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Authors Chose to be at the Write Event in November

Dec 08, 2015 12:42PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Mylinda LeGrande

West Jordan - Local Authors and You was a Salt Lake County Library event that took place on Nov. 7, at the West Jordan Viridian Library.  Held from 1-5 p.m., it featured 50 local writers and 28 unique workshops available to aspiring writers and others who wanted to learn more about writing. Each workshop lasted for 30 minutes, so it was possible for someone to attend eight different workshops that day.  Nearly 100 people attended the event.

The well-organized event took place in the lobby of the library as well as the event center auditorium, which was divided into two parts. One section held eight round tables where attendees and local authors could gather around for an intimate experience.  The other side of the auditorium was devoted to authors’ booths, where you could get a chance to meet the authors, buy their books and get to know them better.  

Liesl Seborg, senior librarian for Hunter Library, said that was the reason why she organized this event. 

“This is second year that we have had it.  Basically, we support the writers in the community and we want people to know what fabulous writers we have.  We have a huge local writing community that is not necessarily nationally known.  This is a good opportunity to get to meet the authors as well as to attend the workshops. Fortunately for us, we are also supporting writers doing NaNoWriMo, [on Nov. 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30 which coincides with this event, by giving them this opportunity,” she said.

Attendee Karina Park said that this was one of the best-organized writing conferences she has ever attended.  Park attended the class by C.R. Asay: “Get the most from your critique group.”  

“I wonder if it didn’t get enough advertising, though: it wasn’t very well attended.  The only place you could find information on it was on Facebook.  Writers are everywhere; it is such an incredible thing to offer these free workshops because usually they can be very expensive. You can take time to visit everybody’s tables; there is no rush or crowds.  I really love how the workshops are in another room at small tables. They were so personal and I could have the chance to be one-on-one [with authors],” Park said. 

Snacks were provided and prizes for a drawing held were handed out every 30 minutes.  Many prizes included books written by the authors attending the event. The best part of the conference was that it was a free event. Many local events are expensive to attend, so those on a limited budget could have access to authors, information on how to get started with writing, perfect their projects and understand the business of writing at no cost to the community.

Gama Ray Martinez, a top-selling author on Amazon, had a booth at the event. His published trilogy, “The Oracles of Kurnugi,” is about a boy named Henry who falls into the land of human imagination known as Kurnugi.   He had been networking with the Salt Lake County librarians when he was asked to participate in the conference.

Another author, Jared Quan, was there manning his booth.  He is on the West Jordan Arts Council and is president-elect of the League of Utah Writers. He wrote a middle grade book, “Changing Wax.” 

“The book took me about two years to write, mostly inspired by my five kids. They keep me on my toes and are very humorous. I was able to capture a lot of fun things that they do around the house.  I wrote an episode every week for two years, and then we were able to refine it,” he said.

Ka Hancock, author of “Dancing on Broken Glass,” is published internationally in several different languages. It took her three years just to find her agent, Foundry. After she submitted her work to them, her book was finally sold at auction. She was there to lead a workshop, “Every character needs a problem:  Conflict with a side of turmoil,” which was held in the library lobby. 

“You think you have to describe your character at once in the very first pages.  The best books are when you are a little bit intrigued about a character.  The most interesting ones reveal themselves layer by layer right down to their naked core.  Readers will follow these kinds of characters almost anywhere...  The characters have to be compelling; the difference between characters we would follow into the depths of hell vs. one we could care less about is called internal conflict,” she said.

One attendee, Ashley Pack, an aspiring author working on a fantasy novel, attended a workshop by Angela Scott: “On Writing: Somewhere between torture and fun.”

“[Scott] basically went over the writing process: how it is part torture and part fun.  It was helpful when I was able to ask her about how she got published because I am interested in that.  It was useful to hear her story. I feel like I understand it better now, because I hadn’t really researched it,” Pack said.

Local author Mette Ivie Harrison offered a workshop, “Writing through fear.” She won the Utah Book Award for “His Wright Hand,” sequel to “The Bishops Wife,” A National Bestseller and an ABA Indie Next Selection.  Other workshops offered were, “Stories of Chinese intellectuals immigrating to the U.S.” by author Dr. PengPeng Pan Tang, “Putting science in your science fiction” by Roger White, “Independent and self-publishing” by David Van Dyke,” “Steampunk short stories” by Jay Barnson, “Polishing your first draft” by Robin Glassey and many more.

Also on hand at the event were professional editing companies that writers could connect with, as well as Deseret Book and The Utah Writers Guild which helped sponsor the event.  “Spring into Writing” will be the next free family writing, library-sponsored event to be held next year.