Sunday, August 23, 2009

WorldCon Part 7 -- Creatures from El and Other Stories

Saturday, 13:30
Bought a snail with flowers on its back at Creatures from El. Lovely, weird stuff. It's made using a wire form underneath with an air dry resin/clay sculpted over it and then glazed. Definitely art.

14:00 Neil Gaiman Reading
Heard Neil read a story about a dying sun and time travel and a flea market in Florida (that's all one story, though I see how you might think it's more a'ready). Then he read a love letter. From a statue. A stalking statue (sorry, that's a bit of a spoiler).

15:30 How to Pitch Your Novel
Quite a few people turned up to hear some rather predictable advice. Still there were some useful tidbits:
- If a publisher asks to see the best parts of your novel, they really want chapters 1, 2 and 3, not 1, 17 and 42.
- Money, generally, flows to the writers, i.e. to the "talent", e.g. at a restaurant (per Mike Resnick, who is an author and publisher; the editors on the panel didn't feel quite so strongly about this).
- Ace/roc is a good imprint for urban fantasy -- they do want electronic copy. Seems to be trending toward electronic submission from paper.
- Who you know certainly helps and can be used a couple of connections away, i.e. friend of a friend
- Longer workshops are worthwhile: Odyssey, Clarion East/West, Lincoln City
- Write (duh.)
- "Writers Market" contains a lot of dead markets and obsolete leads (along with some live ones)
- Writer Beware at
- Novel minimum word counts these days are 75-85K words
- Interzone is a UK short story magazine
- Don't necessarily need to have published short stories to get a novel published; the editors felt the forms were different enough.
- Need to sell 20,000 copies of a hard copy novel to make it profitable
The rest, including most of the Q&A, was just too "Duh."

I also "volunteered" a little for this panel, just helped move the tables and route the microphone wires so that all 4 panelist could sit together -- just wasn't going to work with them all at one 6 foot table and most people were just kind of staring at the awkward situation.

17:00 "Analog"
This was a panel to talk about what makes an Analog magazine story an Analog story. I don't read it much. Apparently Analog stories solve problems. They have a reputation as more "hard" science fiction than Asimov's magazine stories, which are more emotional. Analog tends to link the cosmic and man.
Maybe it's in light of the inevitably depressing previous panel (on first novel publication), but this panel, 10 minutes in, seems not quite pompous, but maybe a bit capricius. Two things about Analog and Asimov's: They love to print new stories from prior authors and short stories from established novelists. The Analog editor did say he's looking for stories about social paradigm shifts (I have an idea in that area). Along these lines the panel discussed that maybe "everybody doesn't need a job anymore"; certainly we can feed and clothe everyone without all of us working 40+ hour weeks. Another tact: Every story has an original speculative idea. "Pursue the next idea in this story." (I've forgotten what they meant by that.). "Don't need a single tone in a story, especially in a longer story." "Don't always need a happy ending." "Show a link between the very large and the very intimate." "Gratuitous sex (or anything) is bad for Analog." Apparently "Emergence" was a very popular story, by David Palmer; also "The Coming Convergence" by Stanley Schmidt.
By this point I'd had enough writerly advice, and was glad the session was over. I don't plan to go to any more of those this time.

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