UtopYA Con – Part Deux

Howdy reader/writer peeps!

I just wanted to pop in for a wee announcement from Nashvegas. Some of you may remember, or even attended, the virgin voyage of UtopYA Con last July. Well, things are ramping up for 2013! That’s right, UtopYA Con is back for another round! WOOT!! And if the most recent feedback, inquiries, and general buzz (and awesomeness) is any indication, next June will ROCK – YOUR – SOCKS. Please feel free to check out the website for more information on the Black Friday sale and newly listed Exhibitor information.
UtopYA Con 2012, our local nod to all things YA and it’s all around awesome, was stocked full of local and not-so-local authors, writers, and fans. If you’re an author looking to network or boost your presence, this is an awesome way to get your name out there. I know, from personal experience, that UtopYA is a great way for readers to find new authors to love and fan-girl over. And you just never know who you’ll see in attendance in June…(wink wink). If you are a HUGE fan of the young adult genre, then there is NO reason you shouldn’t join in the party.
UtopYA is not your average Con. Please read this post I did earlier this year to catch a glimpse of how wonderful it is. It was nothing short of amazing and I cannot WAIT for June.
The best part? It doesn’t matter if you are self published, independently published, or even pubbed by the big boys! All are welcome and encouraged to come. And the second best thing? Well, maybe a tie for best. UtopYA Con is once again at the Scarritt-Bennett Center (aka: Hogwarts Lite) for 2013. If you’ve been there, you know how wonderful this campus is. If you haven’t, just check out the pics on their website and you will see just how beautiful Scarritt-Bennett is.
Hope to see y’all there for this ‘heavenly’ event! *cough, cough* Yeah, I’m lame, but you love that about me.
If you attended the last UtopYA, please feel free to chime in on the comments below. What did you love about it? Who did you discover at UtopYA? What author did you meet that you secretly (or blatantly) adore (or stalk) while at UtopYA? Who would you love to see at UtopYA Con 2013?

Whose POV is it anyway?

Perspective is an amazing thing. Depending on where you set that perspective, you can completely alter a story. Those of you who are writerly types know what I’m talking about: the question of point of view.

Generally, when hashing out ideas for a story, you come to a point where you need to decide what point of view (POV) in which to write. Will your story be in 1st person? What about 3rd? Will there be alternating POVs? A single POV? Or will it be some mish-mash of POV? This decision is just as important to the story building process as say plot or voice or even setting.

When writing in 3rd person (limited or omniscient), you have the ability to show more of the world around the characters. For instance, Cassandra Clare writes in 3rd person for the uber awesome Mortal Instrument and Infernal Devices series. Why is this important? Because Miss Cassie can share details of the Shadowhunter world that we may not see if limited to 1st person. Being that she also writes in alternating POV, if we’re looking at the world through Clary’s eyes, we will only be able to experience things as Clary does. This isn’t always a bad thing, especially when trying to build tension, but when you have such a rich world, like the Shadowhunter world, why limit yourself?

On the other hand, when writing in 1st, you can get into the character’s head more. When dealing with conflict, it’s sometimes harder-hitting when seeing it through the MC’s eyes. If your MC is totally freaked by something going on, you have the ability to really play up the emotional side of things in 1st person. Sure, you may be limited to what’s going on around the character, but if your story is more of an internal conflict for your MC, then you don’t need all the outside forces explained.

So which do you choose?

It’s up to you and how you want your story to be told. At UtopYA Con, there was a panel discussion about this very subject. Raine Thomas, LM Davis, and Willow Cross were all panelists discussing how it’s all about breaking the rules with POV in YA these days.┬áThere’s no cut-and-dry way to write YA, no standard template that MUST be followed.┬áThis is a great thing!

Many authors are testing the boundaries of POV in their writing. I think this is awesome! As long as there’s a reason for the way it’s done. If you just go about it all mamby-pamby style and write a POV wonky just for shits and giggles, then you need to be punched in the face. Well, maybe not that extreme, but your readers may want to. And that’s not a great thing.

So whether you write solely in 3rd person like Cassandra Clare, or if you alternate your 3rd person per book like Raine Thomas, or alternating 1st person like Marie Lu, or even alternating 1st per book like Myra McEntire…it all works. As long as it’s the right decision for your story.

Which do YOU prefer? Which side of the POV bubble are you on? Love 3rd person, but hate 1st? Work best when connecting to your characters through 1st person? What POV rules are YOU breaking?


There is room at the top for ALL of us!

Many, many apologies to everyone for sort of falling off the face of the earth. With managing some health issues, my 10 1/2 year old Lab’s health issues, and seemingly endless life crap, things just sort of…well, went to the crapper. That’s me being honest, and PG-13.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. As you may have seen from my multiple tweets on the subject, I was very excited about a wee event called UtopYA Con that took place right here in Nashville. A start-up convention for YA paranormal writers, authors, and all the freakin’ readers who obsessstalkLOVE to read! I knew it would be the cat’s meow, and I was right. Over the next several days, or weeks as time wills, I will try to recap some of the awesome I experienced over the last couple days.
For now, I just have to give my thanks. Many, many thanks.
Janet Wallace, Nashville’s Kid-Lit Meet-Up group organizer and owner of Social Deviants, birthed this idea for UtopYA and she did a phenomenal job. This was the second time I’ve gone to this sort of event, the first being the SCBWI Conference in NYC. SCBWI was big and awesome and crazy informative, but UtopYA had something in it I didn’t really find at SCBWI NYC. I thought I had, and I’m sure it IS there, but it was not as blazingly obvious as it was at UtopYA.
That thing, is HEART.
I’m not a hard core writer. I will be the first to admit this. There are so many freakin’ awesome writers and authors out there. Me? I’m the sort of misfit kid in the back of the room that never really…’fit.’ But I LOVE to write. It has freed me in so many ways over the last two years. Quite literally, I have finally found…me. It took thirty mumble-grumble years to do it, but hell if I found her finally.
UtopYA oozed with wonderful people that were just like you and me. Some were traditionally published, most were either indie published or self published, some just budding out on the page. Did they throw it around like a fluorescent pink boa with diamond crusting? Nope. Did they spout stats like a stock broker on crack and zero sleep? Nuh-uh. Were they welcoming? Were they excited to meet someone who has read, or is dying to read, one or all of their books? You bet your buttered biscuit baby!
When I say UtopYA has the heart I didn’t find at other, larger, meets, I mean it. We were all there for the same reason: we love YA paranormal. There was a common unity no matter where you are in your career. The writing community really IS a community. It is a family that I am so very proud to be a part of. I still feel sort of like a distant cousin tip-toeing around the edges at times, but I still felt it. I felt the heart of this Con. I felt the heart of UtopYA.
Will it be the same in 2013? I sure as hell hope so! But really, I think it will. Everyone there, I think, picked up on the same vibe. We are readers. We are writers. We are authors. We are a group of people who LOVE to help the next coming. “There is room for all of us!” “A success for one, is a success for all.” We all strive to the same goal: readers. And readers LOVE to read…a LOT.
The lovely Willow Cross said in a panel I attended, and I will paraphrase here: it might take her readers a week to read her novel, what are they going to do with the other 51 weeks of the year? ‘If you like my books, here, check out my friend’s book too!’
That is what we do as writers, as authors. Support. Community. Family. Friends. You CAN do it. We ALL can do it.
Willow Cross, Raine Thomas, Amanda Havard, Myra McEntire, Chelsea Fine, Tiffany King, L.M. Preston, Angeline Kace, Teal Haviland, Tammy Blackwell, M.R. Polish, Amy Bartol, Abbi Glines… oh my word there are just too many. All of these women were phenomenal to meet and share experiences with. We laughed, we cried, we joked, we teased. We were just like those crazy cousins that get together at family reunions and gossip over who is doing what.
And why?
Because we are a community. We are a community of writers. And there is room for ALL of us.
Will YOU be a part next time? UtopYA Con 2013 is on the books. Come be part of the HEART of this awesomesauce community. You will NOT be disappointed. Come play. Come laugh. Come learn. Come fan-girl. Come be a part of the family.

Footnote. Yes, I totally cried writing this whole thing. But I’m a crier. That’s how I roll y’all. =^)