Friday, April 29, 2011

Norwescon 34 - April 21-24

So, I didn't write last week because I was busy going to Norwescon. S and I went down Friday morning and got back Sunday morning completely exhausted.   M joined us for Saturday and we all had fun hanging out and indulging our love of Fantasy and Sci-Fi.  I went to a ton of panels, some great, some ok and a couple of real duds.

I started with Best Fantasy and Sci-Fi of 2010 and got some exciting recommendations for books to read.  Perhaps the biggest thing that I carried away from it, was the realization (not for the first time) that as a big library patron I tend to be quite behind the times with my reading.  I am discovering things from two to three years ago and it would be good to freshen up my reading list a bit.

I also went to Marketing for Writers which had a lot of useful information.  Most of it I had heard in one place or another, but it was good to be reminded of it.  We got talking a bit about e-books, which is an interesting topic I am starting to think more seriously about.

Two of my favorite panels were the Interview session with Patricia McKillip and the Creating Your Mythos which also had her on it.  I have been a big fan of her for years – I grew up on The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, among others, – and it was really interesting to hear her speak.  I particularly liked her thoughts on writing about magic – she said that magic is already in the reader and that the language brings it out.  My sense is that she is taking about the way that well written magic stirs a deep longing and wonder inside the reader, creating as much of a sympathetic response as when you read of grief or joy and feel those emotions along with the characters.

One of the panels which was (unfortunately) not so interesting was the panel on World-building.   The main contention that I had with it, was that most of the panelists had similar methods of world-building and so could offer little contrast to each other.  Additionally, they appeared somewhat unprepared to discuss the topic and so the conversation was fairly flat and uninspired.

Besides panels, I went to some of the performances, music and the Masquerade.  I particularly enjoyed hearing Heather Dale’s music performance although I was so exhausted I couldn’t stay for the whole thing.

I also participated in the Fairwood Writers' critique session and received some very useful feedback/encouragement on “The Sorrow of the Lady of Sorjaey.”  I feel like I have a good sense of some of the most important things I need to work on in my writing, including point-of-view, wordiness and passive voice.  I also hereby vow to become a better self-editor – not that I am terrible, but I could certainly be a lot better too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Writing.... slowly, but surely...

Writing the current country is coming slowly.  I have yet to settle on a name which I like for it.  For a while it was Anthuer – but I have several “A” names already and I didn’t particularly like the name anyways.  At the moment it is Tav’uran.  As I posted previously, this culture is built around their battles with demons and I have been playing with the idea that they leave a part of their name out in order to help hide themselves from the demons (or so the superstition goes).  The asterisk indicates where a syllable has been removed from a name to conceal the “real” name.  However, I am well aware that sticking asterisks into names is a fairly common and sometimes annoying fantasy trope, and I have not decided whether to stick with it or not.

At any rate, the story is coming slightly faster than the “facts” about the country – mostly because I had so much of it figured out ahead of time from my dream.  I am almost done with the first draft of it.  It would be good, I think, to work on the county entry before I start rewriting the story, so that I can allow that work to flesh out the world of the story.

All the writing has been slowed down, as I am still in beading mania, (as of tonight I have the bulk of it done and tomorrow will start actually sewing the dress again,) and am preparing for Norwescon.  Once all that excitement is over it will be time to buckle down to rewriting the Eonian tale besides finishing Tav’uran or whatever it is going to be called.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beading Mania!

I am usually fairly organized about giving myself enough time to do something, but I have sort of failed this time.  Back in November I decided that I did in fact want to make a costume to wear at Norwescon, at least to the evening events and parties.  It took me until February to decide to pursue a peacock-themed masquerade costume, which has been in the back of my mind for a while.  I dithered about fabric for a while and finally got it in the middle of March.  All good – I had over a month to sew the thing.  But then last weekend, when N was helping me fit the bodice, I decided to bead the trim for it myself.  So now, just a few weeks before it is to be worn, I am madly beading some 84 inches of trim!  Listening to books on tape or to television shows, at a dinner party for M’s visiting parents, when I am having tea with a friend, so far the beading is following me most everywhere.  I don’t know if I will get it done in time, but I find it somewhat amusing none the less.  Next time I will start the beading in November!