Realm Makers Backstory

I had the opportunity to attend THE BEST WRITERS CONFERENCE EVER at the beginning of August. Some of you have heard parts of these shenanigans, but no one has yet heard the ending (or seen the pictures).

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Me with Donita K Paul, AKA The Dragon Lady and one of my favorite authors

FIASCO #1 – Costume conundrums

I attended Realm Makers for the first time last year and had a blast. My costume was weak, so this year I decided to go all out. I have a fondness for Toothless, the night fury from How To Train Your Dragon, because he’s a dragon that acts like a cat. 🙂 And since Donita K Paul was attending the conference, I decided what would be more appropriate to wear than a dragon costume when the Dragon Lady herself was going to be there.

I found a women’s costume online that was reasonably priced. It was meant to be a short, sexy dress costume, but I figured I’d order the largest size they had and wear it as a jacket.

It came in and was good quality, made of some heavy felt-like material (not at all stretchy). THANK GOODNESS I tried it on two weeks prior to the conference because here it is in the picture

Toothless

and here it is on my 9 year old daughter

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So when they said it was an “ADULT” costume, they meant it was an ADULT costume. Yes, I know. Should have seen that one coming all day long. <sigh>

So I bought a black hoodie, a bunch of material, and spent 8 hours making my own, which turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself. Now Minion 2 and I will both be night furies for Halloween, Minion 1 wants to go as Astrid, and my husband just shakes his head in embarrassment that his wife is such a dork. (I told him that technically, the word is geek.)

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And that it could have been worse. I could have gone as a minion.

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FIASCO #2 – Identity Crisis

Then the afternoon before I leave for the conference, I’m shopping at Kohl’s to pick up a few last minute items. Because I don’t have my Kohl’s card with me, they look up the number and ask to see my driver’s license. I search through my purse and IT IS NOT THERE.

How am I going to board a plane the next morning when I don’t have a driver’s license? My passport has been expired since 2000. I have no other photo ID.

I generally don’t freak out when it comes to crisis situations, but this time I am freaking out. It’s 3:30 pm. Do I need to run home and tear my house apart looking for my license? Do I need to run to the DMV to get a new one? I mean, really, how screwed am I?

I called the airline. Here’s the crazy thing: did you know that all it takes to fly is 2 forms of ID? Like a credit card and a social security card or birth certificate? Crazy, right?

I tore my house and car apart looking for my ID. I didn’t find it, but I did run across my driver’s license from before we moved two years ago. Wrong address, but the thing wasn’t expired. So I won’t tell you what I did, but let’s just say I never had to show anyone my SS card.

IMG_2077The last place I knew I had my ID was when I took Grace Bridges to Space Center Houston. I felt relatively confident that I must have left it in their gift store on accident. So I called them while I was on my way to the airport (August 6), but they said they didn’t have it. No joy.

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When I got back from the conference, I had a letter dated July 30 from Space Center Houston saying that they had found my ID in the gift shop and would I please contact them to arrange for its return. Which I promptly did, but still haven’t received it. But hey, at least it’s found! One day, dear license, we will be reunited!!!

The moral of the story? I can’t really say, but I do know that finding out my license was missing BEFORE I got to the airport was a God thing. How often do people ask to see your ID? Generally, only when I get pulled over for a traffic violation or when I try to board a plane. I am grateful that God used the department store instead of either of the other two. Had I gotten to the airport without knowing it was gone, I would have missed my flight.

The conference was fantastic. The costumes at the banquet were phenomenal. It was so much fun to have so many people so dressed up all in one place. I learned a lot, connected with some writer friends I’d never met in person, reconnected with others, and had an all-around fantastic time. I can’t wait to go back next year.

AND, I got to hang out with several of my critique group. Two of our non-spec members even drove four hours out of their way to come see us.

I’ll leave with some parting pictures, but before I do…

TELL ME: If you went to Realm Makers, did you experience any fiascos? If you didn’t attend, have you ever had a costume malfunction or lost your license?

12 thoughts on “Realm Makers Backstory

  1. Great post! And so glad your crisis was averted :). You costume was adorable, and you have the added benefit of knowing you made it yourself! Also–“Celebrity Judge”…*snicker*

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  2. You’re not the only one who almost didn’t make it. The airline that has been serving our town since we moved here seven years ago lost the contract. As of August 1 we had a new carrier. I booked my flight through a popular online travel site. No one let me know that I no longer had a flight: the old airline, the major airline that code shares, or the travel site. Fortunately, we take the local newspaper and the new airline was front page news. I scrambled and got a seat. There was another wrinkle. You’re limited to one carryon that cannot exceed 35 pounds and a personal item. My gray carryon is the TARDIS of luggage. I fit in clothes for the conference plus a quick business trip, Nerf equipment (yes that was part of the conference), and fairy wings. Alas I didn’t have space for books. I had a list of ones I wanted to buy and have autographed. Hopefully next year!

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  3. The closest I came to a fiasco was when my friend showed up late to take me to the train station. I shouldn’t have worried because I had built in plenty of time, but I was nervous! On the way back, it took some finagaling to get my unsold books into my suitcase. I managed it, but dang, that thing was heavy!

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  4. What a God thing to find out about your license *before* you got to the airport!
    I’ve never lost my license per se but I did drive up to a gas station only to discover my entire wallet was missing from my purse. A certain child who shall remain nameless had pulled it out while looking for tictacs and left it on the table. Like your license, I never doublecheck I have my wallet because it always resides in my purse. I had to drop the munchkin off at a birthday party and drive home 30 minutes on an empty tank in snowy conditions, praying the whole way to get there before I ran out of gas!

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  5. I didn’t have any fiascos. Well, not exactly. After hearing David Farland the first day of the conference, I realized that I wanted to use my 15 minute appointment with him to brainstorm the elements of the story I’d been working on this summer. But the story is in early development, so I hadn’t brought ANYTHING about it to the conference. Including the files that I thought were in my “Active Writing” folder on the laptop I brought. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

    You see, even though I’ve been working on this story, it has gone through several permutations and I didn’t really remember the latest elevator pitch or summary of what it was about. I even searched through my email archive, hoping I’d sent some version(s) of the story summary to my writing pals. No joy. All I had was the original logline from over five years ago. Ack!

    Then I wondered whether I should even TRY to brainstorm a story in 15 minutes. Farland may be brilliant, but 15 minutes? That’s not a lot of time.

    I bit the bullet and typed up some notes on the second day (during lunch, just before my appointment). I tried to include the information he had taught us about: What about this story made it unique, interesting, worth an audience’s time? What elements had I considered including that I wanted his opinion on? Oh, how I wished I had my notes with me.

    And then, miracle of miracles, he missed our appointment. And we ended up rescheduling for later in the day… and there weren’t any other appointments after mine and it was just David Farland and I in the appointment room… and we were able to brainstorm for about 30 minutes before he said, “I think you have enough to go on from here…”

    Then he advised that I write up a treatment and go directly to writing the screenplay (instead of a novel), because China is currently interested in making movies that would appeal to both Chinese and American audiences, and mine might fit the bill. Whoa! That would be cool…

    So it all worked out beautifully. Here’s to the God who makes us flourish in the midst of fiascos!

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  6. Such a fun update Lisa! Loved it 🙂 When Ronie and I traveled together I stared the day off by saying we were going on an “adventure”…big mistake. We bought too-expensive metro tickets, walked way further than we had to, and almost missed lunch, but hey – we made it and it was a great conference 🙂

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  7. I flew to St. Louis from Philly – straight flight – but still, my suitcase didn’t appear on the conveyor belt. The only thing I could think was “MY COSTUME!!!” hahahahahaha!! They found it about half an hour later, stuck below on something. Whew!

    If you write spec fiction, THIS is the conference to attend. I never want to miss it again! And thank you, Lisa, for your help and encouragement before and during the conference!

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