Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Realm Makers 2015: A Report



Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

Ever since Realm Makers began two years ago, I've wanted to go. This year I did! Realm Makers is a writers conference organized by the Faith and Fantasy Alliance. Here is the Realm Makers mission:
To provide a faith-friendly symposium for writers and artists, focused on science fiction, fantasy, and all their sub-genres. Whether participating artists wish to gear their content for the inspirational or mainstream marketplace, they have a place at Realm Makers.

It was a blast!

I've been attending writers conferences for ten years now, but this was the first one that focused on speculative fiction. I was with my people. I was amazing.

Here are some highlights from my time there.



Sitting in the front row in David Farland's class. This man is a guru in regards to fiction writing and how Hollywood works. I really enjoyed listening to him teach and hearing about how he helped to make Harry Potter, Twilight, and Fablehaven into the successes they are. Oh, and he also taught Brandon Sanderson when he was a professor at BYU!


I got to hang out with six Enclave Publishing authors (formerly Marcher Lord Press) and the publisher/owner Steve Laube too. This was a delight, since I've known them all online for years, but hadn't met them all in person.


I got to see my new books for the first time. Steve at Enclave has re-packaged the Blood of Kings books in an effort to get them into bookstores. So, not only do they now have Enclave logos on the spines, they are each 100 pages shorter. This makes them skinnier (which is the only sad part), but it also makes the wholesale cost cheaper and friendlier to bookstores.


My friend John Otte was unable to attend, so I reinvented my Stephanie head-on-a-stick for John! Here is Gillian Adams and our friend Andrew Swearington posing with John (body double by our friend Chris Kolmorgen). Yeah, it's a little creepy, but we had a lot of fun with it.


I got to meet Kerry Nietz (in the Logan's Run costume) and Kirk DouPonce, who designed my book covers for the Blood of Kings trilogy, the Mission League, and the Go Teen Writers book too. You can see a few more of his covers on the display behind us. I HIGHLY recommend his work. Visit DogEared Design for more information.


I got to meet Donita K. Paul. FINALLY! We've been nearly meeting for years, and this time it finally happened. She and her daughter Evangeline Denmark taught a class on worldbuilding, and Donita told her class to go buy Storyworld First! All weekend people kept coming up to me saying that Donita told them to buy my book. I was completely surprised and honored. She is sweet, funny, humble... a delight. I'm thrilled to have had the chance to hang out with her. If you haven't read her Realm Walkers books, you should. They are great.


Another fellow I've been dodging for years: Robert Liparulo. This man was the keynote speaker for the Realm Makers conference and did a wonderful job of encourageing every writer in the room, myself included. In a nutshell, he gave two points: 1. STOP discouraging yourself, talking down to yourself, telling yourself you're no good, telling yourself you can't. And 2. GO out there and get the book done, submit it, make writing friends, keep track of each other. Write and enjoy it.

Good stuff, huh?



I met a Jedi family (Aaron, Doreen, and their sweet girl). They were totally awesome and won the prize for best cosplay.




I met up with some OYANers! Top picture: me and Mr. S. Middle picture: me and Adrienne. Bottom picture: Braden and me.

 

I met up with some Go Teen Writes! Top picture from left to right: Gillian, me, Chris, Victoria, and Rosalie. Bottom picture: Rosalie, Katie, Victoria, and Gillian.

I also got to hang out with my agent and meet with my new editor for the Kinsman Chronicles. Overall, it was a wonderful time. I highly recommend you all think about attending Realm Makers 2016.  

What have you been doing lately? Attend any writers conferences this year? Finish a book? Start a new one? Leave a comment and let me know.

19 comments:

  1. Realm Makers sounds awesome!! Maybe I'll get to go next year. :) I've been really busy lately--writing a WIP, prepping Illusion for a writing contest, etc. I'm also going to a writers conference in October.

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    1. You're entering Illusion in a writing contest? That's so coll! Which contest are you entering in? ~Savannah P.

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    2. Oops, that's supposed to say 'cool', sorry :). ~Savannah

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    3. Well, I entered it in my state's writers' association's contest back in May (and it finaled! Now I'm biting my fingernails until October, when the winners will be announced.) and now I'm entering it in PitchWars. Super excited!

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  2. Realm makers sounds so awesome. I haven't got around the book finishing thing yet, but I'm close! Very close. And I hope to plot out a new one soon :).

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  3. I'm finally restarting my draft of Transform (yes, it's the same one I've been saying I'd restart since May or June . . .) and beginning to work out my plan for NaNo. And procrastinating. A lot.

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    1. You and me both. Shall we procrastinate together?
      Nah, just kidding. :-)

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    2. You and me both. Shall we procrastinate together?
      Nah, just kidding. :-)

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  4. Currently I'm writing a Sleeping Beauty re-telling that I'm entering in a contest. I've barely started working on it, but I'm having a lot of fun with it so far :). ~Savannah

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  5. I've been working on my fantasy novel, which I've been working on for a long time. Finishing the first draft is my goal for the GTW summer challenge. I've really been focusing on it this summer, and whether or not I meet my goal, I've definitely made a dent in it, which I'm happy about! There's nothing like that feeling when everything finally starts coming together and making sense as a whole book instead of a bunch of random scenes that seem to have nothing to do with each other-- when the story actually starts to tell a story.

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  6. I've been wanting to go to Realm Makers! Hopefully I'll be able to next year. Do you know if they have in the same place every year, or move around?

    I'm revising my WIP right now...up to chapter nine, and I've rewritten almost all of it up to this point. *sigh* But it must be done.

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  7. Oh my goodness, it looked you had a great time! (From the pictures you took, it kind of reminds me of Comic Con, but for books.) Realm Makers sounds amazing!

    I'm trying to finish a book that I started this year. I'm writing a little a day and, so far, I'm in my 3rd chapter.

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  8. Wow, that conference looks awesome! (I kind of squealed at the OYANer pictures--and my family didn't react at all. Apparently I'm always like this...)

    I'm writing like crazy to finish my novel before the OYAN contest (I've got three days left, and as many chapters... Eesh), but once I'm done with that, I'm taking a nice long break from writing. XD

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  9. One day I when I have a job, I will go to this conference (and become a real writer, haha :P). Looks like awesome fun. You were in my state again. :D

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  10. Ha ha! Glad Stephanie-on-a-stick could live on!

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  11. I just finished the novel I'm working on and am starting a new one.

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  12. Love your report on the conference, Jill! I absolutely loved Realm Makers and I'm so glad I was able to attend this year. Definitely planning on going back next year. It'd be awesome to see more GTW folks there too!

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  13. I can only tell you how jealous I am and how proud of you too! So glad it was a success.

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