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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Conference Report - Part 2

            Alright, here is the second half of my report on LDStoryMakers12.

Creating An Awesome Author Website
with Marion Jensen and Able Keogh

            Marion use Josi Kilpack’s blog as an example of what a good web page should include. If you want ideas of what you can do with yours just visit Josi’s site.

-         Suggested that the landing page (the main page that people are directed to when they visit your website) should have the author’s name prominently displayed, a good picture of the author, a picture or description of what the web page is about (which should be your books), and a brief bio.

-         Include items on the webpage that will be of interest to your fans. For example, Josi includes recopies on her site that play off the unique nature of her culinary mysteries. Whatever your stories are about there will be something you can include that your fans will find interesting.

Creating White-knuckle Chills and Bone-chilling Suspense
with Gregg Luke

            Gregg went into detailed explanation of the six elements of suspense.

            - The six elements that create suspense are: 3-Dimensioanl characterization, good pacing, anticipation, detailing each scene, resolution of conflict, and trimming all the fat.

Creating Page-Turners with the Elements of Suspense
with Rachelle Christensen

            Rachelle described the methods of creating suspense in your writing.

-         “There is no terror in a bang – only in the anticipation of it.” Alfred Hitchcock.

-         Give each character something to worry about and something to hope for.

-         Use setting and description to evoke suspense. (A scene that takes place in a dark, abandoned house is much more suspenseful than one that takes place in bright, cheery outdoor café.)

-         Villains need to evoke a sense of suspense and fear.

-         Keep the stakes high for the protagonist.

-         Create questions in the reader’s mind that they will need to continue reading to get the answer.

Creating a Podcast from Scratch
with Jeff Savage, Howard Tayler, and Robin Weeks

            In addition to the technical aspects of the class they discussed the fundamentals that need to be established before you start creating the content of the podcast.

            - Is there something I really want to talk about?

            - Who will be on the podcast?

            - What is the theme of the podcast?

            - How often will we post?

            Then they went on to discuss the actual technical prep for podcasting.

-         What microphone is right for you? (Based on their comments, unless you need serious production value from it you could use the Logitech Clear Chat Comfort / USB Headset that runs about $30.)

-         What editing software is available? (Audacity is free to be downloaded from the internet and allows you to record audio files and edit them.)

-         You will need web hosting. No recommendations were made since there are so many options out there, but they did mention BlueHost and PodBean.com.

(I worked this week on getting ready to podcast. PodBean not only will host the podcasts, but you can do all the recording and editing on their site as well. As for hosting, I took a look at Weebly and it hosts my webpage for free as opposed to the nominal charge that BlueHost requires. Those are just my observations and not part of what Jeff, Howard, and Robin talked about.)

Writing Young Adult Novels that Kids Want to Read 
with Janette Rallison

            It took me a few minutes to realize that I took this class last year. I stuck around anyway because Janette does such a great job with it. The one thing I’d like to point out is that I feel this class applies to writing in general and that makes it a wonderful class for getting your writing tuned-up. However, there were a few points that applied specifically to YA novels.

-         Protagonists should be a year or two older than the target audience.

-         Include issues that teens care about. Like dating.

-         Make it fast moving.

-         Should be 200-300 pages in length.

-         Often written in First Person POV, but can be third.

-         Teens relate to a more conversational voice.

-         Use shorter, easier to read sentences.

How to Blog Like a Pro
with Elana Johnson

            Elana is a master at platform building. And a really nice person too.

-         Build your author franchise with these 5 platforms: Twitter, FaceBook, GoodReads, an author website, and a newsletter.

-         ARCS are good prizes. Books are good prizes. Entice the fans that visit your social medias with contests that offer these prizes.

-         Headers and sidebars are good places to promote your book.


The conference humbled me, in a good way, by pointing out my writing flaws. And if you are going to come to that realization then there is no better place to do it than the LDStorymaker conferences. This breakthrough on my part comes from my first chapter contest experience. It taught me that thinking I can coast through the writing process is foolishness. At the point that any of us fail to give the writing process the respect it requires we stop progressing as writers.

Please, don’t let my comments at the end here lead you to think that the conference was anything but an educational and uplifting experience put on by a host of friendly and warm individuals. I love this conference and hope I can continue to make the trip north each year to attend.


  1. Thanks for including the podcast info. I wish I would have attended. However, I didn't know 4 weeks ago that I want to start a podcast. It really helps!

    1. You are welcome. Feel free to e-mail me if you want further information. Not that I know alot, but I might be able to help some.

  2. So much great advice in so many areas! Thanks for sharing. I've never tried a podcast, and would kind of like to, but right now I feel like I can't tackle one more thing... maybe in the summer :)

    1. I understand that. If I were sane, I'd wait awhile before I tried podcasting. Maybe I'll do a post on podcasting after I've done a few.

  3. I love your point that we have to give the writing process the respect it deserves. I'm always reminded of that at conferences too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these classes.

    1. Me too! Writing is hard and it deserves to be treated as a life-long learning art.

    2. Thanks. I was worried that my comments would mark me as an arrogant know-it-all. I'm glad I could contribute something that was helpful in some way. Hope to see you again next year.