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Spelunking Spec-Fic: Realm Makers

Have you been enjoying the Spelunking Speculative Fiction series? It's one of our very favorite (cavernous) genres to edit. If you've missed the previous posts, you can click on the author's name below and catch up. 

So far, we've heard from 

And coming soon, we'll have Jess Evander, Mike Dellosso, Mary Weber, and Charity Tinnin. 

It does my heart and mind good to know how many spec-fic writers and fans are out there. We're a unique bunch. And--in case you didn't know--there's a conference just for us: Realm Makers. 

Our guest today is Becky Minor, Realm Makers Conference Director, author, and artist. Are you looking for a place to sharpen your spec-fic arsenal? 

What To Expect at a Realm Makers Conference

The Realm Makers conference is a rare breed of event. Maybe you’ve been to writers conferences before and gotten a lot out of them. Maybe you’ve been to some where you felt a bit like the only weirdo in the room who would wear a TARDIS t-shirt. If you haven’t been to a Realm Makers Conference yet, maybe you’re wondering if it’s going to be worth investigating. Ask anyone who came to either our 2013 or 2014 events, and I bet they’d respond with a resonant “Yes!” What did they find at Realm Makers? Here are a few of the qualities of this one-of-a-kind conference that make it stand out in a sea of author education opportunities.

Relevant teaching

Those of us who organize this conference have been working since last summer—literally before Realm Makers 2014 was even over—wracking our brains for which fiction personalities would provide the best teaching for future conferences. We began pounding our keyboards and the pavement to enlist authors, editors, and agents who would not only provide current information, but who “get” speculative fiction and the specific breed of writer who creates it. All this advance effort has compiled what I believe is the best faculty you’ll find anywhere for the spec-fic writer.

There are lots of wonderful people out there who can teach on story structure, editing, and professionalism. But let’s face it. It’s way more interesting when all the examples the teacher uses are from Star Wars or Dune or The Fellowship of the Ring.

The bottom line: Expect top notch teaching from folks who won’t smile and back away a step when you tell them you write magical realism or horror. For a list of the fabulous faculty for Realm Makers 2015, drop by the faculty page on our website. 


I heard it once said that adults who like fantasy and science fiction are very in touch with their youthfulness. When we’re young, we have a sense of wonder about the world around us, and our imaginations are in overdrive. At least deep down, some part of a speculative fiction writer never grows up. And so, we put a heavy emphasis on FUN at this conference. Sure, you can still make plenty of grown-up, professional connections. But we’ll also laugh at crazy in-jokes, put on our best costumes for the awards dinner, and this year, have the option of a little zombie apolcalypse nerf tag.

Don’t worry, none of the zaniness is mandatory…join in if you want. Shake your heads at those who do if that suits you better.

Bang for your buck

One of the areas I’ll confess I hate about conference development is that it has to cost money. But clinicians need to be paid for their time, space rental costs money, food has to happen one way or another…the list goes on. So I assure you, we squeeze every drop of efficiency out of every dime we charge. There are no expenses-paid planning retreats for our committees, no real salary for me as a director, and generally few frills. (Hence, dorm housing on a college campus rather than holding the event at a hotel.)

Not only do we keep registration costs as low as humanly possible, but you can guarantee there won’t be stretches where you’re wishing there was something on the schedule that applies to you. We’ll go beyond the 101-level teaching that happens at so many conferences, and you’ll go home with practical ammunition in more areas than you can count.

Theological Differences

Realm Makers attendees, while united by a mutual, faith-based worldview, come from the entire spectrum of theological leanings. This can make for some spirited discussion, but we assure you, we on the planning committee and volunteer corps will be keeping a close eye for all those discussions to remain respectful to all involved. Speculative fiction has a unique power to bring up the sticky questions. We want people to explore those tricky domains. But we also want to be sure everyone who wants a voice feels they comfortably have one.


Any past attendee will tell you, one of the top benefits of coming to a Realm Makers conference is spending two-plus days with a hundred or so people who love what you love. This conference is a safe haven where you can both believe in God and explore the implications of “What if…” We are confident that you won’t go home with just information, but a renewed dose of inspiration, and likely a new group of best friends who will encourage you to “Write on!” until you see one another again at a future conference.

Sounds fabulous, Becky. I'll be there. Thanks for the low down.

Guys, here are some links to follow for more deets:  Becky's personal website

Now, put this on your calendars and register May 1! I'd love to meet you there. Comment below if you've been there or if you're planning to join us.

Realm Makers Conference
August 7-8, 2015
J C Penney Conference Center
St Louis, MO
Registration opens May 1 

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