Tag Archives: worldcon

The Road (from) Reno, Part I

So endeth Renovation, so endeth my first WorldCon. I’m decompressing, just relaxing, in our hotel room in Anaheim across the street from Disneyland. Tomorrow begins the second, more easy-going half of our vacation.

The plan is this: I’m going to write up my Renovation experiences in two parts. Today, I’ll just write some general, random thoughts in more or less the order they occur to me. Friday’s post, on the other hand, will go into a little more detail on the panels and talks I attended. So, stay tuned.

First of all, the bad news. Reno is a pukehole. There’s this contrast between the depressingly artificial glitz of the big casinos towering over the depressingly realistic grime of the rest of the city. There were some newer shopping centers, and the convention center was quite nice, but we avoided the rest of the city wherever possible. Don’t ever go there.

The convention itself was pretty awesome. It wasn’t quite the non-stop spectacle of a megaproduction like PAX; in contrast to a lot of gaming and comic-cons, it was quite small and sedate. Two reasons for this: first, there weren’t a lot of people there. Renovation only had about 5,000 registered attendees, about 3,500 of which showed up on any given day. So, compare that to the SDCC’s 130,000 or PAX’s 68,000. The second reason was far more surprising: the average attendee of Renovation was old.

Well, perhaps not old, but certainly middle-aged. I was really surprised to find that I was one of the younger people present, and that there were a few people as old as my grandparents. Science fiction and fantasy have been around for a long time, of course, but I didn’t really expect the demographics to look like they did.

And I definitely got the feeling that a lot of those people have been going to WorldCons (and cons in general) since they were my age. Science fiction fandom wasn’t just organized around their hobbies, like gaming fandom generally is. No, SF fandom is more like a family, or at least a club, where a lot of the regulars have known each other for years and years. There were times (not many, but a few) that I felt like I was intruding on their private gathering.

Of course there were younger people there too, and a lot of the authors I was most interested in were in that group. Of course, they had their own groupies, and that leads me to the slightly negative part of my experience.

So, the panels were really interesting. And I did meet a number of authors–including everyone from Writing Excuses, which was very gratifying to me. But I didn’t really make any connections, like I was hoping to. I only chatted lightly with a few of the authors, and except for maybe Howard Tayler I don’t really expect any of them remembered me beyond the next moment. It was a little disappointing that I couldn’t find more of an “in.”

I might’ve fallen short of my hopes, but that doesn’t mean that my hopes were necessarily realistic. I didn’t really know how cons worked, and I didn’t make much of an effort to connect with people before WorldCon, which would’ve helped immensely. In a sense, I was hoping to make an “in” with some of these writers, but I should’ve come to the con with an “in” already prepared.

Of course, part of it was just my usual social anxiety. I hate feeling like I’m being an inconvenience to someone, and I can’t tolerate the thought of being “that guy” that hounds after authors, desperate to make conversation.

Well, there’s always next con. If what I saw was any indication, most of these people know each other pretty well, so I’ve got to start small. Like, say, by getting something published. Hmm…

Ooh, lemme talk about the Hugos. Pretty fun stuff, like our very own tiny little academy awards. It really made me feel like a part of this big happy family watching the way that the emcees, the category presenters, and the winners were so chummy. No real competition, and lots of genuine emotion. In particular, the winner of the fanzine Hugo was pretty much sobbing like a maniac at the podium for five minutes. Fun stuff.

Despite the fact that we were in Reno, no odds were offered on the winners. Which was good, really, because I picked almost none of the right ones. Best novel? Nope. Writing Excuses? Nope. Freaking best novelette? No, no, no. Ah, well.

That’s pretty much it for general impressions. The dealer’s room was cool, and the art gallery was amazing, but they’re both pretty par for the course. The panels were pretty much uniformly awesome, but that would be getting into specifics.

Speaking of specifics, on Friday I’ll be discussing the panels and kaffeeklatsches in more detail, plus anything I forgot to mention today. Stay tuned! Should be great.

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The Road to Reno

No regular post tonight. Wife and I have dropped the dog off at the parents’ place, dropped the keys off at our friends’, and we’re finishing our packing. Next post, this Friday at latest, comes from Reno, Nevada, and the World Science Fiction Convention.

Godspeed!

This Post was On Time

Gah, another late Friday post. What’s getting into me? Vacation spirit, probably. It’s been a busy weekend so far.

First, a quick Fugitives from Earth update. Just this morning, a full two weeks late, I finished up with Part I. That brings me to 25% complete with this draft. For those of you keeping track, I should be at 50% right now, so this isn’t really what I would call optimal. On the other hand, I just plotted out Part II and the revisions there are much less substantial. Rather than four new scenes, I only have to write two, and the updates to existing scenes are way less dramatic than I had feared.

I want to build up a good deal of momentum going into Part III, because there’s going to be some difficulty there. I’m actually suspending my short story weekends for the duration, as much as I hate to, until I get back on track. Still, I’m feeling good, feeling confident.

To keep up that momentum and keep my on task, I’m starting a new regular write-in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those days I’ll be heading up to Case Study Coffee on Sandy Blvd in Portland, just to get out of the house and out somewhere where I can focus. I’ve done semi-regular write-ins here with Mary Robinette Kowal, Shanna Germain, and others, and they’ve all been quite productive. So now I figure, why wait? I can write there whether others are present or not.

One thing I am wary about, once all this drafting is done, is the line editing. Most writers cannot line-edit their own stuff, and I definitely count among the “most” there. On the other hand, most professional editors charge $1000 or more to do proofreading for an entire book, and it would take me many years to recoup that if I even had the cash on hand. Full disclosure: I don’t. So if anyone out there in readerland knows someone who will do proofreading for cheap or free, I’d appreciate it. They don’t have to be professionals, they just have to have some very basic qualifications.

The Tenth Word is a Century Old!

I’m not sure how I missed this, but I made my 100th post last week! Yes, that’s right, a century of posts in 10 months. Not too bad, really. While this blog’s never exactly been a paragon of timeliness and popularity, I’m glad I’ve kept it. I suspect I’ll be even more glad when I start working on the next novel, have the same problems all over again, and get to check how I solved them the first time.

And if I’m really, really lucky, I can look back here someday when I’m wildly famous and wealthy, and see the little man I once was. And then set this entire site on fire, lest anyone know I was not born a god.

I’ve actually been noticing that I’ve posted much more often on Google+, and gotten a lot more responses there than I have here. There seems to be some concensus on this point, even. Could it be that Google+ offers the perfect storm of features that will move us into a post-blog internet? Certainly, if my main goal was to connect to people, I’d be doing it there, not here. On the other hand, a lot of what I post here is pretty self-involved by its very nature, and I don’t think that most of it would get a very good response on any social network.

Well, we’re not in a post-blog state now, and I think that my two-posts-a-week status is pretty sustainable. “The Tenth Word” isn’t going away anytime soon.

Now, only your regularly scheduled status report. Good writing this weekend, although a little disappointing compared to the last. There was no way that I was going to have another 6,000 word weekend, but I’d rather hoped to be above 3,000. The final count was something like 2,750, which isn’t too shabby considering that I’ve typically considered weekends a break. At this rate, finishing a short story per month while working on the novel seems like a realistic option, and that’s really all I can hope for.

Still, I wouldn’t mind kicking it up a notch. Next weekend, let’s try 4,000. I’m not going anywhere, so I have no excuse for failure. At the very least, I should be able to sustain a NaNoWriMo-like degree of productivity. I am trying to be professional, after all.

Hmm. I may have just developed a September challenge for myself! We shall see.

In other news, I’m going on vacation next week, and will be entirely gone until the 26th of August at the earliest. The wife and I are making a road trip down south for WorldCon in Reno, followed by some relaxation (and sleep-catching-up-on) at Disneyland. Ah, summer and the great American road trip! I don’t expect this blog to be entirely silent while I’m gone; in fact, I may very well post more frequently, depending on how the convention goes. I’m a little anxious about not being plugged-in enough to really get the full experience, but we’ll see.

This week, though, your regular post should be up on Friday. Until then, have a good week.