Sioux Falls Festival of Books: The Jared Lampe Experience

The Sioux Falls Festival of Books is a South Dakota festival held every year in either Sioux Falls, SD or in Deadwood, SD. The Festival brings in several local and out of state authors for book sales, signings, and workshops that are held for four days. The festival has several workshops that cater to different styles of writing. A sample of workshops on Friday Sept 26 catered to writing for the screen, writing for children, creating a writing group, and how to get organized to write. One of the halls was filled with the booths of many different authors, mostly from South Dakota, who were selling and signing their books. The website for events is located at The events were held from Sept. 25 through Sept. 30.

During my time at the festival, I picked the Ten Days to Organized Writing workshop. Which aimed to teach techniques and ideas for making it easier to sit down and write instead of procrastinating. A few things that they talked about were a rehash of what you could find just about anywhere. But, there were several techniques and ideas that were quite intriguing and useful. One of the major techniques I picked up on was writing down ideas, characters, and chapter ideas on index cards. After having written down all those ideas, organize the cards into piles that you feel relate to each other. Once the cards are in a pile you should organize that pile and write up an intro and conclusion to it. After that you will have an outline for your book, poem, or short story. Another technique was to push everything aside for a certain amount of time that you reserve for writing. During that time, you should sit down fully prepared to work and exit out of distractions like your internet browser. You should set a reasonable goal for your writing during this time like one page per day.

The next thing I did was to attend a literary lunch called Hollywood and the Novel with Diane Johnson and Matthew Specktor. I was able to eat and then listen to Diane and Matthew talk the relationship between books and Hollywood. They first introduced themselves and gave a rap sheet of what they had both worked on. Diane Johnson helped write for the movie version of The Shinning by Stephen King. She also had one of her own books adapted to movie, Le Divorce. Matthew Specktor has worked in the industry for several years now and is having one of his books, American Dream Machine adapted to TV for Showtime. They both went on to talk about the difficulties of having your book adapted to movie. The major things I picked up during this event was that it takes a lot of time and effort to get your book considered for adaption. Even if you get someone who is interested in adapting your book, you still have a high chance of the movie never being made. The movie most of the time will be different from the book, and that once you sign the contract you no longer have the rights to your characters. So, if you wanted to continue on with those characters, you would have to buy them back. It also sounds like the author will usually only gets one payment and that’s for selling the rights of the book, authors usually don’t get money from the movie earnings.

After lunch, I went to the book hall. I bought a few books and got them signed with the author’s signature. I was fortunate enough to be able to help out an author named Sandra Brannan who was looking for help with video game design and talking to people who had some knowledge on the subject. Jesse Woodward and I helped to give her an introduction to video games and we gave her contact information for a few video game design professors at DSU. She was thrilled and loved talking to our fellow English for New Media majors. She was so thrilled in fact that she bought all of us a copy of one of her books in her book series Liv Bergen Mystery. On top of that generous gesture, she also bought us The Monster who ate the State by Chris Browne the cartoonist for Hager the Horrible who was also at the Festival and he signed our books.

The Festival of Books is over now but it will return next year to Deadwood, South Dakota. I would recommend to anyone who is interested in writing to go to one of these events either in Deadwood or Sioux Falls and take a workshop. The workshops can help any writer with their writing by giving different tips and tricks. I hope to see more fellow writers attend the Festival of Books next year or the year after that when the Festival is in Sioux Falls.

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