I attended the LDStorymakers writing conference last weekend in Salt Lake City and it was AWESOME. Really. Just amazing.
Even though I served on the conference committee and thought I knew what to expect, I was blown away. So many fabulous classes.
I really enjoyed a class taught by Clint Johnson called The Mechanism of Story and Conflict. Wow!! Made me think differently about my WIP. I loved the idea of complicating stakes for my main character instead of only intensifying them. He also taught about the following steps when it comes to our characters:
1. Conflict forces action
2. Action reveals character
3. Revealed character helps readers suspend their disbelief
4. Readers identify with characters when their disbelief is suspended
5. Readers feel emotion when they can identify with characters
6. Emotion helps readers assign meaning
Writing or reading a story is a process in which we assign meaning to the world around us. The more a story helps us assign that meaning the more we lose ourselves in that story. As authors, we want to write a story that helps readers lose themselves and then when they are finished they have assigned new meaning to the world around them. That's what I hope happens when people read The Upside of Down.
Of course, I can't explain in a few sentences what I learned in a two-hour workshop, but I will say that if you ever get a chance to take this workshop from Clint I highly recommend it.