Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Donuts and Not-So Distant Memories

by Julie Coulter Bellon

My daughter says I can’t blog about how busy I am anymore, so today I’m going to tell you that I am sitting here eating cream filled chocolate donuts with nothing else to do but reflect on the StoryMakers conference.

Shall I share a few highlights? Okay, I will.

When I arrived at the conference, I received my name badge which had several ribbons attached to it because I was on the conference committee, I was a presenter, on a panel, etc. etc., so there was a ribbon for each thing. It was quite an eyecatcher because of its sheer size. One lady came up to me and looked at the ribbons and said, "Whoa, you look like you know what you're doing." (Had her fooled, didn’t I!) But our own illustrious Kerry Blair took one look at them and said, "With all those ribbons, you could be the general of a small country."


Then Rob Well passed me in the hall and said, “oh good, you’re here. You’re the star of the opening ceremonies.” That made me nervous. I didn’t know what his twisted in a not-necessarily-evil type “master” mind had cooked up. But I went to the opening ceremony nonetheless and Rob had done a “History of StoryMakers,” which told how Rachel Nunes had come to America with nothing but a typewriter on her back, and her struggle to form StoryMakers. It was hilarious. Rob had me as the prim and proper Canadian ambassador of the group who was also the “moral backbone” with a secret. He exposed my secret nightlife as a not so prim and proper dancer--like a burlesque dancer or something. Not only did I have this secret, but apparently I also influenced others in the group to pose for swimsuit photos and to generally buck at all the rules. Rob, of course, had himself as the “eye candy,” and everyone got a big laugh out of that. It was a very funny presentation and one of the highlights of the conference.

I taught my class on “Self-Editing and Revision,” and how to create carnage and put it all back together. I thought it went well and I was very proud that my power point presentation worked even though the projector was acting up all day. I also sang "The Editing Hokey Pokey," in front of the entire class. That was an awesome and unforgettable moment. Haha. But everyone in my class had some great ideas, questions, and energy. I really enjoyed that.

Another highlight was the keynote speaker Dean Lorey. He had some amazing and funny experiences to share as a screenwriter, scriptwriter, and book writer. I think he is a talented man and I can’t wait to pick up his series, Nightmare Academy. If it has any of his wit and humor, I think I will enjoy it. He was so good-natured about Jeff Savage showing the picture of him wearing Stephenie Meyer’s prom dress for a charity event. He’s definitely had some unique experiences.

Seeing the winners of the First Chapter contest was wonderful, but seeing all the entrants reading their evaluations was satisfying, too, in the fact that I knew they’d gotten really good feedback from industry professionals and they would be helped on their writer’s journey. It was my own little personal highlight, just to see that and hope the best for them.

My book signing with Nancy Campbell Allen was another highlight. She is so funny and witty, and when Jeri Gilchrist came to the table, they were quite the duo. They’re just so much fun, I could have stayed there and just laughed along with them all evening.

Shanda and Hillary interviewed me for the LDS Women’s Book Review and totally made me feel at ease. They are two very classy ladies for sure.

Lisa Mangum was a joy to chat with at our lunch table. She even signed an ARC to me, “To Julie, the very best luncheon date I could ever have.” Love you Lisa! Can’t wait to start the book!

I could go on and on with all the fun times I had at the conference meeting up with old friends and making new ones, give thank yous to everyone who helped put it all together, and tell you all the things I learned in the breakout sessions (Jeff Savage’s character bible class was outstanding!), but I’m getting gooey chocolate all over my keyboard and it’s making a mess. I do want to give a special shout out and heartfelt thank you to my husband, though, who brought my baby to me every few hours so I could nurse her, and took time off of work so I could be at the conference. He is such an amazing support and I couldn’t do any of this without him. Love you!


At 4/30/2009 2:04 PM, Blogger LexiconLuvr said...

Your self-editing class was AWESOME! I loved that class and it's already helping A TON! It was great to meet you and I'm so jealous of Lisa's ARC (and the beautiful signing inside of it!)

At 4/30/2009 3:38 PM, Blogger Covington Sensation's said...

I too also went to your class. Loved your hokey pokey song! LOL!
I am very much looking forward to actually WRITING this year instead of telling everyone--"I'm a writer." AND then actually not reall have written anything. Thanks for the motivation!

At 4/30/2009 3:49 PM, Anonymous ally condie said...

Julie--I entered the first chapter contest because I so badly wanted the feedback (I struggle with first chapters more than any other part of the book when I'm writing). I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the feedback from the evaluators and how grateful I am for all the hard work you guys put into getting it to us.

At 4/30/2009 7:06 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

LexiconLuvr, I was SO glad I got to meet you in person at the conference. You are awesome!

CS, I'm glad you liked the song and the class. Motivation is hard to come by sometimes so I am glad I could help.

Ally, thank you for saying that. It is totally worth all the time and effort when you know the writer appreciates and values the feedback. So thank you again!

At 4/30/2009 7:55 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

Yes, your hokey pokey was stellar. Thanks for the class. It was great.

At 4/30/2009 8:19 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Julie, I'm so glad I got to see you this weekend! I'm pretty sure you have super powers--you're one of the most awesomely talented women I know.

At 5/01/2009 2:08 AM, Blogger Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Aw, Julie, I had fun at the signing, too! What I wouldn't give to sign next to you at one of those two-hour long signings. It was fun to get to know you and I look forward to next year!

At 5/01/2009 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your class was one of my favorites too. So much good information.

It was my first conference, so I didn't realize the caliber of writers who would be entering the contest, or I never would have entered.
I read my critiques planning to be totally annihilated by them, but instead, I found them very enlightening.
It made everything I had learned in the classes kick in and make sense.
(Kind of like a mini boot camp without the public humiliation! LOL)
What an incredible opportunity to have that kind of feedback from not one, but 5 different people!
...It almost made the embarrassment worth it! :-D
Thanks for all you do,

At 5/01/2009 4:01 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Thanks for your take on the conference, Julie. But now I'm peeved that I have "The Hokey Pokey" playing in my head.



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