So okay, maybe it will be (at least) a week between posts. But I do have a ton of other stuff going on right now. So much so, in fact, that I’m barely certain I’ll be able to get this post done today, but we’ll see what happens. (update, took 2 days but hey, it’s done).
Once again, a few things to get out of the way before I jump into my stories from WFC. First, have you bought J. Elizabeth Hill’s book yet? I’m going to keep posting about it until you do.
Okay, next up: The short story that I mentioned last time. There have actually been some interesting twists on that work since then. As I may have mentioned (or maybe not), my crit class is doing a “reading night” next week which I’m absolutely
terrified of excited about. I had been told we had about ten minutes to read. I realized I could do slightly less than 2K in that time and picked out two sections, one of which was more than 2K and one of which was less, but would require more explanation since it came later in the piece. Then two things happened:
1. I missed a class for a sinus infection. During that class, several other people climbed on board for reading. Which is fabulous, except that it reduced our reading time to five minutes.
2. A member of my class looked up the average reading rate and it is apparently 150wpm. She reads at 180wpm so there is some leeway. My teacher emailed and told me he didn’t think there was any way I could get through over 2K in less than 10 minutes and have anyone understand me.
Basically this means that I not only have half the time I thought I did, but I have to reduce my word count even more because I must have been reading at an unreasonable rate when I timed myself. This means I have to keep it well under 1K. Probably more like 800.
Of course I got this email at midnight and proceeded to stay up for an hour panicking about it, which was NOT good for said sinus infection.
The next morning I decided on a new game plan. 9K overall was too long as far as I was concerned anyhow, and I really felt it needed tightening up. Very well. I decided I would take it a chunk at a time and see how much I could reduce my word count and still be happy with it.
This has wound up being an absolutely excellent exercise for me. I’m grabbing 500 word sections and trying to knock them down to 400. Usually I miss, though not by a lot. But it is all averaging out so far. I’ve gone through 4662 words and reduced them to 3871. I won’t have time to get through the whole thing before reading night, since I’ll want to give myself some time to edit the reduced version, but I plan to go to the end of the second section I was considering which is just before 7000 words on the original. Anyhow, what this means is that the sections themselves are now shorter, so it should be easier for me to select something that will fit into the new parameters.
Okay, onto WORLD FANTASY CONFERENCE DAY TWO:
When I left off last time, I’d made it to the correct hotel (finally) and was feeling a bit shy about not knowing anyone. Ran into someone I met last year, hit it off with one of her friends. As such, I was feeling a little bit better going into day 2. I wound up showing up a bit later than I’d originally intended because I wasn’t feeling very well. This being “autograph night” I was hauling around a bag of books (though not as many as I’d been given the night before) and in the dealer room I managed to pick up a hardcover of my favourite Charles de Lint books (I’d been unable to find my mass market of the same that morning). I attended a panel on Fantasy Gothic Noir which I planned to leave early in order to grab some lunch, but couldn’t tear myself away because the discussion was so interesting. (the moderator had a PhD in creative writing which still fascinates me). After that, I grabbed and bagel and coffee and then ran to de Lint’s reading which was, as expected, brilliant and inspiring. That man is an incredible writer.
By this point it was 3pm, when I was due to have my coffee date with the lovely Carol Berg. I met her in the lobby and was greeted with a hug worthy of a long-lost friend. Which was wonderful as I’d only met her once but we’d become pretty good friends then and have stayed in touch since. Anyhow, we grabbed some coffee and found a quieter place to chat. I figured that since there was a steampunk panel at 5pm, I’d have somewhere to go once I started wearing out my welcome.
I had a great time reconnecting with her and we talked about pretty much everything that’s happened in the eight or so years since we’d seen each other – families, writing, books, histories. Just everything. I mentioned that I’d seen her the day before but hadn’t wanted to intrude and she told me I should have come over anyhow. At 6pm she stood up and said we should probably find somewhere for dinner. And then took me back to the lobby and introduced me to all of those people I’d missed meeting the day before and then we all went out to dinner together. These people were all fabulous and I’m so grateful to have met all of them!
(slight interjection here: while in the middle of this dinner, one of my readers sent me a tweet to tell me how much she adored the ending to my novel, which she’d just finished. And so I got to show that tweet to my favourite author. At which point I started wondering if the night could possibly get better).
We returned to the Sheraton for the big autograph session. WFC had a much better layout for this than WorldCon, I thought…yes, there was a large line to get in, but once you got in it was just a free for all. I got my new book signed by de Lint, an ARC signed by Guy Gavriel Kay for my husband and, of course, Carol signed her most recent series for me. After that I wandered about for a bit, recognizing more than a few faces but without books for them to sign. That night I went home completely blissed out.
(Spoiler alert – on Day 3 I went home even further blissed out. But you’ll have to wait for the next post to hear about that one).