The 3 Things You Must Learn to Write Killer Stories: Feb 20 @ BYU

Mark your calendars!!

The free, 2009 Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium at BYU will run Thursday – Saturday, February 19 – 21.

The speical guests are Tracy & Laura Hickman (Dragonlance authors) and James C. Christensen (yes, the amazing fantasy artist). But there will be more than a dozen other authors there, including: L.E. Modesitt, Brandon Mull, James Dashner, Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, Mette Ivie Harrison, Eric James Stone, Howard Tayler, and a number of others.
Here’s what I’ll be doing:

  1. Panel: The Principles of Suspense. Fri, Feb 20, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
  2. Workshop: The 3 Things You Must Learn to Write Killer Stories. Fri, Feb 20, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  3. Panel: Myth and Mythology in SF&F. Sat, Feb 21, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
  4. Reading: from the forthcoming novel and a few of my other published works, Sat, Feb 21, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

If you want to write fiction, you’ll want to attend the workshop. And if you’ve attended the workshop before, know that I’ve made some significant updates to the workshop content for 2009. I’m always learning, and so each time I teach this I’m able to provide more insight.

You’ll also want to carefully review the whole schedule. There are tons of panels with professional authors on them that are going to be both useful and interesting to writers.

My workshop focuses on three incredibly important things.  In the beginning, I didn’t know these key things, and that ignorance stymied all my writing efforts for years. Once I learned them, the way was opened. There was still a lot of work involved. But these principles increased my output of quality material 1000% (literally). The principles allowed me to write the story that got me my current three-book contract from Tor.

I’ve taught it now more than a dozen times to all sorts of fiction writers and they’re telling me they’re finding it very useful. You’re going to love this stuff, and I always enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with other writers. The three things are:

  1. What a story really is. We’re not talking narrative taxonomy, although that’s included. It’s focused on the story effect upon the reader. And why this is one of the most important things you need to understand when writing fiction.
  2. Parts & principles. Key principles of character, problem, plot, setting, and text as they relate to #1.
  3. The creative process. The simple but powerful principles of how to get ideas. How to develop them into story. Why writer’s block is a gift and how to use it to produce MORE. Plus a number of other creative principles I wished I’d known.

It’s a highly interactive workshop. Again, the whole symposium, including the workshop, is free. I don’t know another place where you can learn from so many professionals for such a great price.

Hope to see you there!!

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4 Responses to The 3 Things You Must Learn to Write Killer Stories: Feb 20 @ BYU

  1. Hezekiah says:

    I attended John’s workshop last year at LTUE. Honestly, it was one of the better, more applicable sessions of the three days. I’ll be there again, this year.

    By the way, how did you measure the quality of your output to determine that it was 1000% better?

  2. John Brown says:

    Good question. The % figure was for quality production, not just quality, and it was actually about 3,000% in production and 2,000% in stuff that sold.

    Pre-insight production: Many attempts, but only 1 story in 5 years. 10,000 words. It won a 1st prize in the WOTF, but it was only 1 story.

    Post-insight production: 2 novels, 3 novelettes, & 3 short stories in 3 years. About 430,000 words. Sold 2 of the novelettes, 1 of the shorts, and 1 of the novels (plus two more from the outline). I expect after some revision, that I will sell another of the novelettes and a short.

    That’s how I got the number. I’d say it was a significant change 🙂

  3. Hezekiah says:

    So, basically you measure quality based on sales. The assumption is that quality work sells. That’s what I was thinking yesterday on my way home from work, “The likelihood of your book selling is greatly increased if it doesn’t suck.”

    Of course, one has to wonder how much quality work goes unsold, for whatever reason. I imagine there are many reasons.

  4. John Brown says:

    That’s true. However, I don’t know that quality always translates into more sales. I recently posted about product popularity and an interesting research study. According to that study quality only accounted for 50% of the results. The rest was random. So I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff out there that could find an audience but still goes unsold.