rebecca Shelley, Ami Chopine, Sandra Tayler (M), Dave Wolverton,
Michael R. Collings)
– Humorous Horror: The Funny Side of Fear
(Aleta Clegg (M), Dan Wells, Eric James Stone,
– Pitching to agents/editors
(Elana Johnson)
– Psychology of the Samurai:
(Dr. A. L. Carlisle, Steve Harmon)
– Signings
in 1188: Jessica Day George, Dene Low, Sheila A. Nielson, Eric
Swedin, Brad R. Torgersen, Roger Bourke White Jr.

4:00 PM:
– Memorable Villains
(Leigh Averett (M), Larry Correia, Dan Willis, Steve Harmon)
– Why write genre books instead of something closer to “real life’?
Why write about worlds that don’t exist?
(Michael R. Collings, James Dashner (M), Tracy Hickman)
– Keele’s Korner, the Second Generation
(Joshua and Kevin Keele)
– Fights and Weaponsmasters: what to do when your character knows more
about fighting than you.
(Adam Meyers, Ben Isaacs)

5:00 PM:
– Regional Publishers
(Lisa Mangum, Dave Wolverton,
– Borrowing from historical and current events
(Dene Low (M), Paul Genesse, Michael Young,
– How to Make a Graphic Novel: From idea, to rough draft, to completed
draft. Collaborations: Making the most out of team-produced comics.
How to join writing and drawing talents to make a cohesive story.
(Dan Willis (M), Jake Black, AJ Bell/Chris Weston

6:00 PM:
– Regional Publishers
– Why we Love Lovecraft
(Eric Swedin (M), Michael Hall, Dan Wells) Probably going to sit in the audience for this one. I’m a sucker for Lovecraft. We have the same birthday. 🙂
– The Business of Art
(Jessica Douglas, Brian Hailes, Howard Tayler, Sarah B. Seiter (M),
Steve Keele)
– Ecology and Evolution
(Dr. Stephen L. Peck)

7:00 PM:
LTUE Banquet ($20/person, seating limited) Tickets must be purchased
by 10 PM on February 16. There will be no tickets available at the

And somewhere in there I think I’m supposed to be guesting on Writing Excuses again.

Back from LTUE
Delay on patches

13 thoughts on “Life, The Universe, & Everything this week at BYU”

    1. (M) stands for moderator. It’s who keeps the panel going and who typically makes up discussion questions for the members of the panel before the audience gets involved.

  1. Wheeeee! I can’t wait! It’s going to be three days of epic writing nerdness!

    I’m coming to the “Writing Action, Plots, Subplots and Foreshadowing, Killer story ideas, and Urban Fantasy.”

    So Thursday is basically going to be “Larry day” LOL.

    No I’m not a stalker. ;-P

    1. It was a hilarious lecture. Dan Willis was fun, too. Plenty of Michael Bay and George Lucas-bashing, as well as some great puns, advice on plotting, and why deus ex machina can work if you do it right.

      Be sure to come next year.

  2. Hi. Please post any links to video or audio from LUTE for those of us who couldn’t make it. Thanks.


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