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What I learned from Realm Makers – part 1

I’ve posted before about my love for the Realm Makers conference. How it was my first foray into the writing world, and how much stepping onto the campus in St Louis in 2015 changed my perspective. Next week will be my fourth time attending Realm Makers, and I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve learned so far. People and friendships aside, I’ve gained so much from attending this weekend conference these past years. Here are some practical writing tips that I try to put into practice.

Your opening sets the tone for your story – Jeff Gerke 

Jeff Gerke has been one of my writing idols for years. Not only is he an amazing author, but he started a publishing house and has some of the best craft books on the market.

Jeff opened the conference with a workshop on using science to help engage your readers. I came away from his workshop inspired, encouraged, and ready to not write boring. When you properly mix danger, empathy, and reward, you can really cause your story to sing. Jeff has a craft book on how important the first 50 pages of your novel are. If you start boring, your protagonist will be bored, and your reader won’t finish the book.

It was so amazing to meet Jeff in person. He is a super guy!


Comparison is the thief of joy – Robert Liparulo

(originally Teddy Roosevelt)

This is one of those things that we all do.

“So-and-so has a book out, and it’s way better than I could ever write.”

“I have a story that in my head, but I’m not going to write it, because So-and-so has a book that is kind-sorta similar.”

“So-and-so got a book deal the first time they pitched! Why can’t that happen to me?”

The life-changing mantra that I pulled from Bob’s opening keynote is that “God has a plan, and His timing is perfect.” Now, in order for His plan to succeed, we have to stay submitted to Him. But self-talk like that isn’t going to get us anywhere. I know where I’m at on my writing journey. It’s taken me a couple years to be OK with it, but His timing is perfect.


The God you know, is the God you bring to your story – Morgan Busse

Morgan taught a class on “Show, don’t tell,” but in the context of how to write Jesus into your story. Now, not everyone will write overtly-Christian stories, but as Christians it is our mandate to be a light. This concept about how “the God you know” bleeding into my story is encouraging. I struggle with trying to hard, and fitting religion into my story worlds. Morgan cleared a lot of that up by breaking down the gospel, and talking through how to present truth.

Something is wrong. God can fix it. We accept His help.

By leaving breadcumbs to salvation, our writing can be powerful and impact readers to His truth.



The closing keynote in 2015 reminded me of Jesus’ final command to His disciples. Jesus had taught, had encouraged, and had given ability to those He was with. His final command to them was to go! Robert Liparulo closed out this time of learning, empowering, and training with a similar encouragement. If God has give you a story to write, go write it! I know even now I don’t make the time I should, but as Paul says in Romans “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Go out there and put words on paper. Write the story as God placed it in your heart. Learn some new craft. Have some beta readers tear apart your book, and learn from them. Hone your skill and bring glory and honor to Master Storyteller.


I can’t wait to be with my tribe next week. I’m looking forward to learning, and being challenged. I know I need it.



Are you attending Realm Makers next week? What’s a piece of advise you learned at a writer’s conference that has stuck with you? I’d love to hear from you (or meet you in St Louis!) Drop a comment below, or find me on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.



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