So this past weekend I had the good fortune to attend ConFusion, a SFF themed con held annually in Dearborn. There were a lot of authors there, many of whom I knew, many more of whom I had never heard of. There were authors that specialized in epic fantasy, authors specializing in short stories, in romance, and and blendings of genres. Many of these books I won't ever get around to reading, but talking with every author made me want to. Everyone was really polite, pretty positive and most of all funny. There were a lot of serious panels but they were never taken too seriously, and nothing ever felt like a lecture. I felt like I learned a lot, and asked a lot of good questions.
Oh, and I got to hang out with Patrick Rothfuss for two hours on friday night, just sitting with him and some other fans, chatting about... well, everything in the world but when the third book is coming out. (Don't push him! He'll get it done! As someone there said, "You can't rush perfection.") It was wonderful to meet and talk to the actual man, and I was impressed that I didn't make more of a fool of myself. He said something that I think might resonate with some of my fellow writers:
Revise, revise, revise. Pat's an OCD revisioner, so he doesn't just read over his book once or twice or even three times but literally hundreds of times. And he said that when you've read the same bit of dialogue two hundred times, you really, really get a feel for what you can say. He said "I want my dialogue to be fractal." That is, each line of dialogue is ten lines of exposition, or more! The key is to know your world, and the characters, well enough that you can just say one little flippant thing about, who cares, some local farm or a currency or whatever and it just gives you so much more of an understanding of the world than just straight up telling the reader that information.
There were a lot of great panels, and I'm not going to cover them all in depth here, but look forward to some articles this week about:
Sex Changing in Stories - specifically I'll be asking the question "Can you change a female villain to a man and maintain the exact same story, or does it actually break the story?" (The example of this is Snow White, where if you change SW to a macho-alpha male type 'dude' and the Queen to a King, but maintain the fact that the King hates SW because "hes too hot" that story is no longer a cutesy tale - it is a comedy)
Too Epic? - I'll explore some of the pitfalls in writing a million POVs and the problems that can result from building too many threads. I'll also discuss some of the benefits, if it's done well.
Inclusiveness in Fandom - not directly related to writing, but this panel really spoke to me, especially because of some problems in the panel itself that really illustrated the need to have a real conversation about what it means to be a fan, and what it means to deal with race, sex, gender and everything else in your art.
And one of my favorite panels, "So your protagonist is an orphan." - so many people choose to make their MCs orphans, even skilled authors with vast experience. I'll discuss what the panel decided were the pros and cons of having an orphan protagonist.
And probably some more! I've got a lot of notes, and a bunch of pictures. But my camera is far away (read, not right next to me) and I am tired, so they will come later.
Thanks for reading, and keep writing! Goooo #NaNoPals!