Recently I attended the LtUE writer’s conference down at the Provo Marriott Hotel. I’ve been going for several years. Because this conference focuses on science fiction and fantasy writers, which I am one of, there are always too many classes to choose from. How do you decide between “Creating Your Own Language part 2 of 3” and the “Writing Martial Arts for non-martial artists”? It’s like all my childhood dreams in one place.
I attended a panel on armor, where I got to heft a helmet that had been used in mock-battles. “This baby has saved my life more times than I can count.” The presenter said as he patted the dented white metal helmet. He pointed at the grill over the eye slit. “Originally this area was open, but I had the metal worker weld these extra strips across the front. I like to keep my eyes.”
In the martial arts panel they talked about Bruce Lee taking on an NBA 7′ 4″ man who was inexperienced in martial arts. “Afterwards he (Bruce Lee) was so sore for all those really high kicks. There is a real advantage of height in martial arts vs. experience.” An audience member asked about experience vs. weapons. All four panelists answered in chorus, “Weapons, they are always going to give you the advantage.”
What does it say about me that I’m into learning about combat even if I’m never going to be in a fight or learning about armor, even if I never wear any? I love learning about these elements of fantastical worlds. Oh yeah, and writing about them too.
I also got to see Orson Scott Card (author of Ender’s Game and a bunch of other sci/fi fantasy) speak. He was one of my favorite authors growing up. I was worried that he wouldn’t live up to my childhood vision of who he was I got from reading his books, but I didn’t have to worry. He was fantastic. He talked about the struggle of making Ender smart. How it took him 30+ years to come up with an ending that he was satisfied with. I feel like he gave me permission to put my books published, even if I don’t feel like they are at their perfect state.