Friday, March 14, 2008

Omegacon Friday

The convention is off to a bustling start. From what I've heard, there were 1700 pre-registrations. I've not idea how many walk-ins. Of course, with any convention this size, there are complications. The programs were a bit mixed -- and altered. Some rooms were changed last minute, and a program book wasn't included in the "goody bag." However, the folks running the convention responded quickly and re-organized.

To the right and above is a image of the registration line.

As I mentioned before, the dealer room is quite vast, and it would require too many pictures to convey the size, so I won't venture down that path. Instead, here are a couple of offerings.

To the left is an image of the far side of the convention hall. And the next image is of ESP -- turns out they were there as well. And across from the ESP booth is Marietta Publishing, the house that has produced quite a few Lovecraftian titles.

The first event of the day for me was the launch party for The Strange Cases of Rudolph Pearson. It was a great event, and I had the opportunity to meet quite a few nice people. But, I was unable to photograph anything. What I do have is the Books-A-Million display outside the launch party. The Pearson book is missing (not released yet), but they did have a nice display with Horrors Beyond 2 and High Seas Cthulhu.

Later in the day there was an autograph session. Because of some confusion, the Author Nook (launch room) was moved into the autographing room. This wasn't included in the program, so it resulted in a bit of confusion. Still, it was a busy afternoon -- and again, no photographs.

During the day, Alan Dean Foster dropped by. He is always pleasant to talk to, and he has quite a few interesting stories. Naturally, I had to ask a question about the original Aliens script (he wrote the novelization, and spoke with James Cameron about the film -- even suggested that Cameron should try a Lovecraftian film).

Around 6:00 pm, I was on a panel titled "How to Edit Yourself." This event was aimed at authors who had a chance to ask the panel of authors and editors about "self editing." Each panel member had quite a bit advice, and all of it useful -- for the audience and also for the panelists. It is a bit difficult to summarize an hour meeting, so I'll offer some lists on self editing (this should be humorous because I'm not editing this post):

* - Try not to edit while writing. Put the work aside for a period of time, and return to it to edit.

* - Do not become attached to any part of the writing. Sometimes writers need to part with their favorite sentences or paragraphs for the sake of the work.

* - Make sure everything in the story/novel plays a part in the work -- it should move the story forward.
* - If possible, find workshops or other people to read the work and offer comments. Even if the people are not "trained" writers, they can still provide useful input. When several people mention a problem in the same point in the story, it is possible there is something at that point in the story.

* - Read the work aloud. Yes, this is a common answer about editing, but it is still valid. While reading a novel can be a lengthy process, it isn't any longer than writing it. Reading aloud often catches problems that might be overlooked when reading "in the mind."

* - Make sure you read your work. This one sounds silly, but quite often writers produce a story/novel and more or less skim it rather than reading it.

* - Pay close attention to the opening -- the opening helps to sell a story/novel. If the editor isn't interested by the opening, then it is less likely the rest of the work will be read. Remember, readers in stores might not give a work more than a few paragraphs, so a strong opening is important.

* - Don't ignore the remainder of the work. A strong opening is great, but don't stop there. Organize the work, and keep the story moving forward.

Needless to say, there were quite a few other suggestions, and many good questions, but I can't cover all of them. Anyone who wants to add to this list, please feel free. Or if you have a question, ask. Most likely, a similar question was asked during the panel, so I can probably offer a broad answer based on several others' responses.


Charles Gramlich said...

Good advice to writers there. As for Foster, his novelization of "The Thing" is absolutely excellent, my favorite novelizatin ever.

Steve Buchheit said...

Kill your darlings, the hardest part of self editing. This is where it helps to have other people read your stuff. Especially having other writers read it. They can point those sacred cows out for sacrifice.

Jeff Edwards said...

This piece of advice is tough but true: "Sometimes writers need to part with their favorite sentences or paragraphs for the sake of the work." I once came up with the final line of a story, and then wrote the entire story just to reach that final line...and an editor asked me to radically change the final line. This was difficult, and I resisted. (To this day, I still prefer the final line that I originally wrote, rather than the revision! But, I am biased.)


William Jones said...

Charles -- I agree with you on all counts. :)

Steve and Jeff -- Both of you had the same idea at the same time. To me that shows how important the insight is when editing. Sometimes those favorite lines/words can be used another time. But it is important to part with them when needed.

Also Jeff, editors are not always right. :) Maybe someday you can reprint the story with the "alternate ending line."