I apologize, I should have put something together earlier about my RWA conference experience – except I’m still in absorb mode. Actually, I’m still on digest on all my email loops, too, so have gone dark there as well.
I learned a lot; I gained a lot; I felt like a “real” writer while I was there, and I didn’t the last time, four years ago. No, I didn’t sign anything anywhere; no, I wasn’t up for an award; no, Nora doesn’t know my name. But it was an amazing conference. I was taken seriously by publishing professionals, and by my peers.
One of the publishing professionals, the lovely and talented Caridad Pinero, actually saw me as I was working the registration desk. Recognition crossed her face, and she came over to give me a hug. WHA? Rita Nominee Caridad Pinero gave ME a hug! We’d met at RT 2011, and I was on her blog before that I think; still, it was a total thrill, and told me how gracious and generous Caridad really is, which meant so, so much to me. It also gave me a pattern card for the future.
I also saw and hugged Kristen Lamb and Jenny Hansen, blog friends (I first met Kristen at RT 2011) and it was SO good to see them! Also caught up with Jami Gold (and did I have my camera with me? Um, that would be a huge NO!), whom I met in real life at Desert Dreams. Then, of course, there was the fabulous Beth Yarnall, and the lovely Deb Mullins, who might not have recognized me in passing, but still…!
And my lovely LARA members. We were 50 plus members strong at the conference this year, and there was something so lovely about turning a corner and seeing a familiar face. Of course, after ten years of RWA, I know a lot of people’s faces just from having seen them over the years. It’s such a lovely thing, don’t you think?
As far as roommates go, I think that if you don’t room with 3 other people in beds too small for one person let alone two for at least ONE conference experience, then you aren’t really living. We had a blast. Was it too loud? Yeah, a couple of times. Was it crowded? Hell yes. Did we laugh a lot? Um – YEAH! We drank wine, too, in the privacy of the room. Didn’t get sloppy in front of other people, which in my book is ALWAYS a good (as well as economical) thing. But there you go, we were So Cal natives so it was easy to buy our alcohol and bring with.
I’ll post more later, but dinner’s ready now, so…
Cheers, y’all! Write well, read lots; there’s more updates coming. And next time I’ll mention Brenda Chin, lol.
Okay, here we go – the last RT 2011 update. I’m actually going back to Friday, since I didn’t have my notes with me yesterday.
Friday morning I went to a panel on creating out of this world Science Fiction. But really, it ended up being a panel on world-building. I learned that when you’re creating a world, you can’t just take your home town and put it on a different planet. You need to come up with political, social, religious, and economic structures for your planet (or your area of the planet), and you cannot ignore the weather as that, too will affect the inhabitants. L.E. Modesitt, Ann Aguirre, Melinda Snodgrass and Kate Elliot were the panelists (since my sons are huge L.E. Modesitt fans, it was a thrill to be there). Another thing – when dealing with sci fi in particular, stay away from what Modesitt calls “techno-porn”, digging into how things work. Keep it gray, amorphous, and it won’t date the book as fast. When you think about it, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and Modesitt himself all have timeless stories. That’s what you want, timeless, so your book can still be on the shelves 20 years from now and still feel fresh, not dated.
From there I went to a panel with Merrilee Heifetz, a VP with Writer’s House; Anne Hoppe, a Harper Collins Executive Editor; and Sally Willcox, a film agent with CAA. They were talking about taking a book to film, the options process, and how few options actually make it to the silver screen (less than 2% of the million options that happen in a year). This was nothing new to me, having been around the Hollywood scene for a couple decades now; but I did accomplish my objective, pressing my bookmark into each of their hands. Go, me!
I sat in on the TOR Spotlight and got a ton of L.E. Modesitt swag which I had him autograph on Saturday. I also learned that TOR is very interested in romance in their sci fi, and they do want Space Opera. Yay! An interesting side note – Modesitt does not have an agent. He’s married to TOR, as he puts it, and sees no reason to get an agent at this point. He’s doing well with approximately 20 books in print (I don’t think any of his books have gone out of print, actually). Nice!
From there I went to The Many Faces of the Undead with Caridad Pinero, L.A. Banks, Kerrelyn Sparks, and Jeanne C. Stein. On the social side, since I just did a blog post with Caridad it was wonderful to meet her in person. She’s warm, funny, and so smart! We talked until it was time to start the panel.
The interesting thing I took away from this panel was that, since the Vampire has so many advantages, you have to give them vulnerabilities. Which is why one of the panelists stuck to all the traditional trappings of vampires – they die during the day, can’t go into the sun, etc. All the panelists had different ways of handling their vamps, and it was fascinating to listen to. The main thing is once you set those parameters for your characters, then you have to stick with them and make them work. I think it was Kerrelyn who said the one device she wished she hadn’t done in her first book was the garlic thing – now she thinks it’s kind of silly. So if you’re writing supernatural creatures, be careful of the restrictions you put on them, and make sure you give them weaknesses that make them vulnerable.
After that panel was the book signing and I’ve already talked at length about those two hours, so I’ll skip it here.
The Vampire Ball was interesting. Heather Graham and Helen A. Rosburg sponsored the ball and put on a show. Unfortunately the show was done while we ate, and it was very difficult to hear (not to mention follow the story line). And the story line was incoherent – too many writers, I’m thinking. All in all, the dinner was nice – the show, not my favorite way to spend forty minutes.
And now it’s Sunday morning. Time to pack up all my free books and get ready to head on for home.