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TABC in Review

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Mazana Boerboom

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Me meeting Jay Asher at the signing event.

Me meeting Jay Asher at the signing event.

Me meeting Jay Asher at the signing event.

This year’s Teen Author Boot Camp at the Utah Valley Convention Center swarmed with over 800 bright, young writers from all over Utah. Jay Asher and Marie Lu, two best selling authors, gave keynote presentations at the March 25th event. Both authors talked about their journey to become writers. They were both rejected over and over again (literally Jay Asher collected 600 rejection letters), and were told that they couldn’t do it. Yet, they proved everyone wrong. These success stories left every young writer in the room determined and inspired.

Bob looked away as she left, one rebellious tear trickled down his face and he couldn’t find the strength to wipe it away as he heard her car engine rev and fade away. He’ll never see her again.”

— Me 😉

The event included many classes for the teen authors to chose from. There was everything from writing emotion and avoiding cliches like the plague, to writing a kick butt fight scene.  I learned a lot at these classes. I came away with more plans for my own stories, and excitement to take on the task. These classes were different from school; they were much more hands on and focused around creative writing, mostly fiction, but with one non-fiction class. Each class taught one specific skill and how to apply it to your own story. Authors often provided helpful tools and workshops to improve your plot, characters, and other story aspects.

The most interesting thing that I learned was how to write emotion so that your reader feels it and connects with the character. Which example has a more powerful impact? “Bob is sad,” or “Bob looked away as she left, one rebellious tear trickled down his face and he couldn’t find the strength to wipe it away as he heard her car engine rev and fade away. He’ll never see her again.” Obviously the second example, right? Do you feel any empathy for Bob in the first example? The key is to show, not tell. Cottonwood’s Tomas D’Anella, a Private at the camp, said the most interesting thing he learned was how to incorporate suspense into his writing. An example of a strategy is to break the book into sections- somewhat like Jay Asher’s novel 13 Reasons Why– and to not give the main character what he or she wants. I know – frustrating, but sound advice.  There’s nothing to keep you reading like not getting what you want.

Throughout the day there were raffles for free books, writing contests, and at the very end a massive book signing. I personally bought two of Jay Asher’s novels and read them both within a few days – they were so interesting. The event was very celebratory, and it was interesting to meet others who share a common interest. Everyone there had a story to tell, and some of them may just go on to tell it to the world.

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TABC in Review