Friday, December 29, 2006

Viable Paradise, day zero

Saturday night, airport. Today was the workshop and the Barbara Hambly reading. Then off to the airport in a rush so that I can wait for hours. During which time my laptop battery will run out, but I'll probably want to nap anyways.

Hambly reading was good--she reads very much the way M-- does. The reading was from her new book, Renfield. Some icky and harsh elements, handled effectively (would I expect anything else?) More bad news about books: she has a 3d TWHTN/TWTD book, but unless Renfield sells well, it won't go to press. Benjamin January series is on hiatus. No immediate big historicals. She asked an editor what they were specifically looking for, and was told 'Buffy knock-offs' so she's written one called Spider Season, with a 20ish kick-ass heroine, first-person, whose voice is completely new to her and whom she's enjoying tremendously. Afterwards I went off to buy a copy of Renfield as my contribution to her continuing career. Daniel, I think, was going to all the panels with B Hambly in them, and possibly to no others.

Writing workshop, a bit hard to find until I spotted (Mighty Hunter!) a neon-pink one-sheet with an arrow and the room and elevator number. I'm not a huge fan of buildings that have to number their elevators because not all of them go to all floors (there's a joke there, but never mind.)
The dragon story went first, then the spy/assassin one, then me, then the cats.
Mine and the cats (Randy) got the most positive responses. Everyone liked it, but no one much liked the pronoun thing with the Cupbearer, so we had some discussion about how to handle a double-gendered character, which didn't come up with anything brilliant, but at least no one wanted me to change him/her.
There was also some question as to who the story was about, and Randy suggested that to have the story be about Valen, the last scene could go, and we'd just see how the downfall of the gods was laid. One had a problem keeping track of the gods (you'd think giving them function-names would make it easier, but maybe not) and two kept trying to match them up with the Greek gods (though only one found it distracting from the story) but a very interesting suggestion was made that they be made less clearly like the Greco-Roman gods and more exotic/generic right off, especially changing the Messenger. I'm thinking that in the context of the story he might as well be named the Meddler. He could still have wings. Valen was not seen as passive, which was one of my fears. There were mixed feelings about having him lose--suggestions about him winning somehow--but I suspect that was more because of people liking him and not wanting him to go down than a real need for restructuring.
The discussion for the others was useful in some ways. My crits seemed to hit many of the same (though not all) points that the others did. The assassin title was about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, so I was right, there. And everyone thought the dragon story needed trimming, but that the dragon-sorceresses themselves were cool.
One of the pros (De Muelemeester) asked to be remembered to Emily Mah Tippetts, and the author of the spy story sent greetings to Jim Macdonald and Debra Doyle, being a previous VP alumna.

Mark and I went for dinner with Devon and Betty and a couple of other people, at the hotel's pub. Food was okay, not particularly memorable. Mark and Devon and Betty shared gossip about swordsmen and dancers (more intersection than I would have guessed) which was entertaining.
Mark drove me to the airport, taking the route recommended by one of the hotel staff. My usual fussing over lateness for anything that will leave without me kicked in, and I charged into the airport with my bags draped most untidily over me. Not that it mattered, since I had to haul out the laptop etc. and repack anyways.
And here I am. Usually I prepare myself by imagining situations and what I might do to cope with them, but I don't seem able to do that for VP. Not even scenarios where I am stunningly brilliant and impress everyone in a Mary-Suvian fashion. Come to think of it, I've never been good at those anyways.

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