Hello My Imaginary Friends,
If you hear loud snoring coming from downtown Ottawa, know that I’ve fallen asleep at my desk. Between conventions and various stresses I haven’t slept much and when I have, it’s been filled nightmares.
I know what I’ve been stressing about and I’m dealing with it; both from the “let’s get this done so I stop stressing” and the “must learn to deal with stress” points of view.
One big stress, which shouldn’t have been, was Can-Con. Between selling, attending, and pitching novels, I was wired the entire three days.
Since I felt guilty going to panels when I should be selling, I only went to eight panels. Here’s a basic rundown:
Backstories and the Development of Villains
This panel mostly revolved around the difference between Villains, Evil-Overlords, and Antagonists. A lot of good advice on how to avoid creating cardboard cut-out villains.
It’s a great panel for someone who wants to write Bond or Adventure Fantasy.
“Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.” – George R. R. Martin
Preparing to Pitch Novels
This panel prepared me for my pitches, but I didn’t learn anything earth shattering.
Whether you pitch or submit, always remember:
- Read the Guidelines
- Follow the Guidelines
- Present yourself professionally
- Don’t beg, threaten, or cajole.
- Be passionate about your story because if you aren’t, no one else will.
Serialization Past and Present
Everyone agreed that Serialization isn’t a fad and is probably here to stay. It’s also something that is changing quickly.
There are two major ways of serializing, distributing a finished and edited project, and writing it as time goes by.
The panelists agreed that the second way was less desirable because it meant less ability to edit and a higher chance of writing yourself into a corner.
I like the challenge of writing a serial novel/story as you go. If you don’t believe me, ask Felix Felicis, or Rachel of Only Human. However these aren’t stories that I’m writing for publication. I’m writing them for practise and enjoyment.
The Frontiers of Young Adult Fiction
This panel spoke a lot about normalization and the dangers of not giving social issues enough consideration. It’s not easy for someone like me (Cis-White-Male) to fully understand anything but my own experiences, but the panel seemed to think that with proper research and editing it’s important to have a diverse cast of characters.
This was something I already try to do as much as possible.
Advice to Aspiring Writers on the Craft
My wife and I both went to this panel, but I barely remember it. It must have been Saturday. The one thing I remember is the panellists explaining that there isn’t one way to write. All those “Rules” are really just suggestions and tools that you can use.
There seems to be only one golden rule of writing and that’s to finish what you start.
Fantasy Novels: A Readers’ Panel
The panel was mostly the panelists geeking out on their favourite authors. There were a lot of book names and author names bandied about.
It was very skewed towards Epic fantasy, Dark fantasy, and Literary fantasy; with little to no mention of a lot of the other subgenres of fantasy. I don’t think this was the panelists’ fault so much as the fact that they all wrote and read in those sub-genres and didn’t know that much about the others.
I was extremely happy to have Tamora Pierce mentioned in the positive.
Two things that seriously annoyed me were the lack of mention of Terry Pratchett and one panelists’ utter disdain for Urban Fantasy and Supernatural Romance.
Hopefully, there will be a better mix of expertise in future years. I would love to be on this panel.
Police Procedure: Busting Myths and Preconceptions
Wow! This was by far the most educational panel I went too. The presenter was engaging, fun, and informative. It helped me separate the major fiction of police dramas with real life.
I really hope they have him back next year, maybe for a double length panel.
I considered crowd funding a book, but it seemed like more work than self-publishing it. I eventually dropped the idea because of the cost of editing. Trust me, a good editor is worth it. REALLY worth it! I love my beta-readers but it’s just not the same thing.
The panel did give me a few ideas for a crowdfunding project I have in mind for spring. Don’t worry. You’ll hear about it Ad-nausea in 2016.
This year’s Resolutions had submit Parasomnia to 3 agents and 3 publishers. I half accomplished that already.
I had three pitches to three different publishers and all three agreed to read my book. Two were extremely excited. Now it’s a waiting game. I’ve decided to skip the agents – I don’t need them.
So if you’re counting, that’s 2 novels with publishers right now. Hopefully I’ll hear by March if any of them will publish my books.
*Keep your fingers crossed*
One of my thrills for the weekend was seeing authors, editors, publishers, and people, whom I greatly respect, loving my coffee.
So far most people love the coffee I’ve been roasting and it makes me really happy to hear. It’s been a little over a year since I started roasting my own and almost a year since I started selling.
After Pop-Expo I will sit down and see if it’s been financially worth it. If it has, I will consider expanding my operation. If it hasn’t, I’ll see what I can do to make it profitable without sacrificing quality.
This is one of my favourite Conventions. I love it so much!
I’m still not sure if I want to be a vendor, pitch a book, and attend panels next year but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be able to add panelist to the list…
If you like speculative or genre literature, this really is the Con for you.
Thank you to the organizers and see you next year!