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[personal profile] spindizzy
Hello friend humans! I went to my first bookish/writing convention weekend before last, and it was super fun! I livetweeted a lot of it, but y'all know how I feel about yelling in bullet point lists, right?

  • I don't know whether it's Edge-Lit, or Edgelit, or Edge Lit! I think it's Edge-Lit, but I've seen it written in pretty much every single way so I'm not sure.

  • Did not end up wearing a cute dress in the end, which I feel good about because haha the weather in Derby is atrocious, but also sad because there were lovely dresses on show there. So many. A+ work people at Edge-Lit.

  • (The beauty of this con being in Derby is that I can just... Get the bus there. Like, half an hour on the bus, cost me maybe £15 in bus fare and food, probably would have been less if it wasn't in the Quad with their "No external food/drink" policy.)

  • I put my twitter handle on my ID badge! Remember this, it will come up later. I absolutely remembered my twitter handle first try. ABSOLUTELY.
  • Thing I either didn't know or forgot somehow: cost of the ticket included A GOODIE BAG. Apparently they were randomised, judging by the lady who got book three in the same trilogy I got book one of. Also I think someone's bag had a copy of vN in by Madeline Ashby, which was fine except that they kept LEAVING IT BEHIND. Seriously, either there were a group of people who noped out of vN or just one person who couldn't keep track of it. My goodie bag had Starborn by Lucy Hounsom and Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina in it, which seems like a pretty good haul to me!

  • (It also had a booklet about the Gemmell Awards, which is hilarious because Brandon Sanderson on his own has won it as many times as there's been a female winner, good job Gemmell voters. Yes, across all three awards. I am not joking. There has not been two female winners in the same category, even.)

  • I know, I know, nominate and vote if you wanna change things, but I am one person who does not read a lot of new books, okay, I am defeated before we start.

  • I AGGRESSIVELY TOOK NOTES in all of the panels I went to, because I am six and can therefore sit still or listen, I cannot do both. It turns out that the quickest way to note speakers (for me) is to just number them left to right, note down the names with the numbers, and then just jot the number down with who's speaking. People who do this regularly will probably have better systems, that's the one I came up with in thirty seconds as people started talking. ... It works great until the chair introduces themself and you realise they're either sitting in the middle or on the opposite end and thus are going to be doing everything in reverse order to your numbers.

  • My first panel (... Pretty much ever, actually, NO PRESSURE ANYONE) was on the benefits of small and independent presses, because I follow a number of small presses? It was fun! [twitter.com profile] foxspiritbooks was on it, and when she said that was the press she won I was just like "!!!! TWITTER'S AUNTIE FOXY!" (Internally. I'm not that rude.) Would... Anyone be interested in the notes of this one? There were some interesting points, like how for one of them, if their books are bought through a brick-and-mortar bookshop instead of directly, they actually make a loss of 20p rather than any profit at all, but I don't know if that's "Interesting for me" or "Interesting for real people."

  • It turns out that the level that I thought was just a balcony in the middle of the Quad actually has meeting rooms on it? Which I discovered because I had to ask for directions to the Zen Cho talk on stealing ideas (that I booked on literally first thing), got there just before it started, and they'd already given away my seat. ... Sure is a good thing that wasn't the talk that I was most excited for that day. Yep. No frustration here at all.

  • ............

  • So instead of doing that, I went to the Waterstones stand instead! The Waterstones ladies were LOVELY and occasionally baffled by how I kept coming back ("I told you I was just going to get some cash out though?" "Yeah, but we didn't think you'd be back so quickly."). It turns out that they were escapees from the library system! Both of them worked for the same county as me, but I work for the county council and they worked for the city council. We all metaphorically raised a glass for the twelve libraries closing in the city authority (out of sixteen). Andddddd I bought books! A totally reasonable amount of books! I got the new Natasha Pulley, The Bedlam Stacks, which is either going to be amazing or a colonialist nightmare and I have no idea which; Planetfall by Emma Newman because someone over at [community profile] ladybusiness enjoyed it – I think [personal profile] justira? – and Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho because I keep failing to read it when I get it out of the library (through no fault of its own), and because I bumped into her while waiting for panels to start and she was lovely?

  • (Zen Cho complemented my earrings! :D And I feel bad that I left her right as someone came up whose opening gambit was "Can I ask you a question? It might be quite offensive.")

  • There was a guy on the square in the city centre who was Tom Waits-ing his way through a song that mainly seemed to consist of "Whoooooooooooa Muhammad Ali, whoooooa Muhammad Ali, float like a butterfly sting like a bee..." Google actually didn't fail me though, and the song is called Black Superman? But that's what's playing in my head while I write this. ... Also when I went out for my lunch there were belly-dancers where he was, so SURE. THAT'S A THING.

  • My first workshop was on "How many POV are too many?" There was less ragging on George R. R. Martin and Robert Jordan than I thought there'd be! But also "Okay, so it looks like the average number of POVs for the room is 5. Except for [that guy] over there who has twenty-six." (The lady in charge of the session had sixteen originally in her book, got told to cut some, cut two, and then was bereft when they told her to cut another four. And then she ended up genderswapping one of the characters and it all went much better! And now she's going to kill off lots of her POV characters and this will solve the problem.)

  • "Does anyone write in second person?" Me: *raises hand* *looks around to see if anyone else has raised hand* *keeps looking* *FEELS INTENSE REGRET*

  • Okay, so for this I was sitting next to a guy with an AMAZING MOHAWK. Like, that mohawk was a good foot tall. And he mentioned while he was making a really interesting point (about POV characters being the one who either knows about a topic or who doesn't so it can be explained to them, if I recall correctly?) that two of his POV characters are a foul-mouthed Chinese spaceship pilot and her (more strait-laced?) brother, at which point I resolve that I must find out what this book is. And afterwards I ask him if he minds if I just clock his name badge because I'm interested in his book, at which point he pulls a copy out of his bag. "Is anyone selling that here?" "I am?" *immediately hands over money* IT WAS A GOOD MARKETING TECHNIQUE, OKAY.

  • And I'm tweeting about it afterwards, right, because always buy books off guys based on the quality of their mohawks, and I've LITERALLY just hit send when I get a notification saying that the man I'd been speaking to is now following me on twitter.

  • ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE ON YOUR NAME BADGE IF YOU ARE GOING TO SUBTWEET A GUY'S HAIR, OKAY, THAT IS THE LIFE LESSON I LEARNED FROM THIS.

  • After lunch I went to a workshop on overcoming writer's block, which I thought was going to be super generic but was instead super specific, in that Peter Newman went around the room asking people where they were stuck on their WIP and he would pitch solutions. And I was going to be first but NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE I needed extra time to pick a WIP that I was stuck on. I went with my "I have a grumpy wizard who has to keep a prince alive until the coronation, which he is accomplishing through time loops because I like those, but I don't know whodunnit," and when I didn't like his first suggestion of the wizard doing it (NO CAUSAL LOOPS is my NO CAPES!) , but his second idea was great and I am fitting it into my outline now. NO YOU DON'T GET TO KNOW WHAT IT IS, BECAUSE IT WAS SUCH A GOOD IDEA. Like, he said it and I could just feel my brain lighting up like "Yes, that's it, that works!" so I am so glad I went to that, even though it was terrifying.

  • The panel on Epic Fantasy is seriously warring with the New Voices panel for which one was the best thing I sat through that day. THERE WERE SO MANY WOMEN BEING SMART, OKAY, SO MANY. I think I might have enjoyed the New Voices panel more? Because it was a bunch of really smart ladies (and Peter Newman, who took every opportunity to talk about how great Emma Newman's books are which is great) talking about how they got published and (as it was a majority women panel) how they dealt with the inevitable sexism. Natasha Pulley doesn't understand sexism! She hasn't dealt with very much of it so she thinks its funny! This is mind-boggling to me. If anyone wants me notes on those, I can type them up? The New Voices one was Lucy Hounson chairing, Natasha Pulley, Zen Cho, Emma Newman, and Peter Newman, and they were so smart. (Favourite take-away points: You can't get fantasy wrong. It can be bad, but it cannot be wrong. Also make sure that you've done the work so that if you get lucky, you can take advantage of that luck.

  • (Me: Do I want to ask this person to sign my book?
    Me: ... They appear to be having a moment of peace and also that is Emma Newman right there who just mentioned her anxiety, so let us NOT do that.)
  • There was a "It's more of a comment than a question" guy, but as his comment was "Thank you for having 50-80% women on your panels today" I'll allow it!

  • I realised about five minutes after the "Can we picture a world without genre?" panel started that I had made a fundamental error because I quite like genre and a bunch of people mostly going "Nope, anarchy in the shelves, genre is a social construct that has no place in modern fiction" is not my thing. I did enjoy Adrian Tchaikovsky pointing out that yes, this novel about exploring the depths of humanity might be very good, but he'd still much rather read a novel about exploring the depths of humanity and spaceships. (Also his intro was "I'm Adrian Tchaikovsky, I write books about giant spiders.") Also Joanne Harris talking about spider romances and how if that's what you what, someone is writing that fanfic right now.

  • I decided not to do barcon because that was A LOT of peopling in one day, which was fine, but much better to leave while I was still at the "Yay, buzzing!" level of peopling rather than the "I am an anxious potato, see me cry" level of peopling, which can happen. NEXT TIME, MAYBE. If there are people that I know.


IN CONCLUSION I had a really good time and might go back for the November one (I think they called it Sledge-Lit and I am just uggggggh). Might see if [twitter.com profile] captainraz or [twitter.com profile] splend want to come with me. It was just... Really heartening? Being in a building where everyone wanted to be there and talk about writing and publishing and having been published and it was just... So lovely. So fun! It was looking up and going "Wow, my genres are full of amazing, smart people who write good books," and this not being questioned. *clutches face*

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Susan

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Hi! I'm Susan, I write for [community profile] ladybusiness, and I'm currently trying to post at least 100 words of fic every day.

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