Monday, November 14, 2011

OryCon 2011 Redux


Taking the train is fun, especially if you travel with another writer. But expect that the train will be a little late.

2:00PM-3:00PM -- Hawthorne Political Systems in SF

Political Scientist and Anthropologists and Cultural Historians throw your stories across the room when you over-simplify The Evil Overlord's Government for the same reasons that Physicists do when you Do the Kessle Run in 2.5 Parsecs.

3:00PM-4:00PM -- Story Outline in an Hour

Give the character something they love, threaten it, and then imagine worse things. Mileua, Idea, Character, Event will filter how you show the story.

4:00PM-5:00PM -- Gender and Writing

Write complex characters. As a writer and as a reader, you have basic assumptions about men and women. You can use your writing to explore gender (and the other) but make sure to write a good story (that challenges peoples' assumptions) without being preachy.

5:00PM-6:00PM -- Designing believable archaeology and anthropology

Do your research. When doing your research on another culture's religion, make a note of if the material is written by a believer or a non-believer.

6:00PM-7:00PM -- FOOD!

7:00PM-7:30PM -- Endeavour Awards


9:00 AM - Wordos Breakfast

More Food.

10:00AM-11:00AM -- Spicing up Your Hero

Heros are people who pick up the mess that other people would rather not so that nobody actually steps into the mess. Heros are not always Knights of Light, so much as they are folks working against the Dark; anti-evil doesn't always equal good. Your hero doesn't have to be the point of view character. Give your hero weaknesses; give your hero a dirty secret. Be aware of the biases that filter a hero's perceptions (we all have them). Be aware of how being a hero will affect how they interact with culture (i.e. Awful Good).

11:00AM-12:00PM -- Using Social Media to get Published

Social media is like a Con on the internet that never shuts down. Decide how much you want to share with people and then use that to make a connection with your readers. Don't bitch about people. Make sure that you use cross-posting so you so you limit the time you spend on social media.

12:00PM-1:00PM -- My Villain is Too Mwa Ha Ha. Help!

The villain is always the hero in his or her own mind. Make sure that the reader can see the motivation behind the villain's action so the villain's actions don't appear to be violent or evil just for violence's or evil's sake.

Oh, also: Dracula is Evil because he is a perversion of the Christian rite of Communion and a being operating outside of the circle of God's grace.

1:00PM-2:00PM -- Alien Etiquette

An alien culture can be broken down into Morals (what's right and wrong), Manners (how an individual acts and reacts in situation), Money (how they trade), Monogamy (is it a good idea or not), and The Marx Brothers (what is funny).

Make the alien POV an emotional reaction to something.

2:00PM-3:00PM -- Hawthorne But I thought it was perfect!

Play nice. Being part of a critique group is to practice critiquing manuscripts (easy) so that you can see how to critique your own (harder). A good critique group will have procedural rules to protect people emotionally; the foremost being, critique the text, not the person.

3:00PM-4:00PM -- Writers of the Future

Writers of the Future is a great beginner's market from which to launch your career. It's the most money you'll be paid for a story for quite a while. Regularly submitting to Writers of the Future is a good way to start good writing habits. It's cool, it's validating, it's network building. And... remember, have a What Next Goal ready for after you win.

4:00PM-5:00PM -- The Physics of Magic

Figure out how magic is used in your world, is it via words, or objects, or ritual or Divine Intervention, or...?

A good magic system will have limits -- the cost of using magic is prohibitive, magic spells are too specific to be of general use, and magic should be bound by a set of consistent (possibly logical) rules. If magic is unlimited, the story turns into wish fulfillment.

The use and limitations of magic should aid the story's flow.

Editors want New And Different Magic Systems, but not too new and different.


12:00PM-1:00PM -- The Unique Challenges of Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy, which has some cross-over with paranormal romance, can trace its roots to detective and noir genres. It's an exploration of being outside and The Other. When writing Urban Fantasy, its helpful to think of the magic (and the magical culture) in the story as being a part of the story's main culture (which makes it alternate history), a sub-culture within the main culture, or an unknown element hidden from the main culture.

1:00PM-2:00PM -- Podcasting Primer

Decide how often you want to podcast (daily, weekly, monthly...) Decide if you want to podcast for fun (friends and family) or to build a fanbase (readings of your work) or as a soapbox/forum or ... a mix of all of these.

How often you podcast will affect your choice of podcast host - if your podcast becomes very popular, you may run into streaming issues (and be charged accordingly).

Skype is very difficult to get good sound quality from. Record in a closet or under covers to help dampen sound. Use a windsock or make one to cut down on pops in speech. You'll need to do post-recording production clean-up of hisses and pops if you want a good product.

Podcasting can eat up your life (just like other social media).

Post OryCon

When -- ahem -- new writers wish to push their mystical autobiographical science-fiction mystery thriller manuscript upon you hoping that you can back-door it to a Famous Editor (or wave a magical writing pen over the manuscript and turn it into solid writing gold) a good answer is, "Well, my editing rates are..."

Insert post-signing -- ahem -- discussion about the virtues of Scrivener here.
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