Interested in writing? WSU conference a must attend

May 31 2011 - 11:08am

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Interested in writing? WSU conference a must attend

No writing is ever wasted. Whether it is your three-sentence journal entry, that note you pass in biology or the next great American novel, everything you write has some meaning and helps you find your voice as a writer.

That was the message running through my head after I attended my first-ever writer's conference last year at Weber State University in Ogden. The Teen Writers Conference is coming up again this June and it's not too late to sign up!

I recommend this conference to anyone who possesses even the tiniest bit of interest in writing, whether you want it to be your profession one day, or you just love to write. It teaches you how to become a better writer as well as how to enjoy and love the craft even more than you already do.

Writers in grades 7 through 12 from all over Utah attend as well as students from neighboring states. It was nice to interact with different people, all bonded together by that united passion we have for writing. There were five different workshops you could enjoy.

My favorite workshop was "Frankenstein -- The Nuts and Bolts of Writing," presented by Julie Wright, one of my favorite authors. The focus was on "using all the parts to create something that breathes."

Wright, the Utah author of "Hazzardous Universe" and Cross My Heart," talked about the vital elements you need to bring a story to life. The most important thing was something she stressed over and over, which was to invest as much time in your characters as possible. The characters are what give your story breath and are also what makes the story become more than just a few lines on paper.

Wright talked about "keeping your character in character," meaning make sure your character stays true to him/herself throughout the whole book. It is your job as an author to make sure that happens and to make sure you don't just change it in order to make the story fit your expectations.

Many of the professional authors at last year's conference also suggested "NaNoWriMo" to help young writers, or National Novel Writing Month. This competition is held every November and the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

NaNoWriMo is a great way to force you to write a novel quickly. You cannot afford to throw out any pages and you are forced to work through any writer's block. Usually it is easy to get stuck and then simply stay stuck because there is no deadline.

An additional item of advice was to just finish that "first book," no matter how bad or disorganized or boring it may be; just finish it to finish it. It is not only important to you as a person, but to you as an author.

For those interested in attending this conference, listen up! The event is June 18 and costs $43, which includes lunch. Or you might be able to enter writing contests at your school, win and become the recipient for a scholarship to the conference, which is how I was able to go. If you still have questions or want to register -- the deadline is June 8 -- visit www.teenwritersconference.com where you will find FAQs, writing tips/resources, feedback from teens on last year's conference, and much more.

Despite all I learned from last year's conference, the No. 1 thing I came away with was that no writing is ever wasted. Everything you write has some meaning; whether it helps you find your individual voice as a writer or it's just practice, all writing has some merit, so don't ever stop.

Lynette Randall is a junior at Clearfield High. She loves river rafting, rock climbing and reading. E-mail her at climber174@yahoo.com.

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