- Spend at least half an hour every day on writing or editing, an hour on weekends
- Finish planning the rewrites of my three works in progress
- Post to my blog on the ROW80 update days (Sunday and Wednesday)
- Read at least one of my books on writing every week
I’m not sure what to tell you all about the convention last weekend, other than it was great! I learned a lot and had a blast meeting new people and listening to the panelists.
My schedule started with a writer’s workshop, where I got feedback from author Cassie Alexander on the first five chapters of Finding Valhalla. After the workshop we went to a local coffee shop to meet and talk with other writers in the workshop. Next up was a panel on Romance and SFF, where we talked about romantic sci-fi and fantasy, which was perfect for Finding Valhalla. The last panel I went to discussed the role of religion in fiction, which was a good topic for my novel Dragons at Dawn.
Saturday started off with Tarot for Writers, a workshop that gave me tips on doing simple tarot card readings to help build stronger, more detailed characters. It was awesome and the reading I did for one of my story ideas really helped me figure out how to develop the character. After that I went to a reading of sex scenes and romantic fiction. I thought it might help me to strengthen my love scenes. After lunch we had a panel on the Wisconsin protests. There was no way I could miss that, since I am a Wisconsin state employee and have been involved in the protests. Next was a panel on book covers, discussing both good and bad examples. Finally there was a panel on combining the classic detective fiction with science fiction or fantasy. Another local author, Alex Bledsoe was there, and he had some good tips. One of these days I’m definitely going to have to make time to read his books.
Sunday started with a panel on Middle-grade fiction. I didn’t even know what it was, but I found out that my novella Six Days to Sabbath is more middle-grade than the young adult classification I have been telling people that it was. Not a problem. Now I have a better idea how to market it once it is finished. The next panel was very informative, where we discussed the ins and outs of self-publishing, both in e-book format and as print on demand. I went to lunch with a couple of ladies from my writer’s group, as well as another local author, Monica Valentinelli. She was really cool and gave all of us lots of tips. After lunch was a panel on Religion in Hard SF, where we discussed the trend of science fiction authors to avoid religion altogether. Some of the classic authors have dared the topic in their books and stories, but most of them either feel that religion has no future, or they are too scared to write about it. After that was a fun panel on Doctor Who, which started with a moment of silence for our dearly departed Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith). The last panel of the night was Ask a Pro. There were three published authors (including our guest of honor Nisi Shawl), and James Frenkel, Tor’s senior editor, who I met at OddCon a couple of months ago. They had a lot of good advice. The most important thing that I got out of it was that I need to start writing more short stories. So my editing is on hold for now while I work on a new short for submission to a company looking for bizarro fiction. The first half of the story is a steamy love scene. The bizarro part comes at the end. I went to dinner with my writer’s, and Monica joined us again so we could continue our earlier conversation. The night wrapped up with dessert and the guest of honor speech, which I recorded on my new camera, but I won’t post it due to the photography policy of the convention. After the speeches I had a picture taken in the Photo Booth, which I hope to be able to use for my online profiles soon.
Monday was the last day of the con, so there wasn’t much there, but it was still worth going. The first panel I went to was Anatomia Fantasticus, which discussed anatomy and how it can be used to develop the physical attributes of fantastic creatures like dragons and werewolves. The last panel was Being a Resilient Writer, which was just as helpful as the Ask A Pro panel, as the authors present all had lots of good advice on dealing with the publishing world.
So that’s my report. I’m certainly going to see about getting in again next year. Hopefully I’ll have something published (or at least sold) by then. Check back on Sunday for an update on how my new short story is coming.