Monday, September 30, 2013

If you let a girl hold a Hugo...

If you let a girl hold a Hugo, she's going to want one of her own.

That means she will have to write a terrific story.

When she's finished, she'll send it out to publishers who will send her lots of rejection letters.

Then she will want to do another editing pass to make sure it doesn't suck.

When she reads it again, she will notice some parts that can be better. She'll probably ask her friends and some other writers to look it over to make sure the changes don't suck.

After they've finished, she will read their suggestions and make a few more changes.

(She may get carried away in the process.)

When she's certain that the book is suck-free, she will send it out again.

The wait will drive her crazy. To take her mind off of it, she will write another story.

If the story she sent out does sell, she'll do a big happy dance.

Once it's published, if the story is really good and she's really lucky, it might be nominated for a Hugo.

If she is so fortunate to win one, she will happily let her writer friends hold it.

Because if you let a writer hold a Hugo...

          ...they're going to want one of their own.

Monday, September 23, 2013

To tell or not to tell

You've already heard what I learned about surviving large Cons, but I'm sure you're wondering about the really cool "Oh, my frak! That's amazing!" stuff. Well...I can't do that without bragging. I know, I know. Assurances that there were indeed cool happenings aren't going to be enough for you. Hmm... Maybe if I tell the cool stories in a blase way, it might counteract the brag factor?

No, that's a terrible idea.

Ok, how about I keep the coolest of the cool to myself until the end and then I'll decide whether or not to share it. That sounds good.

Alright, to start off with I came home with some great books. The book on top I purchased, the three in the middle were free at registration, and the rest were given to me. I wasn't expecting to bring home a haul so this was a pleasant surprise. I'm really excited to have both of Jean's books. I loved her romances and I've been wanting to read her sci-fi for a while. I've also been wanting to read Sandman Slim. It's been highly recommended by a friend.

One of the activities was a lovely regency dance lesson. Unfortunately I only remember about half of each dance we learned but we had good time. I even learned how to properly curtsey from Mary Robinette Kowal and thanks to her clever mnemonic, I won't forget that.

While passing famous authors in the halls wasn't shocking, it did provide ample opportunity to take stealthies that I could use to tease friends (because I love them that much).

(The gentleman in the gray shirt on the left is Robert Silverberg. We were on the same flight.)

The fact that the hotel was attached to an upscale mall. How upscale? They had a Peruvian folk band playing American top 40 in the riverfront cafe by the foodcourt. You haven't lived until you've heard "My Heart Will Go On" played on a pan pipe.

But some of the most amazing sights and experiences were pure serendipity. Like this:

The man operating K-9 was very nice and we had a lovely chat about his collection (which included a working Dalek, and a DRD). I confess, the DRD made me squee. 

But undoubtedly the best part was becoming closer to my friends, making new ones, and being among my people. Whenever I go to an event where there are a lot of geeks and writers, that place automatically becomes a home away from home where I don't have to be afraid to belt out the Lumberjack song in a bar at one in the morning. (Yes, that happened and it was awesome.) It makes going home that much harder and yet, it gives me more to look forward to at the next event.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Ironman of conventions

As I eluded to last week, in order to get the most out of WorldCon you have to pull some long days.  Now, I knew this going in. I've had long days like that before. I made it through a six hour tech rehearsal before giving my all on stage during the first dress rehearsal and I did it without turning into a zombie. I figured if I can do that, this would be no problem.

Oh, no no. This was much, much more.

This was like babysitting all four of my nieces, then doing to tech rehearsal before swimming five miles. And then five hours later you have to get up and do it again. All I have to say is thank heaven there was a Starbucks within fifty shuffling steps of the elevator. (If it's not a Conventions site selection rule yet, it should be.) I may have to do some endurance training before my next WorldCon because Saturday morning, not only did I hit the proverbial wall, I was pushed through it by a truck, run over, and dragged for fifty feet. Not only did I want to sleep for a week, I had no motivation whatsoever, and my feet were incredibly sore. Ok, wearing four inch heels at the Tor party may have had something to do with that last one, but that's just between you and me. Shh!

(Side note: It took two weeks for the blisters to heal so next time I'm definitely taking heels that are no taller than three inches.) (What? Don't look at me like that. Fantastic shoes make me feel more confident.)

I will admit that WorldCon is longer than the average Con and I wasn't the only one who was partied out and in desperate need of cruellers Saturday morning. The way I see it, this gives me even more reason to pace myself better next time because my networking abilities on those last two days were severely hampered by fatigue. I also think this makes it even more important to be there on the first day so I can meet as many people as I can when I'm refreshed and can make the most of the opportunity. Hopefully I'll remember these lessons. I don't expect to make it to another WorldCon until Spokane in 2015, but we'll see. Miracles can happen.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I came, I saw, I Con-qured

The biggest thing I have to say about WorldCon, other than that I’m so glad I went, is that it is not a place for the shy or unprepared. First of all, there are a lot of people. Not as many as at SDCC or Emerald City but still a lot. I could walk the floor without having to wedge my way through a crowd, which was nice. I’m not fond of the salmon swimming upstream experience (the odds of being consumed by a bear are too high). I had heard that most of the attendees don’t arrive until Thursday and leave early on Monday and that was certainly true. There were twice as many people on Friday and Saturday than the rest of the weekend. It was one of the reasons I was glad to have arrived early so that I could check in and get my bearings beforehand. I don’t think would have made it to Friday and Saturday’s panels on time if I hadn’t.

Speaking of panels, there was no shortage of things to do. Besides panels there were lots of workshops, filk performances, kaffeeklatsches, sight seeing walks, dances, awards presentations, literary beers (a kaffeeklatsch with booze instead of coffee), and of course the never ending BarCon. There were so many things that I wanted to attend and didn’t make it to because of one conflict or another. In fact, it’s a good idea to look at the programming either before you go or right after you check in (preferably before). I spent about three hours going over the programming guide the day they posted it online so I could plan out the entire weekend. I marked the panels and events that interested me during each hour of programming and picked the one that I felt was the informative or advantageous. Even then, about a third of what I picked was pushed aside at the last minute.

I made the mistake of not scheduling in time to rest or eat. The fact that I regretted not scheduling that time may sound ridiculous, but when there’s that much to do and that many people to meet it really does have to be scheduled in. I also want to emphasize the or in that sentence. The chances that you'll get plenty of both are pretty slim. I ended up skipping a late afternoon panel everyday so I would have an hour to pursue one of those options before the parties and BarCon. I usually chose food so I wouldn’t be tempted to snarf snacks at the parties. It’s really hard to make a good impression or pitch a novel when your mouth is full of Gardetto’s. Just saying.

I'm definitely going to keep all of this (and a few things I'll talk about in the coming weeks) in mind when I go to other Cons, particularly for Spokane in 2015. This year's Con definitely whetted my appetite for Conventions. Fatigue and crazy hours aside, it was wonderful. I loved every minute of it and I can't wait to do it again.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dead author walking

I love WorldCon! I'll fill you in on the many cool and wonderful events in the next couple weeks but I need to decompress a bit and sleep before I can actually turn those memories into words. What I can say is that I'm more thankful than ever that I went to Superstars. Not only does it prepare you for the business side of being a writer, it prepares you for a few of the better happenings at cons: the parties and running into scores of famous authors.

I remember the first time I passed one of the Superstars instructors in the hall (I won't say who so I can preserve some dignity) I nearly froze. Despite the number of authors living in the Pacific Northwest, I usually don't run into them at the grocery store or the car wash. Usually it's only at events, both public and private, that I get to see them. I was unprepared for the commonality of it and as a result got a bit starstruck. Superstars gave me the chance to acclimatize to it.

Yes, the number of bestsellers and living legends at the seminar is a fraction of what I encountered at the con, but there's no way I could have walked by George R R Martin, Robert Silverberg, and Harry Turtledove without gawking like a newb.

I also learned at Superstars the importance of parties and BarCon. There are a lot of parties at WorldCon and if you're a writer you can't miss out on them. Likewise, you shouldn't pass up a little downtime in the hotel bar. Important contacts can be made and insider information can be acquired at both, and usually from those in a position to know. There were a lot of writers here and quite a few of them never set foot in either and they really missed out.

I know I keep plugging the virtues of the seminar, but really. How can I not when I'm still discovering the lessons I was unaware of? If I hadn't gone to the seminar I wouldn't have had a clue how to been able to deport myself nearly as well. So what are you waiting for? Go sign up for Superstars Writing Seminar. You need it.