I'm home now and have forgotten amazing amounts of what I actually did in Melbourne, so I'll be sticking to talking about the panels (which I took notes on). That's 90% of what I wanted to say, anyway.
Editing the Novel (forgot to note panelists): This panel should have been interesting, and I have a couple of initial notes, the highlights of which I'll share, but I confess I had to actively tune out the panel after a bit. One of the panelists was irritating me very much. I won't say why because it was nothing professional; it has to do with a hobby that I have a complicated relationship with and that she kept reminding me of.
Anyway, here are my highlights of the first twenty minutes or so:
* it's interesting [for an editor] to see what comes back after a suggestion
* sometimes production choices change the reading experience (i.e., a book looks long, but is actually a 60,000 word book, but people read it fast and think they've read a lot and that it must have been great because they read a 'long' book so fast)
Also, a book was mention that sounded like something I'd enjoy, but unfortunately they didn't give the title, and they mentioned the author at the beginning so by the time I knew I was interested, I'd forgotten his last name. Frustration! Can anyone out there thing of a post-apocalyptic book in which the SCA helps reestablish things, written by someone with the first name Steve?
I had a free hour, and then I was onto:
Mission to "Mars" (David Levine): This was a presentation, rather than a panel, about his experience being a member of a crew staffing the Mars simulator station in Utah. It was a really fun talk, which means that I took almost no notes! I was too engaged to have my computer out, typing away. I even got a couple of story ides during the presentation!
I did jot a couple of things down that I didn't want to forget:
* You have to improvise everything, so nothing is the way it is documented
* Handover meetings are all about explaining improvisions
* Every day is like that seen in Apollo 13 ("You have to make this fit into the hole for that using nothing but this")
(Apparently improvisation had a strong impact on my mind)
* shared adversity creates strong relationships
* isloation forces ingenuity, improvisation, self-reliance
(I, um, don't remember what that last note means. *sheepish*)
From there, I went directly to:
The secret life of literary agents (John Berlyne, Ian Irvine, Joshua Bilmes, Eddie Schneider): This first lesson for me, in this panel, was a firm reminder not to judge someone by a surface characteristic. One of the panelists' voices was driving me crazy...until I realized I was enjoying his comments more than anyone else's! At which point his voice became a convenient flag to focus my attention if it drifted. :-)
Some highlights and notes to remember:
* Jabberwocky literary agency represent a LOT of authors I know and love
* queries letter should say a little bit about yourself, because agents are looking for an author they can have a relationship with
* John Berlyne: in every case, he will google you
*** John Hemry === Jack Campbell!
- a short story apprenticeship is not necessary, but it helps for networking and name level reasons (not for craft reasons)
That three star note? That's because I love John G. Hemry's novels and was frustrated that there weren't very many of them. I bounced in my seat with excitement to discover that he is still writing, just under another name. Apparently there were marketing/packaging issues that negatively impacted his sales so severely that they had to completely re-brand him.
Once again, I then went straight to:
Anatomy for writers, fighters, and tavern brawlers (Sean McMullen, Jetse de Vries, Catherine McMullen): This was a very informative panel about the mechanics of fighting and bodies in relation to fighting. It was also very visual, though, and I felt I couldn't afford to look down to type, so I don't have any notes. I doubt they could convey the information well without diagrams that are beyond my ability, anyway.
We did get to pass around a chainmail shirt, which is really, really heavy. I mean, you know that it's heavy, but it's a different thing to feel it in your hands! It required muscle just to pass it to the next person. The moderator also noted that chainmail is for extra protection from slices, and that an arrow, a stab, or a good swing will cut right through it.
Other interesting information that I remember:
* There's a benefit, in a fight, to having some fat on you. If you're all lean, then when you get hit hard, it injures the muscle. If you've got some fat on there, it protect the muscle from brusing.
* Within a certain distance (maybe a foot more than arm's length), it's all about who choose to move first. Reaction time isn't a significant enough difference to matter.
And that was my Sunday. Which does mean, I'm afraid, that I didn't go to the Hugo Ceremonies. After three straight panels, I was a bit impatient to be doing something else, and I hadn't read very many of the nominated works, and I've been to a Hugo ceremony before (in L.A.), so I decided I could stand to skip it.
But there was still one day of con to go! The finale will be along in a future post.
Parker Strahn's Journal
- Aussiecon 4: Day Four (Sunday)