Scarlett Kol | YA Fantasy Author

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On Sunday I got back from Dallas and the RT Booklovers Convention. It was 5 days of workshops, parties, and events that left me excited, inspired, and absolutely exhausted.

For a word nerd like me it was like finding my mother ship. Everyone wanted to talk about books and authors amid the forest of 8 ft high book cover banners and the occasional cover model donning a cowboy hat.

Although I could do a post of just the hilarious things I overheard or my favorite scores in my book haul, conferences are to educate, so here is my top ten list of things I learned at RT2015.

 

1. “For your book to have weight there needs to be irrevocable things that your characters can’t make right.” – Charlaine Harris

Life happens. Whether you are the shy quiet girl in the back of the classroom in love with the quarterback, or more super than Superman, things happen in our lives that are beyond our control.  In fantasy this point can sometimes be overlooked since we can bring our characters back from the dead or travel back in time to change our mistakes. As writers we need to remember that no matter how powerful a character is they are still subject to absolutes that even they can’t fix. (For a great example of this, look at the Buffy episode “The Body”. Epic!)

 

2. You cannot live on coffee, champagne, and Hershey’s kisses for a week. It just can’t be done. (Note: This is not a challenge. Please don’t try this at home.)

 

3. “If you stay in this business long enough everything that can happen, good and bad, will happen to you.” – Tessa Gratton

This is actually a quote of a quote that Tessa Gratton was told when she started her writing career that she kindly passed on to a room full of avid writers. A writer can have tremendous success, then suddenly endure huge setbacks, then continue to peak and plummet for years to come. Part of being a writer is accepting that these things can and will happen, even to the greatest of artists, your choice is to pick yourself up and move on or quit.

 

4. Free books make people crazy.

I mean completely, 10 points on the Richter scale, gorilla wild, absolutely clinically CRAZY!! Any party that handed out free books had lines for days. People with arms full of brightly colored covers paraded through the halls with elated smiles like they’d just robbed the vaults at Gringott’s. The most egregious event was Entangled Publishing’s Candy & Spoons – a battle royale for a tower of books the height of a toddler. I left with fingernail marks in my forearms and I’m pretty sure they weren’t mine. Just sayin’.

 

5. “The more you write, the more you can write.” – Laura Kaye

Writing is just like exercise. Starting out you might not be able to bend over and touch your knees, but if you work at it you can have your palms flat on the floor in no time. The key things are writing consistently and pushing yourself just that little bit farther. I don’t see myself as the nine books a year type, but you never know.

 

6. Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter are the most lovely and hilarious people on the planet. Honorable mentions to Brendan Reichs, Cora Carmack, Jay Crownover, Kami Garcia, Mary Lindsey, Meg Cabot, and … pretty much every other author I met over the week.

 

7. Writers are a special kind of crazy and surrounding yourself with them can have amazing positive effects.

It didn’t matter what panel I went to or how famous/infamous an author was, everyone seemed to have the same type of complaints, insecurities, and goals. I also met a group of people in the same boat as me and it was wonderful to have people to commiserate and dream with. Writers get writers. Having writer friends can inspire you and push you to want to do better. Thanks guys : )

 

8. No matter how widely read you are, there is always some other fantastic author out there you’ve never heard of (I’m looking at you Jay Crownover).

 

9. Canada Customs will think you are insane if you tell them you have been out of the country for a week and only brought back hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds!) of dollars worth of books and a Starbucks mug.

 

10. Top ten lists are a great way to structure a blog post.

Lists are a quick way to organize your ideas and are written in short segments making them easy to read. Plus they’re just fun. Thank you to writer @celiamulder for that tip.

 

See you all in Vegas next year!!

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