Archive for the ‘ConText’ Category
Last weekend I was at Context in Columbus OH. This small-ish SF/F convention is so casual and fun that it felt like a relaxicon. Columbus is also a fantastic city to visit, with bookstores on nearly every corner, beautiful college campuses, historic neighborhoods, and a highway system that actually makes sense. While you are being so very patient to hear about my adventures, here are some photos to whet your appetite.
Warning: large photo files ahead.
Warning: massive photo dump ahead.
Continuing my post from yesterday about the awesomeness of ConText26, on Saturday afternoon we went to a few more panels:
What Editors Want, with Faith Van Horne, John Joseph Adams, Jason Sizemore, and Scott Sandridge. This was one of my favorite panels. They talked about common errors seen in manuscripts (such as not following submission guidelines, the story submitted doesn’t match the style of genre of the publication, bad grammar), the author-editor relationship, and how the anthology editor decides what order the stories should in be. Frustration with not being able to take great stories came up more than once, where an editor was putting together a themed anthology and had to reject an excellent story simply because it had nothing to do with the theme.
A big part of the discussion was What Do Editors Really Want?
– how did you put a different spin on the idea?
– how is your approach different to everyone else who has used the same device?
– originality is better than polish
– how is your character different? what do they care about? Why should the reader be interested in them?
– humor is a plus. Just make sure you are laughing because the author wrote it as a humor piece!
During the Q&A time I asked how they each got into editing, and what steps someone who is interested in that aspect of the business should take. The advice was to volunteer as a slush reader to get a taste for it.
Non-Human Characters, with Elizabeth Bear, Matthew Cook, Linda Robertson, Dave Creek, T. Lee Harris, and Scott Sandridge. Another excellent panel! Be the character an animal, alien, shapeshifter or humanoid who isn’t human, they can’t just be the classic Star Trek “dude in a rubber suit”, or the person with nose ridges and lots of ear piercings. The authors talked about their techniques for writing non-human characters, which included tossing a lot of questions out to the audience. What sensory experiences does your character have (maybe they depend on smell?)? just because we are base-10 doesn’t mean other creatures will be, especially if they don’t have 10 fingers. What about symbiotic relationships? If you are on an alien planet, the environment of that planet will affect everything about the creatures who live there, everything from their physiology to their economy to their moral culture.