I’m just back from GenreCon 2012. Simply put, I had a ball. It was also very conveniently located in Parramatta, which all conventions should be in future. Organisationally, it ran smoothly, and felt rather similar to the Romance Writer’s of Australia convention I went to earlier this year, albeit smaller and covering crime, horror and spec-fic as well as romance. (Although the orgs admitted that the RWA was their mentor in getting things running so smoothly!)
Here’s I brief run-down of my adventures:
- Workshop #1: Writing Effective Fight Scenes. This really should have been called ‘A Morning with Simon’ as we didn’t actually get to the fight scene stuff until about an hour in. The rest was an interesting, but random ramble about the presenter’s backlist, a youtube video he found amusing, his philosophy and adventures in China. Although a lady I had lunch with was quite angry – “It was all about himself!” she said, clenching her fists in dire rage. “I wanted to learn about fight scenes!” She certainly was about to enter one! However, Simon did get around to telling us awesome stuff about how to knock people unconscious and even demonstrated some chokeholds on foolish volunteers.
- Panel #1: What Writers Get Wrong: There were two ex-coppers on the panel and a medical expert. They told us, in no uncertain terms, about what made them start twitching uncontrollably when writers got things ‘wrong’. This included detectives who bring their work home, fights over jurisdictions and deathfights on the rooftop. And also, an emergency cricothyrotomy should be done with a rolled-up business card rather than a pen.
- Panel #2: After the First Draft: What to do after you finish your first draft. No surprises here – revision, test readers and editing are all important things before submissions.
- JOE ABERCROMBIE!!!! Joe was interviewed and I got to bathe in his Chuck Norris level awesomeness. I even drove off some ninjas on the way back.
- Dinner – Pistols & Parasols. I went to the banquet. Not being the world’s most social butterfly, I was a bit worried about, you know, talking to people and stuff. They might talk back! Or pretend I’m not there! Or something. And I did not have either a pistol or parasol. However it was a great evening – I sat next to people who didn’t really know each other either and ‘what are you writing about’ is an excellent icebreaker. I scored some free book loot, swapping a raunchy romance for an urban fantasy (at least I assume so, as the cover has a chick with katana on it) and got a vampire romance book as well. The girl is saved by the vampire in the first chapter, so it’s already faster paced than Twilight. There were some great presentations, including Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books fame. Ah, if only I had a groat’s worth of her wit. (I do tell some brilliantly awful jokes, however.)
- Ginger Clarke. Ginger is a famous agent, I’m told, and gave us an excellent coverage of why writers need agents; even the self-published ones.
- Workshop #2: Author Platform 101. Inspired by Sarah’s presentation at the banquet, I went to her workshop. I learned about promotional and social media, although I’m not sure I want to start getting in Twitter and whatnot just yet, given that I’ve yet to get anything published and really don’t need any excuses to procrastinate further. I was also inspired to tidy up my website! Now there’s a bibliography, that will hopefully develop a bit more! Sarah is an entertaining public speaker and presenter. Her advice is oddly catchy: “Be George Clooney”.
- Panel #3: Practical World Building. A solid panel, from the perspective of a crime, romance and fantasy novelists – PM Newton, Anne Campbell and Joe Abercrombie respectively. I got all of their books!
- Panel #4: Three Stages of a Writer’s Career. A look at things from the perspective of a starting versus more advanced writers.
- Debate: Plotters versus Pantsers. Plotters won! The Pantser team improvised their speeches and were overthrown!
And then I went home, stared at book loot, and updated my proto-author platform, er blog site!
I suppose I should do some work on the actual novel at some point…