I heard Beowulf give a speech on Saturday. Yes, it was loud. The sound and power of Old English is amazing. Okay, so it wasn't the real Beowulf, but was actually a Beowulf scholar named Dr. Michael Drout. He's a J.R.R. Tolkien scholar as well, one of the leading ones in the world and has written several books on various subject. I heard him give two talks about Beowulf and Tolkien. Dr. Drout began the second one by walking in and reciting the first ten lines of the epic poem. Apparently, Professor Tolkien would do the same thing, except he would recite the first fifty lines! That would scare away a bunch of the students so he wouldn't have all those papers to grade.
I learned of all of these fun things at the Fantasy Festival in Salt Lake City. The one day festival brought together a bunch of interesting people who all have a love for fantasy. Gloria Jensen, the main organizer of the festival did a great job putting it together. She runs a non-profit group called Into the West and all the money went to help kids.
Dr. Drout and Gloria Jensen (Visit Dr. Drout's website)
Dr. Michael Drout and Author Paul Genesse
I was able to have dinner with Dr. Drout and it was so great to be sitting beside a Tolkien scholar. He is so smart and learned a lot about Beowulf and Tolkien by listening to him. What an interesting career he's had and I'm looking forward to reading his book and to listening to his CD where he reads the entire Beowulf poem in Old English.
I had a table and displayed my books. It was the first time I had copies of The Golden Cord to sell. I sold a bunch and life was good. My writing classes were fun and had such a great time. I just get so excited when I talk about writing. Also, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com sold out of books in the first three days when the book came out. Life is good and the wonderful reviews have really helped. If any of you have read the book please post a review on Amazon and Barnes and Noble's sites.
About writing, the main point I made was about creating memorable characters. Check out the Writers Symposium Ezine for some excellent tips on characterization. We went through the whole seven elements of story taught to me by Kij Johnson, taught to her by James Gunn, the famous science fiction writer and teacher.
You know the seven point idea:
in a context
with a conflict
which builds to a climax
and ends with a resolution.
I love the try/fail cycle idea. The whole thing is a basic idea, but it helps a lot when you're putting a story together from scratch. Read Jim Gunn's numerous books, articles, and writings to learn more, or ask me sometime and I'll talk your ear off.
Thanks for reading! And happy writing!
Paul Genesse, Author and Editor www.paulgenesse.com
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series