Sunday, August 13, 2006

Con Report

Just got back from ArmadilloCon and thought ya'll would like to know what transpired. Anyone who knows me, knows that I go for the panels. Sure parties are great, and I adore meeting people--both old friends and new. But I go to conventions to learn. I'll give a list of the panels I attended with quick blips of each. If you want greater detail on any subject, just ask.

-1- "Now that you have written a do you sell it?" I got my question answered on how to handle that one NY publisher that's had a submission of mine for over 2 years without giving me a response--I was told, "Politely inform them that they no longer have exclusive rights to look at it." I must admit that made me feel a lot better, because waiting for over 2 years with a submission at only one house is enough to drive any writer batty. I also heard other things in the panel that I already knew but will share here with you: and SFWA are good writer's resources. The Pikes Peak Writer's Conference is a good one. And Writer's of the Future is a good place to submit. Here are a couple of resources that were new to me: some place on the Net there's this "Evil Editor" who is quite good a critiquing query letters. And if you're in the market for an agent, try

-2- "Meet the Pros Party" Well, this isn't really a panel, but it is fun! Especially when a friend of yours drags you up to a NYC editor and orders you to pitch your story :) Thanks Chuck.

-3- "Building the Perfect Universe" Perfect? Panels that start at 10:00 on a Friday night do not come up with perfect scenarios. They come up with rediculous ones. Watching James P. Hogan, Elizabeth Moon, Julie Czerneda, Paul Benjamin, and Mikal Trimm compete on how fast they could come up with a complete working universe was histerical. Especially when the main point devolved into a discussion on how their worlds revolved around beer.

-4- Mmm, somewhere along the way I stumbled onto a panel about a TV show called "Lost" that a lot of people seem to be addicted to. Oh boy, I've had my head in books too long [I've never even heard of it.] Sounds interesting enough that I might go look one of these days.

-5- A tangent: I found out that David Gemmell died a few weeks ago of a stroke. That does make me very sad. I met David at the World Fantasy Convention in 2000 and he took me aside and told me all about how important it is for writers to have critiquers. After that I discovered what a great story-teller he is/was. A tragic loss to our community.

-6- Okay, then I stumbled into the art show and, darn it, one of the pieces bit me. I'm now down $75 but have a very nice fettish [necklace with carved animals] of serpentine and ?bone done in the Chinese Zodiac. I forgot to get the artist's name--will need to find that out.

-7- along the way I had great food to eat. Started the con with a scrumptuous steak dinner at Texas Land & Cattle Company. And for breakfast every morning I ate at this little Mexican resturant that serves great eggs & chorizo for $5. The rest of my "meals" were compliments of the con suite [thank you!] [and yes, I did deposit tips]

-8- The first panel I went to Saturday morning was called the Art of Editing. I learned the shades of editing that I'd not previously been familiar with; and that as a reviewer I need to be aware that "all published books have typos, so get over it."

-9- "What you should have read this year" panel discussion brought suggestions like: Elizabeth Moon's newest book [forgot the title], Spin Control by Chris Moriarty, A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, some author named Giddeon DeFoe who is said to write "very surreal", a fantasy called Miliceene Virtu by Sarah Monett, the author James Morrow, and a series called Star Fist. They also told a funny Robin Hobb story--I had known that her real name is not Robin Hobb, but the why-fors of the change are interesting: Seems her original publisher decided not to buy her next book, so she changed her name and sold the next book to an English publisher who then resold the rights back to her original publisher who didn't know it was her! Ooo, sneaky!

-10- "The magic of Collaboration" --I tried collaborating on a story several years ago. My friend & I came up with a great story, but we both got too busy with other projects to keep this one alive. I've since met someone else and am toying with the idea of asking her to collaborate on a story, so these tips I learned might come in use.... These are the things that are most important to remember when you are collaborating on a project with someone else: (a) respect the other person, put the project first, egos just get in the way; (b) have fun; (c) play on each other's strengths; (d) don't use the word "no".

-11- "NASA's Robotic Missions to Mercury & Pluto" Cool! For your information, the MESSANGER will pass Mecury on 1-14-08, 10-6-08, 9-30-09, and again on 3-18-11. And the New Horizons Mission to Pluto--did you know that it was "the fastest space craft to ever have left Earth?" I hadn't known that. It crossed the lunar orbit in 9 hours! Launched January 19, 2006, it will take 9.5 years to get to Pluto, and 8.4 years of that will be after Jupiter. The fuel source of the Mercury probe is solar, but the fuel source of the Pluto one is radiothermal and it will use a boost from Jupiter's gravity-well when it gets there.

-12- "Why we need small press" As if life isn't complicated enough, the small presses go and make a very convincing argument against the larger publishers. I'm still on the fence. The news on Smart Paper and electronic books that hold entire libraries in your hand yet turn pages like a real book appear to be about 15 years away in technological development that makes the product available to the mass market, as I understood it anyway.

-13- "Paranormal Romance" --I only caught the end of this panel, but heard a good joke and got a good tip. The joke: "You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think." The writing tip was: if you're going to write paranormal romance you better write fast because the publisher will want to put out several sequels a year for as many years as you can keep it up! Recommended reading: A Civil Campain by Lois McMaster Bujold [I've read it and absolutley adored it], and The Time Traveler's Wife.

-14- "Space Opera: Not Just an Adventure Anymore" devolved into a discussion on the label Space Opera. I didn't find this panel that enjoyable, except for Jame's Hogan's wonderful sense of humor. I did learn, however, that "Mixed Genre" is now called "Slip Stream." Whatever.

I got tired after that. Sat in on a few Readings then went to bed. Ditched out on the Sunday program because I wasn't feeling well. Can't wait to go back to Austin, however, for the Big One this fall!



Anonymous SCG said...

Sounds like great fun - wish I'd been there!

I think I may get my con-chance next year, as EasterCon is not too far away from me and has some great names. :D

12:09 PM  

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