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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Convey an Established Relationship Quickly + Storymakers + Update

Hi everyone! Things have been crazy for me lately and life has been incredibly busy, but I have somehow survived to May 8th, 2018. 

First off, I have a writing tip up this week at WritersHelpingWriters.net, so instead of reading this week's tip here, I'll direct you there (if you are new to my blog, you should know that this is atypical), but here is a teaser if you are into that stuff and are trying to decide if you really want to follow that link. ;)

How to Convey an Established Relationship Quickly

I was recently reading two story openings that were frankly amazing at conveying an established relationship in a matter of pages or even paragraphs. While many stories revolve around the protagonist meeting new people, such as in a typical hero’s journey plot, perhaps even more stories revolve around relationships that are established before the novel begins.

Many new writers have a difficult time conveying such relationships quickly, and to be honest, it can even be tricky for more experienced writers to figure out sometimes, especially if the relationship is very significant.

Whether you are working with best friends, significant others, parents and children, schoolmates, rivals, or downright enemies, here are several methods that can help.

Communicate what’s normal.

Every established relationship has been . . . well . . . established, meaning it has behaviors and attitudes that are typical in it. In one of the story openings I recently read, the protagonist had to deal with two, mean, cruel older sisters. First the meanness was rendered and then validated through narration. In the second one, what was normal of two brothers was simply conveyed through the way they talked to one another. In both cases, I immediately had context for what was typical.

Refer to or imply an off-page history.

Every established relationship has a history: how the characters met, what events have taken place between them, and how they got to where they are now. In some cases, they may have a “reoccurring history.”

. . . You can read the whole post here

And I actually got to meet Becca Puglisi in real life over the weekend and thank her (and Angela) for all the opportunities and support they have given me and my blog over the years. I love being a part of Writers Helping Writers, and their books are amazing resources for writers. If you don't have The Emotion Thesaurus, you need it.


This last week I attended the Storymakers Conference, which is definitely still my favorite writing conference I've ever been to. Here are a few quick reasons why:

- TONS of amazing information about writing and working in the industry from professionals

- Awesome events: every year the conference has a first chapter contest, pitch sessions, and get-togethers

- Food. It might seem simple, but I love that Storymakers takes care of attendees' meals and that they are included in the ticket prices, so we don't have to worry about what to eat or if we will go hungry.

- Friendly and amazing people. Storymakers is probably my favorite conference to meet new people. Attendees and faculty are so friendly and easy to talk to but it's not so over-the-top that it leaves me feeling suspicious or that people have an ulterior motive. (I'm sometimes suspicious of too much friendliness, to be honest!)

- The faculty and organizers are amazing! I love that they fly in amazing authors, agents, and editors from all over (including New York) and also accommodate and cherish those in this part of the states.

I could go on, but suffice it to say that I always feel well taken care of, the conference has never been a disappointment, and it has always felt simultaneously very professional and very fun (not to mention the prices for all that it entails are amazing).

This year was a very special year in particular because I actually got to teach a class! And I also had a vendor table ^_^ 

Storymakers was the first writing conference I ever attended, back in 2010, and so being on the other side--the faculty side--was really special to me. 

I will admit I was nervous to teach and have a table. Sure, I've taught before, but not at this conference. However human beings can do hard things, and it all turned out fine :) Thanks to everyone who came or stopped by my table and all the fun people I got to meet in real life. Somehow I ended up with the vendor table that got the most traffic--I'm still not sure how that happened, but I am definitely not complaining! 

I wanted to bring back a few signed books--like one of Shannon Hale's or The Emotion Theasaurus--to give away on here, but I wasn't thinking and of course by the time I made it to the bookstore, they were all sold out. 

If you are thinking of going to a writing conference, I highly recommend Storymakers.You only need to take a scroll through the special guest list and faculty list to get an idea for how amazing it is. 

Thank you to everyone who made the conference amazing!

Funny Story

Real quick I did want to share something funny that happened at the conference. I decided to make some stickers that I could hand out to people. Even though five writerly people checked my material for typos . . . there somehow still was one 🤦

And the worst part?

It made the sentence completely scandalous. 

Can you spot it?

It's says "I'd be easier" instead of "It'd be easier."

😂 🤣 😂

Yup, and that's how I started my conference experience. Since I couldn't fix it, I decided to roll with the punches and just say, "I'd be easy for a Weasley."

But it gets better.

I had four different stickers (as you can see at the top of this post), and I gave away more scandalous stickers than any other one 😂 (and I made sure to point out the typo so people were aware).

And it's the only sticker I ran completely out of. 

(Though I did tell people it was limited edition because it won't be back next year!)

So it all worked out and ended up even being a good thing. 


Other than the conference, life has still been keeping me really busy. Fawkes Editing is going really well, and since I started freelancing seven months ago, I've never not had work! (How is it May already?)

I'm planning on attending Salt Lake Comic Con again this fall, and I'll also be teaching at the LDSPMA conference in early November. 

And of course, I'll be back next week with a new writing tip. You can check out all my writing tips in the index

Have a great week!

Me with fellow writers Charlie Pulsipher, Helen Boswell, and Shallee McArthur (in case you were wondering, this isn't typical of writing conferences, but one of the vendors had a fun photo shoot area with costumes!)


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