John Brown will keynote at American Fork Arts Council writers conference

The city of American Fork is putting on what looks to be a great writer’s conference. I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve been asked to present the keynote speech.

Keynote: The 3 Things You Must Learn to Write Killer Stories
When: Saturday, April 25, 2009, 9:00 AM
American Fork City Arts Council
31 N. Church Street
American Fork, UT 84003

This looks like a great opportunity if you’re a writer. Here’s what the organizers envision.

We have editors from Desert Book, Covenant and Cedar Fort coming to speak as well as National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr, Kristen Langdon, Ginger Churchill, Linda Bethers, Anita Stansfield and others. The goal is to provide a space for local writers to interact with local editors and local authors for inspiration, motivation and guidance in the tricky world of writing and publishing. To that end, the editors will be holding a query letter clinic using query letters from participants, which I think will be super useful. The editors are also speaking on what they want and don’t want as far as submissions, and the state of regional publishing in 2009 given the world upheaval. The authors will all be speaking on how they got an agent, how they got a book deal, what they have learned about writing.

More info: American Fork Arts Council

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3 Responses to John Brown will keynote at American Fork Arts Council writers conference

  1. bdayton says:

    Hey John! I really really enjoyed the workshop, and I’m hoping to get from Pocatello down to American Fork so that I can check this out as well. I looked on their site, but couldn’t find the time that it starts. Can you give me any help?

    By the way, I’ve done my 10-20 stories, problems, and characters, and I’m loving it. I’m finally fired up about trying to get something written. I haven’t gotten down to actually putting pen to paper yet, but I’m going to make sure I get through my ten to twenties first. Just thought you’d like to know that they’re really helpful. Although, to be honest, I feel like I’m just being punched in the face by the same themes and ideas, and I’ve only done three. I guess that just means I have some really strong and obvious draws. Take care, and let me know if you have any clue what time the conference starts at. If you’d like you can email me at

  2. John Brown says:

    The conference starts at 9 AM. At least that’s what I know now. They wanted me to kick it off with the Killer Story workshop.

    I am SO glad to hear you found the workshop helpful, as well as the 10-to-20’s. It’s eye-opening, isn’t it? But it’s also freeing to recognize what it is that draws you.

    There’s another part to this that has to do with text. There will be more 10-to-20’s that go along with it. But I think I’ll be trying to create that presentation as a video for the site. We’ll see. Right now I’ve got to finish CODG. But when you finish the ones I assigned, I suggest you add these.

    1. BEGINNINGS. Go to the bookstore or library and pick up 10 to 20 random fiction books off the shelves and then sit down with them. Pick up each and read the first two pages. Note which ones pull you in and which resist you. Identify what you think the differences are.

    2. 3 GRUNTS. Find 10 to 20 short stories or chapters from different books. Read them over three or four days. While reading make a note of when your interst flagged because it was unclear, unbelievable, or boring (i.e. you grunt huh? come on? or who cares?). When you’ve finished, look for the patterns that caused this response in you. This is one of the key things we did in Card’s boot camp that made me feel like the mists were being parted.

    3. ENDS. Look at the endings to 10 to 20 novels or short stories that you’ve read. Identify which you enjoyed the most and which you did not. Look for causes. See what patterns emerge.

    4. SMALL BEGINNINGS AND ENDS. Do the beginnings and ends analysis 10 to 20 chapters and then 10 to 20 scenes.

    Of course, you can look at anything this way–plot turns, magic systems, aliens, settings, dialogue exchanges. Get 10 to 20 of them. Identify which are interesting to you and which aren’t. And then try to see the patterns.

  3. Ami Chopine says:

    That does sound like a great conference. Better than anything the Utah Council for the Arts has pulled off. (Though LUW has some good stuff going) Interesting.

    I should make my city do that.