Teen Book Con – Houston

This was my first Teen Book Con and, although I didn’t quite know what to expect, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t what I got. I knew I’d be surrounded by high school readers – but not that many of them! Which is great, right? Of course it is . . . so many young people in love with reading, in love with BOOKS! Reminds me of me when I was their age.

The auditorium was standing room only for keynote speaker, Orson Scott Card (which was awesome by the way). In fact he talked about something I’d read a long time ago – how the human brain stores the stories we read the same as it stores our own memories. So, whenever we read a book that takes us to a different country, a different world, a new adventure; whenever we read a book that allows us to be something or someone else . . . well, to our brain, we might as well have been there and done that! Pretty cool, huh?

I stayed in the main auditorium for my first panel discussion called Adults Are Overrated.

Part of me wanted to find out what, about me, was overrated. I mean . . . really? Overrated? But I found that the panel discussions didn’t necessarily follow their titles so I learned nothing about myself. Since I’m unfamiliar with some of the titles, I suspect it might be the content of the books that prompted the name of the panel. I did come away with a few choice morsels from the speakers though, like Orson Card suggesting that, for writers, it’s easy to come up with stories . . . “the hard part is creating believable characters. You have to really know people well.”

Or when he fielded a question about writer’s block, suggesting that we writers, rather than seeing it as a curse, should view it as “the best gift your unconscious mind can give you. It means that you’ve hit a place where your story doesn’t work.” He suggested that when we hit that wall, it’s time to rethink our direction.

Someone in the panel had another suggestion for writer’s block – an application called

Write or Die

Yep – there’s actually an app for writer’s block! It’s anywhere from free to really, really cheap and is configurable so you can design your own punishment for failure to write -like asking it to randomly delete your words. If you’re interested in writing or dying, click on the words to check out the website.

Personally though, I’m sticking with Orson’s approach.

Other noteworthy answers to audience questions came from Megan Crew, author of The Way We Fall. When asked how hard it is to get published, Megan shared the fact that she wrote nine books before writing the first one that was publishable. NINE! And here I’m only at a little over one. Megan had an interesting view of e-publishing too. She said it’s the chance to publish the book you love even though it might not be commercial enough for a publishing house.

There were three other panels I had the pleasure to attend, all with wonderful authors answering hard (and sometimes easy) questions. Holly Black was there . . .

. . . which was neat for a couple reasons. First, her web site was mentioned at the Houston SCBWI Conference as being really slick, with a cool, sophisticated simplicity to it (I totally agree). And because I bought White Cat at the Houston Conference and started reading it the other day. I had every intention of having her sign it for me at Teen Book Con. But alas, I’d gone off and left it at home. So . . . darn it, I had to buy more books! And then stand in the book signing lines!

Glad I went? Yeah. Wish I had more money for more books? Of course! Wish I had time to read all the books I already have? Damn straight.

Oh, and did I mention that admission was free? Such a perfect day!

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7 Responses to Teen Book Con – Houston

  1. Beth Cross says:

    Sounds like an awesome time. Hopefully I can go next year. THANKS for sharing!

  2. Tina says:

    This was great Linda! I really appreciated what speaker said about Writer’s Block! I agree with him 99% of the time. That 1% is open to interpretation:)
    Also, loved Mr. Scott’s comment on readers “storing stories” as they store memories. Only problem with me, is that my Memory sux. However, picture books ‘store’ well… must be why I enjoy writing them. Blueberries for Sal.. stored! Curious George…stored! Caps for Sale…stored! and hundreds MORE! How blessed I am:) Thank you for sharing!

    • Linda says:

      My memory is taking a hiatus lately too Tina! But I think everything’s still in there … stored. It’s just a matter of unarchiving.

  3. Thanks for the recap, Linda. I wanted to go but didn’t make it. I was glad you included the tips from Orson Scott Card. Very useful.
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