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.

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