Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mount Hermon Report

I am back from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers' Conference. After teaching the teen track and leading critiquing sessions that lasted well past midnight, I am exhausted, yet pleased and satisfied. What a great group of teens (and not-so-teens)! We had about fifteen students in the track, of which three or four were (*ahem*) just a bit older than teenagers.

In the photo above, I am teaching the track students about how fantasy characters work in the traditional story structure. This is the room we used for our major morning sessions.In this photo, you can see the room we used for our nightly critique sessions. Three of our adult members seemed to want to sit together on the front row. Were they intimidated? Maybe. On two occasions we quit just after one in the morning, and on the final night, we finished up at 2:15 a.m. We laughed so hard, some cried, but not from any harsh criticism. I think most of our track members point to these sessions as the most fun we had.Above, you will see our dining facilities. With the buffet style meals, we certainly had plenty to eat. Several of our female conferees were singing praise songs, giving us lovely background music while we waited for our next class.
Please meet Ezekiel, a six-sport athlete who encouraged me to eat ice cream with him as often as possible (He didn't have to twist my arm too hard). He was a delightful gentleman and a passionate writer, a true blessing to have in the teen track.My daughter's hippo (his name is Negative) came along with me, and everyone loved him. Here he is, being the life of the party, wearing a St. Patrick's Day necklace.Here I am at the author autograph party where dozens of authors had the opportunity to sign their books for conferees. The dining room was truly abuzz with chatter and laughter. What a great time!Here's a photo of the teen group, or at least what was left of them on the final day. Some people had already gone home. I will treasure this picture. I feel quite a bond with these budding authors.And best of all, my lovely wife was with me! Although she spent some time hiking through the amazing redwood forests in the area, she attended some of our classes and critique sessions. As always, she was a huge blessing to me.

Mount Hermon is a great conference, and I'm looking forward to teaching there again next year. If you have a desire to attend one of the best writers' conferences in the country, check it out. I hope to have an even bigger group next year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mount Hermon Christian Writers' Conference

The Mount Hermon Christian Writers' Conference begins on Thursday. Since I will be teaching the teen track there, I won't be posting for about a week, but I hope to come back with news and photos from the conference.

Please pray for me as I try to inspire and instruct a new crop of young writers.

I also ask for prayer for my wife. She fell yesterday while hiking with my daughters, and she is in severe pain. The emergency room doctor said that nothing is seriously wrong, so we don't know why her pain is so intense. Please ask God to heal her.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Eternity's Edge Cover Revealed

The cover for Eternity's Edge, the second book in the Echoes from the Edge series has been revealed. As you can see from the image to the left, it is really mysterious. Click here for a larger image. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Florida Writers' Conference Report

I recently returned home after teaching the teen track at the Florida Christian Writers' Conference. I thought you blog readers might like to get a glimpse at the fun we had.

The first photo shows most of our group on the last day of the conference. We had eighteen students earlier. A few had to leave before the shot was taken.

The second photo shows me teaching in our classroom. That particular slide explains some of the symptoms of "preachy" writing. I frequently showed movie clips to demonstrate the various aspects of storytelling. I think watching short scenes from familiar movies helped students understand how great stories develop.

We also had consultation times. In the third photo, I'm having a meeting with one of the students. We talked about writing projects, how to improve stories, and strategies on getting published. Often, I simply encouraged them to keep on writing, to persevere in what God has called them to do.

We also conducted three critique sessions that lasted up to four and a half hours, all three ending sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 in the morning. Then we would get up early for breakfast and our 8:30 class. Sound like torture? Far from it. Both this year and last year, students tell me these sessions were the highlight of the conference.

Below, you will see one of our students reading a manuscript. Usually, we projected the document on the screen. This was one of the few times a student read from a paper copy. After the reading, the other students and I would offer our thoughts. Lots of laughter made these sessions unforgettable. (For my students - Does this photo catch your eye?)

Below, you will see a typical sight at the conference, students working on laptops. I gave them assignments each day, so when class wasn't in session, they stayed busy ... with their homework, I hope. In the motel lobby it wasn't unusual to scan the area and count more than ten laptops propped open and conferees pecking away at the next mega best seller.

And finally, with the following photo of one of our mealtimes, you can see that there was plenty of time for fun and fellowship. Considering that I am still corresponding with students from last year, the friendships we make at these conferences don't fall by the wayside. I count some of these super teens as real friends.

Plans for next year's conference are underway. For teens that attended this year or last year, please note that I am planning to present new material, so new challenges await.

Check this site for information about the conference. I hope to see even more students there in 2009.