I'll be here this weekend. It's always a wonderful conference and they have an amazing track record of succesful writers coming out of their programs and small groups. It's an honor to me that they keep having me back year after year, and I always value the opportunity to try out on the assembly whatever new idea is starting to come together in my brain.
This year, my keynote will be on the paradox of writers who are Christians trying to create heroes. The problem comes in with figuring out how to make somebody bigger and more virtuous in order to be inspiring, and yet not slipping into sentimentalism, which as Flannery said is inexcusable for a Christian as an over-emphasis on innocence.
I am going to talk about why having heroes is important, especially in children, and how our heroes should evolve as adults. Also, what makes someone/a character truly heroic? Then, we're going to talk about how many of the lead characters in our post-Sexual Revolution cynicism movies aren't complex or tragic heroes (ie. people oriented toward the good but with a fatal flaw), but anti-heroes (people confused about the good).
I really don't know where it is going to resolve, but I do have some good clips and quotes to share, so it will minimally be fun for the writers.