Prose & Cons: When Words Collide, Saturday & Sunday

Saturday was my busy day, with a presentation, a salon and a reading. A little stressful and long.

I learned some things about launching a book from Tyche Press’s Margaret Curelas. Pre-release orders work best for big name authors who will achieve high advance sales on Amazon. For someone like me who will attract modest numbers, it will just drag my stats down before the game even begins. Huh. Might not be a good strategy.

Went to a nice panel on Trilogy, Series or Serial. I’m planning a series, by the way. That means my first few books will be related, featuring the same setting and characters, but a reader won’t have to tackle them in order: each book will stand alone.

My own presentation, An SF Writer’s Glossary of Alternative Aviation went well after a rocky start. The room needed to be reversed because of a noise issue, so before I could begin, every chair had to be spun around and the speakers table had to be moved from one end of the room to another. I was already sweating about the length, as WWC is very conscientious about ending each session early to allow people to change rooms. There was also the issue of connecting my tablet computer to an older generation projector. We ducked this by using Lindsay’s laptop and an adapter. She was brilliant as an A/V operator, adjusting the projector, scanning ahead to keep up with my talk and even fixing my e-reader when I accidentally zoomed my speaking notes to an unusable scale.

We had an audience of fifteen or so, which was not bad considering my topic was listed in a very abbreviated form on the pocket guide. The right people read the full blurb in the booklet and showed up. We had about even numbers of writers and aviation buffs, and one person who was mainly interested in a reading list for Sky-Fi. Gave them a plug for Updraft, by Fran Wilde. I’m reading it in my spare time this weekend and loving it. Kind of Windhaven meets Divergent.

Got through my topics on time, even with the inclusion of what I pass off as humour.

After that, I ran upstairs to attend the Five Rivers salon. My publisher is launching two books at once right now, and I enjoyed the reading from A Town Called Forget by C.P. Hoff. This is a tale about a girl who has to go live with her eccentric aunt. For eccentric, read bug-nuts if you’re American, or barking mad if you’re British. It’s slated to be my next vacation read, as soon as I finish Updraft.

Lindsay won a copy of The Mermaid’s Tale by D.G. Valderon. It’s a dark story of serial murder in a fantasy realm. It might not be for me; I’m pretty sure it’s not for my vacation.

I met Jeff Minkevics, Art Director for Five Rivers, and had an encouraging chat with him. If you didn’t know, not every publisher lets the author have a lot of say on the cover art. Jeff seems willing to talk. Later in the conference, I also met other Five Rivers authors, and one that had moved on. Tellingly, he had no complaints about his time with them. That isn’t always the case in an industry that mixes artistic creators with demanding economics.

After that, Plotting for Pansters. I was relieved to learn that I am not the only author to “write dessert first” and then tackle my scenes out of order. There’s even a name for it, it’s called quilting.

The book social with Gerald Brandt and Robert Sawyer was fun. Lindsay won another book. I bought one, and got it autographed. I got invited to a party.

I made time for a supper break with Caroline, then returned to the convention just as the Aurora Awards wrapped up. I showed up early for my reading, partly to show support for other writers. That turned out to be a good thing, as there were a few no-shows. I got to do my bit early, and we ran out of readers at around the time I was originally scheduled. I offered some pitching pointers to some of the newer writers, which is absurd when you consider that I do the nation’s worst pitches. I have, however, learned from my mistakes, and these people hadn’t yet.

Sunday was my fun day. I had no stress and spent most of the day hanging with other writers of MG (middle-grade) and YA (young adult) books. Two panels of kids were probably the highlight of my day. Ranging in age from nine to fifteen, they talked books, shared how they choose what to read, and responded to slush readings. Amazing footnote. One of the slush readings, an SF piece, appeared before both a panel with adult editors and the panel of kids. The kids identified the same flaws. They weren’t as tactful. They haven’t learned the politest ways to hint that a page is boring. They just said so. There were spectacular rants on the topic of describing things in too much detail, and on repetitive phrasing.

After that, I started saying my goodbyes. Some friends are travelling tonight, others, like us, first thing in the morning. There are quite a few people I’ll see again soon, at Can*Con in Ottawa next month. And I was asked if my aviation thing could be reconfigured as a writing workshop. That would be cool.




2 thoughts on “Prose & Cons: When Words Collide, Saturday & Sunday

  1. Hopefully you see this early! Trying to message you; not sure when you are due at the airport but my contact is meeying at the atrium for 0915. If you want to split a ride, basically show up.

    Hope you had fun at the panels. I guess i missed the rocky start but I found your panel most informative.

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