I mainly went to WisCon 37 for the writing. It could be going to panels and getting ideas, interacting with people who don't have the same ideals as myself (as a white male, I don't always feel like I'm welcomed at this convention), and networking with others. I also got a chance to fanboi a little bit, which is always fun.
The writing workshop
First thing on Friday morning was the writing workshop. This is where (in theory) four of us submit 10k word pieces of our current novels and then critique them before a professional gives their opinions. I did this at ICON once, before they switched over to the Paradise Workshop which I'm not allowed to join because I don't have enough published, and it was fantastic.
The theory is because one of the four didn't show up. At ICON, two didn't show up of the five.
I submitted the first five chapters of Sand and Love, the sequel to Sand and Blood. Overall, I got some very positive feedback on the chapters, including a couple suggestions that I really liked. Mostly places to trim it down.
The biggest one, which is the same with Sand and Blood, is that I purposefully added a slow introduction to get readers used to the names of the world. While I'm at the point where I can easily read "Shimusogo Rutejìmo," I found that it takes just a little longer to get used to the naming conventions. They all agreed about the slow beginning, but they also said that after the third chapter (when things really picked up), they stopped struggling.
I got one written feedback on the piece and the other two are going to be retroactively delivered via email. Within a week or so, I should be deep in edits for that.
The other two pieces were really fun to read. One was specifically a QUILTBAG novel and the other was a fairy tale. I liked reading both of them and I hope I gave useful feedback, both verbally and in written form.
Another big piece from the workshop came networking. The professional, JoSelle Vanderhooft, is working on being a full-time editor. While I've been waiting for another editor to have an opening in May, I suspect I've been dropped by them. I sent an email a half week ago asking for an update.
If I have been dropped (it happens a lot), I'll probably use JoSelle instead. She and I appear to work well together, at least in the five hours we were together.
Spontaneous writing contest
This wasn't really spontaneous since I had to pre-register, but it was in the Spontaneous Programming room. Basically, the first eight people who showed up got to join in. The contest consisted of five lines of dialog and I had an hour to write a story around those five lines.
I almost didn't make it, but I wrote a quick little story called Figurines. It's very rough, but there is only so much I can do in an hour.
To my surprise, I won third place. Even more surprisingly was the cash prize and a ribbon. So, that pretty much made my day.
I think it was Saturday evening when I finally got to the Con Suite. I needed a little bit of food and SMWM wasn't eating anything satisfying (mainly for health and baby purposes), so I decided to grab a hot dog.
Somewhere during that time, I got into a conversation with a lovely lady about my writing. She was also a writer. I'm not sure about the specifics, but I was telling her about my plans for Flight of the Scions, the three Sand novels, and everything else. I also mentioned I was about finished writing a weekly serial after two years.
I also mentioned how I want to create the font and cover for the picture.
Well, I'm not going to quite list all the swears she used (I loved listening to her talk), but she basically pointed out that if I'm a writing, I shouldn't wait to publish Sand and Blood just because I want to learn two new skills.
I'd actually say she berated me for doing it, but it sounds nice. But, it was a nice berating, peppered with constant swearing. It was like listening to Mioráshi, Kanéko's mother from Flight of the Scions.
And, she's probably right.
I can always redo the cover and inside later. This way, I don't have the pressure to excel at two new skills just to publish Sand and Blood. In that case, I only have two last steps for Blood, including editing.
It isn't a pie in the sky goal, but I think finishing something is more important than making it perfect the first time.
During one of the panels, I got an idea for a novel. It will buttress up against Flight of the Scions, but not directly. I think it will be a fun story, but I'll wait until after I finish the three Sand novels.
Even though I feel guilty, I'm occasionally a loyal fan of certain authors. Mostly I feel guilty because I'm thinking I wasting their time, but I like them as both people and their writing. In this case, one of the highlights was meeting up with Allison Moon who wrote two novels that I enjoyed greatly. We chatted for a while about all different topics. We have a lot in common when it comes to interests, but she's a lot more… brilliant in person. Hard to explain, but she has charisma and its fun to just watch her talk.
Her writing occasionally makes me jealous too.
I also random met up with a writer named Kat (never focused long enough to read her last name). It was one of those instances where we kept bumping into each other and, eventually, sitting near each other during panels. It was a lot of fun to just chat between the sessions.
There were other authors I got signatures from (five books signed), but I… can't remember them. I didn't have long enough to chat with them to get a fix. I know they were with Broad Universe and I have their books (including one that is fun to pet), but I can't picture them anymore. Which is bummer because they were really nice.
Happily, I wasn't depressed during the panels. I got about ten pages of notes and a couple really good ideas for tweaking some scenes in Sand and Blood, but it really did help knowing that I'm going to get Blood out this year.
I guess I'm just going to have to put out a book a year to keep the dark thoughts away.