In my last post I had briefly mentioned having gone to a writers conference last month, called Realm Makers. Today I am going to share with you a bit about what that is, because it is awesome and worthy to be shared.
Put as simply as possible, Realm Makers is a community of Christian artists who write speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy). It is a place where Believers who are also nerds can gather together and talk about wizards and Christ without compromising their faith, rather fueling the creative nature God has ingrained within us. After all, our God is a creative God (I mean, look outside the window. Or the mirror.) and we were created in His image.
I learned of this community several years ago and was instantly drawn to it, and when I learned about the conference I knew I wanted to go. I’ve never been to a writers conference before (it’s on the list) and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that this was a place and these were the people I wanted to connect with, that the effort would be worth it.
This year was the year I decided to attend the conference, rather than perpetuate my chronic procrastination. And I’m so glad I did! Since last year, they kickstarted a hybrid conference for both in-person and LIVE online attendees, reaching a whole new level of people across the globe – and I mean that literally. I wanted so badly to head down to St. Louis for it, but for various reasons I had to settle for a virtual experience (which I suppose in the long run is better for dipping my toes in). Next year, though, Lord willing, I’ll go in person when it’s in Atlantic City. Which is both scary and exciting.
So, what did the conference look like? Well, each day was jam packed with classes abd seminars from such notable and all around neat people as Allan Arnold, Carla Hoch, Steve Laube, and many more, complete with Q&As with editors and agents, critique sessions and pitch opportunities with seasoned authors, editors, and publishers, an awards ceremony, and keynotes from none other than Frank Peretti. (Guys, he’s great. So real, so funny.)
The continuing session I signed up for was called Creative Lightning, done by Allen Arnold, with whom I did a writers retreat back in February. His book, The Story of With, and that retreat were so life giving to me as both a writer and a person that it prompted an immediate interest. Disclaimer: I only caught one of the three sessions live. Between critique sessions, a mentor appointment, and technical difficulties, I missed most of the real-time events, but what I did see was fantastic. Encouraging, challenging, and inspiring.
What’s great is that, since each class and session was filmed, attendees have access to ALL the content the conference had to offer, no longer limiting us to what we were able to attend in person. I can go back and watch the replays of every continuing session and every elective class, plus the keynotes and awards ceremony (though I was super blessed to see those real-time).
So, what sorts of topics were all these classes about? Many were on the craft of writing, such as crafting each stage of a story, identifying the five elements of story, and how injuries can affect your characters and enhance your story. Others focused on logistics and the business end, such as how to pitch your book, what traditional publishing looks like, and negotiating foreign rights. There were even soul-feeding sessions that cut deep to the heart – something I was not anticipating from a writers conference but am so glad I didn’t miss.
The resources I have discovered through this conference are invaluable, the people even more so, and I am looking forward to spending more time in this community, learning from them, growing with them, and caring for them. If you’re a soul who loves elves, aliens, and Jesus, I urge you to check us out. We have a Facebook group called the Realm Makers Consortium, as well as an independent platform called the RealmSphere, chock full of discussions, regional groups, critique circles, an archive of events, and so much more!