Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WFC 2010

Posting from Canterbury.

Well, the whole enterprise very nearly ended before it began, when I arrived at the airport to check in and the woman at the counter pointed out that my passport had expired 2 weeks ago.
Yes, I am an idiot.
However, the Victoria passport office worked absolute miracles for me and had a new passport for me by 1 pm the next day (can you believe that? I brought them a tub of cookies and a bag of apples) so I flew out the next evening.

I have now met my agent, and a number of her other clients, all of whom think she is wonderful and are ready to sing her praises. (I had confirmation from another client that all the revision that goes on before submission makes a difference and that she had less revision required from her editor.) In case anyone is wondering about the high-flying life of those of us with hot New York agents, for our meeting we ended up in the hospitality / consuite after the cafe got too noisy, and had free tea and pop. And crackers.
We talked about The Cost of Silver, and what I see as the highly uncommercial aspects of it, and what could be done about those. I have the go-ahead to write bigger and broader this time, to really use the historical setting (England in the Stuart and ECW era), and to write several povs or storylines, tying them in rather than leaving those as secondary or tertiary characters.
I suspect this means that revising the first draft will not be finished by the beginning of February as previously estimated.
The question of 'what books is this book like' came up again. So far we have Iain Pears' Instance of the Fingerpost, Kostova's The Historian, and that Dan Simmons' book that starts in a Roumanian orphanage.

I got to visit with Terri-Lynn and Cal from VPX, and to fangirl Martha Wells, among others. I got a signed (and inscribed!) copy of Terri-Lynn's book, launched at the con--Finder, published by Hadley Rille. Memo to self: find sparkly gel pens for her to use for future signings. The queen of sparkles needs to have a sparkly signature.
Got to meet Cal's daughter, a bright and talented young lady, with an awesome Goth coat.

Here's a photo of us, taken by Terri's stalwart husband. I don't know how well Terri's tattoos show up, but they are works of art.

Good con stuff: excellent food in the consuite; a talk by Mary Robinette Kowal on how to improve readings, truncated to a half-hour and continued in the bar. I had to miss the latter part because I wanted to attend the panel on Fantasy as the Art of Leaving Things Out, which was also pretty good. And here's a picture of that panel, with Martha Wells in the centre, moderating. Somehow I missed catching her in the big autograph session--missing people there seems to be a gift I have. But I was able to meet Lane Robins and engage in some mutual squeeing over how good The Wizard Hunters is.
Also met Alaya Dawn Johnson and bought her last copy of Moonshine (ha ha!) and was able to tell her that I'd looked for and bought her previous two books, the Spirit Binders series/trilogy after reading the sampler at last year's WFC. So the sampler works.
I picked up my tent card after the signing session, but with only 4 e-stories to my name, I don't have anything to sign, myself.

I don't have the programme book with me, so I can't do a full con report, but overall it was a good con. I never got into the art show, which was a pity, because it looked good although out of my price range.
Not quite as many books in the bag as with previous years, and the swap table pickings were fairly lean--there were four books that were fairly constantly present, and others were only available briefly. I was happy to snatch up a copy of the new Holly Black, and to have a copy of Secret History of Moscow in my bag.
Then I posted all that back home, because when I'm travelling I try to carry only books I'm willing to leave behind when I've finished them. So I picked up a copy of Night of Knives from the table, and unfortunately while I'm quite willing to leave it behind, I'm not nearly as willing to finish reading it. The story is okay if you like gaming-based heroic fantasy where the story fills in cracks of a much bigger storyline, but I'm having trouble with the author's persistent misuse of words and clumsy sentences. ('rind of bread', 'cantered' for 'canted', 'malinger' for 'linger', etc.) The character with a crossbow strapped to her leg, lying on a rooftop, kind of boggled me too (and she's an adolescent girl: does the author know what upper body strength is required to draw a crossbow?).
Oh well, gripe gripe gripe. I've picked up a couple of books from the Oxfam shop to tide me over.

More later!


John Chu said...

I think the answer is, "No, the author didn't know." Neither did the editor nor, surprisingly, the copy editor. Archery is one of those things that we all think we know enough about to fake but we don't. I have the same gripes with climbing and singing. If I ever read another story about someone who sings effortlessly without ever having to learn how to sing or practice, I may not be responsible for my actions.

Also, game-based heroic fantasy physics isn't like real physics. This annoys me. (I can understand a certain amount of exaggeration for effect. Those stories are going for a cinematic swashbuckling feel. The result has to be a consistent world though.)

BTW, the word verification is "coman." I can't tell if that's something out of a Joanna Russ story or a game-based heroic fantasy.

Terri-Lynne said...

I got some great books in my bag, but I was seriously jealous of the Dave Duncan book another friend got! Thankfully, I had my signed copy to console me.
((((((Barbara)))))))))))) I can't thank you enough, my darling friend!

I searched for you Saturday night. I hate that I didn't get to say good-bye. It was a WILD weekend, constant motion. I wanted to hear about your meeting with Caitlin. I guess a con is NOT a good place to catch up, eh?

Hey, can you send me that pic of me, you and Cal?

batgirl said...

I like the Joanna Russ option better.

Probably everyone has some area of expertise that gets bollixed when it's used by some writer who assumes they know how it works. Like the way that anyone who's been involved in a news story realises suddenly that reporters get heaps of details wrong.

batgirl said...

Terri, pics are on their way, all 3. Hope they download for you!
I was sorry to miss you, and then Cal left early. Sigh. But it was great while it lasted.