blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Topic the First:

4th Street was a great experience this year--a great and glorious disproving of my usual silly pre-con anxiety of "This time no one will acknowledge my existence." For me, the most wonderful parts are between and/or triggered by the scheduled events. It's the conversations about why some authors successfully cross genre lines, examining creeping biases, opening publishing opportunities, determining themes, working with and as a beta reader, and and and... Truly, I LOVE those free-ranging conversations. I love even more that I can share them with folks who equally love them.

Part of me would be just fine with a con that had a mere three conversation-launching panels a day, and that's the fault of fascinating people who are willing to share their thoughts and experience outside the panels.

As always, there is never enough time to talk at length with every person I'd like to. That's the downside to knowing a small handful of really cool people; they keep introducing you to other cool people! And though I did make an effort to be more deliberate in spending time with a variety of folks this year, I missed a couple folks I deeply wanted to chat with. (I'm looking at you, John Wiswell!) Alas, I think this is an unfixable thing for me, for even if the con were a day or two longer, I tend to hit the Wall of Introvert Overload at around 72 hours. I simply lose the ability to be intelligently sociable with more than one person at a time at that point.

Topic the Second:

Sirens Conference! My afternoon class proposal was accepted!

I'll be presenting The Movement You Don't See. The (still unofficial) description is:

Fight scenes require more than cool choreography, but not everyone has years to invest in fight-training before writing their epic adventure! Here's your chance to learn lesser-known physical details of fighting through the practices of kata--the martial arts training tool of choreographed techniques.

In this movement-filled workshop, you'll discover the internal landscape of a fighter--the grounding, power generation, body awareness, and exertion your fighting characters experience in action. Whether writing a training montage, or an experienced fighter's battle, having the "insider" experience will add depth and realism.

Physical activity is included, but not required. Observers and listeners are welcome.


Yes, it's exciting to present at Sirens, but it's also exciting to share why kata is such an effective training tool for mind-body awareness and self-defense. (Check out The Purpose of Kata for a preview on that.) It's the little things that matter, and I'm so looking forward to passing a few of those things along. How a pelvic tilt affects the strength of a block, how the angle of the back foot affects the strength of a strike, how the lift of the shoulder affects stamina... All these things and more.

Honestly, I wish I could get a two-hour block of time. :)

Topic the Third:

I'm in the process of putting reader feedback together with writerly goals to determine my upcoming project schedule. For me, determining a schedule that is both satisfying and realistic (and it's the latter I fail at, alas) required breaking down the projects by wordcount. The process revealed I've an estimated 1,135,000 words to write if I want to complete everything on my list.

This is exciting and comforting! Truly, I could fail to generate a new idea for about three years before running out of material. I'm set for the near future. :)

Topic the Last:

That hip dysplasia thing.

Remember when I fell down the stairs a couple months ago? Yeah. Well, I just assumed it happened because my left knee and ankle have always been weaker and more prone to injury. Come to find out that is true... but the reason it's true matters. When the left hip suffers from inflammation, it puts pressure on the nerve running down the front of my thigh, and the nerve doesn't then function properly, which causes the left leg to collapse. It's like trying to do push-ups with one arm having "fallen asleep."

The fact the nerve pressure isn't causing pain is actually a bad thing, in my opinion. If I felt pain, I'd know to take it easy. Instead, my "warning" that something is wrong usually comes in the form of the leg collapsing. That fall down the stairs isn't the first time it has happened, but it was the first in a series. Even now, as I'm sitting in a restaurant to write this, the front of my left thigh is getting that "falling asleep" sensation because I've sat in one position too long.

But here is the COOL thing. [livejournal.com profile] mrissa introduced me to a physician who also has a martial arts background, and who understood in a heartbeat my internal crumbling over this whole thing.* I'm still not at all ready to roll into surgery (not only for personal reasons, but financial and logistical ones), but her quiet words and empathy carefully tunneled through a wall others have beaten upon for quite some time.

She's one of those folks I wish I would have had more and more and more time with, truly. Medical stuff aside, she's a cool person.

So there's the lesson I can pass along today: One way to get someone to do something they don't want to do is to understand fully and deeply why they don't want to do it, and share that understanding without judgment.


There is no Topic the Fourth. I'll see what I can come with another time. :)




*Yes, I hid out to cry after our conversation. Truly, if you ever want to see my cry, don't try to insult or hurt me. Be nice and kind and empathetic. Does the trick every time.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

MileHiCon happens next weekend, and I am so looking forward to attending for the first time! Already the organizers have me feeling welcome to my new home-state convention. I’m so looking forward to sitting on a few panels, and sitting in on quite a few more.

Here’s my schedule thus far:

Friday, October 23

4:00 PM Inside Writing Workshops

I’ll be offering insights about Viable Paradise and Writers of the Future. Other panelists will discuss their experience with Clarion, Odyssey, and more. Come ask your questions about the different experience and emphasis of workshops available to writers looking to improve their craft and make connections with other professionals!

Saturday, October 24

9:30 AM SFWA Meeting

I am SO looking forward to meeting other SFWA members in person, and connecting with local writers. It’s a business meeting, so I’ll be sharing a bit of info on the self-publishing committee as well.

12:00 PM What Makes A Good Bad Guy?

Now, I’ll be honest here: I asked my 6-year-old nephew this question, and he said without hesitation, “His lightsaber moves!”

I suspect the panel will go into a wee bit more detail. Since I’m moderating, I’ll be asking questions about villainous viewpoints, whether sympathetic villains are preferred or expected or a passing fad, traits of villainy that are a cliché and traits that are unexpected, and all sorts of other stuff the dear folks on Twitter helped me come up with

8:00 PM Violence in Fantasy

A huge percentage of fantasy novels revolve around wars and battles, torture or at least torment. Is it necessary? How much is too much or is there a limit?

Gotta admit, I like the violence in my fantasy. (And in science fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and so forth.) I’m not certain where this panel will go, but I’ll be most interested to hear what the other panelists and audience members have to say.

Sunday, October 25

10:00AM Writing Good Fight Scenes

Reasonable/believable choreography and obeying the laws of physics and human physiology are good and necessary first steps. What other factors need to be considered when writing fight scenes?

I’m really looking forward to this one because I personally love writing fighters and fight scenes for people who understand fighting as well as for general readers. I’ve been told I’m good at it, so I hope I have some interesting things to pass along—particularly on the difference between most martial arts training and practical martial application. I’m the only woman on this panel, and am deeply hoping that’ll make little to no difference whatsoever to what we panelists are asked.

(Aside: Does anyone see a general theme in the craft-related panels I’ll be sitting on?  I think I have my own convention theme, truly. :) )

There might be some last minute schedule changes, so be sure to check in at the convention’s website as the dates draw near.

In between my handful of panels, I’ll be sitting in on other panels, or hanging around waiting for the next thing. In the evenings, I’ll likely be in the bar for a bit in search of interesting conversations.

If you see me and want to talk, PLEASE COME BY AND SAY SO! I recently had a writerly friend tell me about a “pro” writer who told a bunch of aspiring writers that “pro” writers didn’t really want to be bothered at conventions. Ye gads, if you’re a reader or newer writer looking to connect, please don’t think that person’s attitude is mine. If I didn’t want to talk with other writers, I wouldn’t bother telling anyone where I’d be. I know, from personal experience, it can feel like cliff diving, walking up to someone you might know only from online interactions. In fact, I suck at it myself. Rest assured if you say hello, I’ll participate in a conversation.

So if you’ll be at MileHiCon, let me know! Let’s connect somewhere!

#SFWApro

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)


I'll write more details later, but for now...

Yes! I've been at Wiscon -- hanging out with folks I know, getting to know those folks better, and meeting new people I hope to see more of in the future.

My panels went well! I had fun answering questions and comments from the audience, and learned quite a bit from my fellow panelists, and managed to speak my ideas without (as far as I can tell) being obnoxious or too chatty.*

Later I attended a panel on SFWA and decided to share my opinions.  Things seemed to be decently received by some and more enthusiastically by others.  Now I have a few decisions to make on that front.  I'm currently intrigued enough to consider trying to track down the possibility a copy of a decade-old contract with Speculon might yet exist somewhere...  (That would be proof of my third qualifying sale.)

And why would I want to join now, after I've made it pretty darn clear I'd decided against it?  Good question. I've a multi-hour drive e tomorrow during which I can think it through and decide if I'm wishful thinking or if there was actual interest in that room.   Suffice it to say the SFWA panelists gave me just enough encouragement to think of possibilities and what part I might be willing to play.

I'll share more about that later.

We Shall See.

*When I teach, I teach by myself, and thus had to remind myself the things are panels not solos. :)

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