KeyCon Sunday

If I can write this post in not much more than an hour, I can have it up the same day. We’ll see. Close, but no cigar!

I started with Sherry Peters’ Taming Your Inner Saboteur workshop. It’s based on her non-fiction book of the same title, and it tackles all the things that hold writers back. For me, this meant learning to set manageable goals so that I don’t dread starting big chores. Other people at this workshop spoke frankly and deserve confidentiality, so that’s all I’m saying. Got things that hold you back? Check out Sherry’s book.

After that, all I did was blue-pencils and socializing, so as a guide to KeyCon, this blog won’t help much from here on down.

First, a blue-pencil session with David Weber, Guest of Honour and author of the Honor Harrington series of military SF novels, plus some other hard SF and even a YA or two. For him, I pulled one of my more technical SF pieces out of my briefcase. I didn’t think he’d read all 2500 words of “Ill Wind” given the limited time, but he turns out to be a very rapid reader. He says he likes to mostly write novels, and when he does do short stories, he prefers to work in the 10,000 word range. While my story is largely about technology, it was the character relationships and rather nasty future society that he wanted to see expanded. He thought it could make a nice opening to a novel, or if I wasn’t looking to take it that far, it could grow to 5000 words or so to flesh out those aspects.

Second, an almost last-chance decision to sign up for a slot with Liana K, the con’s toastmistress. If you check out her Wikipedia entry, you’ll see she has a rich variety of qualifications, but I chose to seek her editing expertise to get input on a YA story called “Fermi High.” It’s about changing schools, fitting in, and roller-skating on the moon. Liana spotted a retro feel to it, and I admitted it’s partly a homage to Heinlein’s “The Menace From Earth.” Liana gave me a crash course on YA that left me reeling. Example: “don’t just show teen insecurity- wallow in it!” I’d love to talk to her about my novel sometime, I have a feeling that “eye-opening” wouldn’t cover it.

Which brings me to: Third, a blue-pencil session with Gerald Brandt, not on my novel, but on the query letters I am writing for it. I thought I had the basics about right, but he felt there was entirely too much of it, and he found ways to order it better and make it tighter. He’d like to see my revised version, so I have homework tomorrow.

I finished the day in the restaurant with a table that ebbed and flowed as people wound things up and headed out. Finally got to exchange more than ten words with Karen Dudley, and to meet her family. Last chance to talk to Craig Russell, author of Black Bottle Man. We’d been following each other around all weekend, but never had time to actually have a conversation. He left to tackle the drive out to Brandon before the deteriorating weather made it any nastier. I was also facing a drive, although heading east to Kenora would lead me toward better weather, not worse. Told Gerald Brandt and Lindsay Kitson how much they added to my enjoyment of the weekend. Lucked out in bumping into both Leia Getty and Holly Geely while waiting for the elevator, so I was able to say goodbye to them, too.

Then a chance to enjoy downtown Winnipeg in wind and rain and sleet.

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