John G. Hartness
Here on the fabulous inter webs we spend a lot of time griping. And pointing out when people are wrong. And proving to people that we are right. And looking at boobies.
Ignore that last part. Move along. Nothing to see there.
But we do gripe a lot. And in the past couple of years there’s been a lot of noise on the web made about bad things that have happened at cons and bad things people have done. Well, since I just got back from JordanCon and had a great time down there, I wanted to point out some great things that conventions have done over the past year for writers, for guests, and just in general. Feel free to add in comments something awesome that you’ve seen a convention do that you’d like to see others emulate.
I’m going to try and hit all the cons I’ve [...]
Continue reading Awesome Con Things
I am staring down the barrel of several guns—all shotguns, all loaded, all with buckshot. And I am fine with it. Now please understand that I have panic attacks. Last year this time I was in the same boat and panicking. This year, no panic. I find this odd behavior on my part. It differs from the character building, it differs from past actions, it does not fit the pattern. Not at all. So I am musing on the changes that I see in me. Not ranting, mind you. Just … pondering my way through it.
If I was a character in one of my books, I—the writer—would have to deal with this deviation from the norm. I’d have to find a way for the character changes to make sense or I’d have to do a lot of rewriting and reinsert the panic attacks. Fortunately, I am not a character [...]
Continue reading The Shotgun Barrell of the Writing Life
John G. Hartness
So I’ll try not to live up to the number of caps in the title, because it’s early, I’m not quite caffeinated yet, and I’m sitting at my desk at the new day job writing this post.
Yep, I set an awesome example for my employees.
As Con Season is kicking into high gear, and said season seems, like NASCAR, last longer and longer each year, I wanted to take a moment to both offer up a few shameless plugs and talk about a few con issues that have become pretty prevalent over the last year, although I’m sure they’ve been issues for much longer.
First, the plugs – Misty, Stuart Jaffe and I will all be at MystiCon this weekend. If you’re anywhere near Roanoke, Virginia, come by and say hello! Especially at 11AM on Saturday morning, when Misty and I are sharing a reading time slot. She’s [...]
Continue reading Con Season tips, tricks and “OHMAGERD! DON’T!”s
(Note: MC = Main Character or protagonist. BBU = Big Bad Ugly or antagonist.)
I’ve written (and spoken at Cons) about pivotal scenes and the need to give them the time and effort they deserve. And I’ve seen writers’ (almost always writers who are not commercially published) eyes glaze over in shock when I say that I’ve spent 4 or 6 hours on what turned out to be less than 200 words, or two paragraphs. Or an entire day’s writing on one tiny transitional, but pivotal scene.
A pivotal scene may be described in many ways (google it!) but my version is “the scene or scenes which are turning points or climaxes for the MC and the plot.”
But I’ve never talked about a pivotal scene and how to recognize one. The penultimate plot scene—where the MC faces the BBU—is clearly a pivotal (perhaps the pivotal) scene in a novel. [...]
Continue reading The Pivotal Scene
Last month, I attended Worldcon, in Chicago. I love the city of Chicago, and I have many friends there. I have favorite restaurants from the days when I worked in that city. I have fond memories of my first-ever science fiction convention, which was the 2000 Chicon. I should have had a wonderful time.
Alas, I didn’t. I felt lost in the crowd. I never found some friends who were attending and I found a number of my, um, not-friends over and over and over again. The programming items I attended as an audience member felt “old hat” to me, and I regretted not serving on any panels with any other attendees. Time after time, I wandered the halls and sat in the lobby alone, feeling like the ugly girl at the party.
Earlier this month, I had a completely different con experience. I attended Capclave (the local convention in [...]
Continue reading Good Con, Bad Con
Just back from Dragon*Con late last night and as usual the day after a big con, I’m sleep deprived, elated and let down all at the same time. Sleep deprivation is obvious, of course – who sleeps at a con before it becomes an absolute necessity? You might miss something! Elated because of the fabulous people met and wonderful contacts made. Our booth included incredible authors like David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, Faith Hunter, Kalayna Price, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Diana Peterfreund, C.L. Wilson, Jennifer St. Giles, Deidre Knight, John Hartness, James Tuck, Elaine Isaak, and Tracy Akers. Many, many books sold out, including THIEFTAKER by D.B. Jackson and the first novel (and sometimes others) in about every series. I wished I’d brought more BAD BLOOD! I know I wasn’t the only one kicking myself for being conservative. Let down because now I have to get back to real life. Although there’s [...]
Continue reading Con-etiquette
Yeah, I can’t say that this is going to be the most extensive post of my Magical Words career. I’m still at Dragon*Con with Faith, Misty, A.J., Kalayna, Lucienne, John, James, and a host of other friends and fellow writers. It’s been a great con thus far, and I know that today will be a great end to the extended weekend. It’s also been pretty interesting, what with amazing costumes, fun panels, and some laugh-filled delicious meals.
I have learned this week that THIEFTAKER is not the easiest book to classify. On Saturday, I was on three panels in a row: One on Alternate History, the next on Urban Fantasy, and the last on Steampunk. Now, I think we can all agree that THIEFTAKER is not Steampunk. But it does have certain elements of the subgenre — the emphasis on altered history, the use of atmospheric setting, the role of magic. [...]
Continue reading Dragon*Con and Tricorn Punk