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WorldCon in Reno,NV: Last Day!

September 19, 2011

So it’s been almost a month since WorldCon ended and I still haven’t posted about the last day. But no more excuses! Only advance apologies for how long this post is.

Saturday, August 20th (my last day at WorldCon!)

Woke up late (what a surprise) and caught the last twenty minutes of “Knit Side of the Force.” This wasn’t so much a panel as a bunch of friends knitting and chatting about yarn stores, where you can find a correct pattern for the Doctor Who scarf, etc. It was fantastic and I was so sad I hadn’t brought my knitting with me! I am a huge supporter of wrist warmers, as they cushion your wrists while typing at a keyboard as well as keep them warm and stylish in winter. More on that later.

Tor publishing panel!

This was the only publisher’s panel I attended and I wish I had gone to more! This is my best recommendation for those who want to learn about what a certain publishing house loves. The biggested editor’s at the house highlights their favorite books of the year and tell you why they love them. Quite often they give you the one-line pitch for the book, which is also helpful.

The one-line pitch for Among Others by Jo Walton was simply “This book is autobiographical science fiction.” How is that possible, you ask? You’ll have to read the book. Pitch = WIN!

Another book, All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen was described as Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night meets Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest. Two of my favorite plays EVER combined? Yes please!

What I really wanted to learn from the panel was what Tor is looking for in their teen line, TorTeen. What I saw was paranormal with romance, paranormal without romance, historical urban fantasy and steampunk. Not much sci-fi which I found interesting.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a book I have been anticipating for a while show up. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake has similar plot elements to my story yet is very different in other respects. So when I saw it flash up, I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. Either my book is too similar in which case they would say “We have that already. Sorry.” Or it would be too different, in which case they might say “Well, we’re looking for something more like Anna.”

So I did the bravest thing I did at the entire conference. I approached an editor. [!] Specifically, Susan Chang, the head YA editor at Tor. I waited until after the panel had ended, then made my way over to her, told her I was an aspiring writer, how excited I was for Anna and asked why she had acquired it.

This is where doing research would have come in handy. She was not the editor who acquired Anna. [!] Luckily, Susan Chang was super nice and told me who the editor was and that she had read the book and told me why she liked it (paranormal elements but very different from what was out there, romance too). I thanked her and walked off, trying to slow my pulse.

Now, perhaps that doesn’t seem like it would be too stressful, a mere one minute conversation. But to me, it was a huge effort and I’m very proud of myself. Again, just had to learn for myself that editors are, again, normal people. Biggest lesson of the Con.

Can you spot Connie Willis?Walked to the room next door to “The Big Bang Theory Panel,” featuring Connie Willis. I am becoming more and more of a fan of this woman just from the panels I’ve seen her on. Shamefully, I haven’t read anything by her. But that will change!

This panel was pure indulgence for me. I love this show to bits, watched it more than is healthy and this panel reminded me of why I loved it. On the other side of things, there was quite a bit of speculation as to where the show will go. I have huge opinions on that, mostly that they’ve ruined their own show but I digress.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit I came away with was when Connie Willis declared that Penny is not a ditz or a dumb blonde. I was taken aback for a minute. Isn’t that Penny’s entire description from episode one? But what Connie pointed out is that while Penny is not college-smart, she is real-world-smart. Everyone on the show (with the exception of Penny’s boyfriends who ARE the dumb blondes of the show) has talent and smarts, just in different areas. While Penny may not be college-smart, she is certainly the most real-world-smart out of everyone. Time and again this has been shown yet I couldn’t see it because (I’ll admit it) I judged Penny by her looks.

In the last five minutes, the panel decided which character they are most like and the character they wish they were most like. There was quite the variety in the room. While I wish I were a Penny, I think I am more of a Leonard. Smart, okay looking, perhaps caring too much what others think of me, trying too hard to please those I love and thinking Penny is out of my league (just insert Penny with cute boy instead).

Lastly, was “Beyond Harry Potter: Other YA Fiction.” Panelists included Dan Wells and Susan Chang. Being in a room full of people who love YA as much as I do was a thrill. It felt like justification for my writing and reading habits. Here are some of the keys points made by the panelists about why YA is so awesome:

 

 

 

  1. YA readers are not set in their ways. Meaning, most do not define themselves as a romance reader, fantasy reading, crime novel reader, etc. They cross-genres easily and value a good story above all. This is great for YA writers, who can then blend genres within a single novel and not estrange their audience like adult authors.
  2. Things happen in YA books. I do read adult books sometimes but I mostly avoid them because it takes FOREVER for things to happen. They spend forever on exposition and back story and by the time they get good, I’m bored. YA cannot be boring. Things have to happen immediately and keep happening.
  3. Transformation. Maybe this is a reason some people dislike YA but I love the books for it. Since most protagonists are younger then 18, most are experiencing the world for the first time; first love, first heartbreak, first speeding ticket, first time defeating the monster under your bed, etc. I love this sense of change, of finding out who you are. And I personally think It is always a good idea to challenge who you are and if you’re still the person you want to be. It’s not that adult novels can’t have a character who changes, its just that they don’t always.

And then we went into a commotion, naming all the wonderful books people should read. A friend I met at the convention, Samuel Loveland, took down a much better list than I did so go check out his blog here and add about thirty books to your to-read list.

Managed to sneak in dinner and two episodes of Doctor Who at the hotel before heading back out to attend The Hugos.

On the one hand, The Hugos was more exciting than the Oscar’s because I got to vote. On the other hand, it was less exciting because of the clothes. I hate to admit it, but I do judge people by their clothes. I don’t care about the label, I just want flattering clothes that cover what should be covered. We got everything from tuxedos and ball gowns, to jersey dresses five times too small in the breast area and t-shirts with flip-flops. This is one of the biggest awards in writing and you’re wearing that?! It made me sad.

But, on the other hand, the speeches were better as most of the winners were, amazingly enough, writers. Some were short, others long but all were very heartfelt. One of the winners was so overcome with emotion that he sat on the stage, crying into his beard and cradling his rocket-shaped award while his much more composed co-worker accepted the award. There was a true sense of camaraderie and genuine love for everyone else’s work.

Multiple screens? You bet!I’ll admit that I left early. It was fun to see who won but really, I was so tired. And I’m sure you’re tired of this extremely long post so now I will set you free! *taps magic wand to your forehead through the computer screen*

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. kastandlee permalink
    September 25, 2011 12:56 pm

    While I generally wear a suit and tie to the Hugo Awards (except the time I wore a tuxedo because I was appearing on stage as one of the Hugo Administrators), and while I always appreciate the fancy clothes that many people wear (like the dress of glowing blue lights that my friend Leigh Ann Hildebrand wore), I also like that any member can attend “come as you are.” I encourage people to dress nicely, but tell them that it’s not required.

  2. September 28, 2011 1:08 am

    I loved that glowing blue dress! But that is a fair point to let people come as they are. I don’t think anyone felt uncomfortable whatever they were wearing and that says a lot about the acceptance of this community. Convention fashion will be something I study for many years to come. Thanks for the comment.

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