conventions


-worked on editing Freedom: needs a rewrite. Also needed more research, which I’ve been doing all year. Learned a hell of a lot about racism.

-ran the Fifty Word Fiction group on deviantART

-started the Novel Club crit group on FM

-did 4 full length novel crits

-wrote Test of Time

-worked on editing The Tachyon People (my 2YN) and did 2YN lessons #42-#81

-worked on editing Clan Twelve

-wrote 31 stories in the Story A Day on FM

-finished editing Sick Dude Coming and got it critiqued

-wrote People of the Earth

-went to SoonerCon, my first writers’ con

-did an outline for Esfera Valerosa

-did a first read-through on Double Cross and some editing

-overall with blogs/forums, wrote about 400k this year, about 160k being story words

Not a bad year overall.

Jim Van Pelt outlines the top ten rookie mistakes.

I’m on the “Top Ten Rookie Mistakes” panel at MileHiCon. Here’s my quickie list of top ten mistakes. I’m open to suggestions for ones I’m missing or questions about the ones that I’ve included. Each is easily worthy of a separate, long discussion.

How do you know who’s going to “make it”?

I just returned from Dragoncon this week, and while I was there, attending panels on writing and teaching my Basic and Advanced Writing Workshops, I began thinking about the “profile” of an aspiring writer who stands a good chance of “making it” into publication. Assuming, of course that the writer is creative and has a good style and can put a story together, there are other attributes that help immeasurably in succeeding these days.

If you want to write, this is a good article to read.

I think I’ll keep this title for a while, I like it.

Appointments: 2

Researched: I don’t know that I did any research this week, other than the usual reading in Not Me blogs (which I started reading for research purposes and now read because I like other viewpoints).

Accomplishments: Went to my first writer’s con.

High point of the week: Meeting Stephen R. Donaldson and Claudia Christian (both really nice people who look much better in real life than in pictures), along with a bunch of other great authors and artists.

Bad thing: Being so tired when I got home I couldn’t write much for a couple days afterwards.

The High Life: Got to help out in the Green Room at SoonerCon, which is how I got to meet and chat with all these cool people. Also went to the party on Saturday night (aka “SinnerCon”), which was a lot of fun.

Overall this was a good week.

I was reading a thread written last year on cultural appropriation in fiction (long convoluted story how I got to this) and I ran across this excellent section on white privilege in SF/fantasy. I’ll quote it:

As a white person, I can go to a convention and assume that most of the people I see will look like me.

No one will look at me and be surprised that I like fantasy or science fiction or whatever.

No one will look at me and assume that I must be an expert on any history or mythology or country or sub-genre. They also won’t assume that I’m not.

No one will assume that I can’t speak English.

I can assume that most authors, artists, GoHs and so on will look like me.

I can assume that most professionally published SF and fantasy will be written in a way that acknowledges my view of the world, either by following it or by breaking with some specific aspect of it.

Most cover art will show people who look like me, even if the characters in the book aren’t white. But most characters, especially major characters, will be white.

I can assume that most books I pick up will have multiple characters of my race.

At the end of stories, I can be certain that many (sometimes all) of the surviving characters will be of my race.

When a book I’ve read is adapted into a movie, TV series, etc., characters portrayed as my race in the text will be played by actors of my race, probably even by an actor matching the regional type of the character if there is one.

I will have no serious difficulty finding well written books about characters of my race and/or settings and mythologies derived from the cultures and religions of people of my race.

People who see me won’t make assumptions about my level of education or probable profession.

If a character is presented as of my race, the plots surrounding him/her won’t require him/her to be of my race and, in fact, won’t generally refer to race at all.

The actions of a character of my race won’t generally be perceived as a statement about all members of my race.

Authors won’t include just one character of my race in as window dressing without having that character do something in the story other than just be white.

A villain of my race won’t be shown as evil just because of his/her race with the implication that all members of my race are like that.

I will never see a character of mixed race portrayed as less intelligent, morally degenerate or otherwise undesirable (or even more exotic) because of heritage from the white part of the ancestry.

I’m sure these are just a few things I get from being/looking “white” as a SF/fantasy fan/reader. A few more I can think of:

  • I can go to conventions in any part of the US and not be questioned as to why I’m there. I can feel confident I won’t be hassled, given a higher hotel rate, or given poor service because of my race.
  • I can act stupidly/dress stupidly/get drunk at the convention without it reflecting on my race.
  • I can go into any bookstore in America and not be questioned as to why I’m there.
  • Fan forums will most likely be filled with people of my race, and discussions will be on topics of interest to people of my race.

As a white writer of SF/fantasy:

  • I can easily find an agent of my race that takes SF and fantasy.
  • There are a multitude of authors of my race as role models, and if I need to contact another SF/fantasy author, I can easily find one of my race to speak with.
  • If/when I meet or speak with an editor, publicist, or publisher, I can be pretty sure that I’ll be speaking or meeting with an editor/publisher/publicist of my race.
  • I can be relatively sure of having my work actually placed in the proper place in a bookstore, rather than under some ‘ethnic’ area of the store with a bunch of books irrelevant to my genre.
  • It’s easy to find writers’ groups and workshops with others of my race, both online and offline.
  • When I go on a book tour, I’m sure to find booksellers of my race, no matter what city I go to.
  • If my books flop, I will never have to worry about whether my race was a factor. If my books do well, I will never be held up as an example or be considered news-worthy because of my race.
  • I can feel confident that people of other races might consider reading my books and won’t hold the fact that I’m white against me, or think my book must be inferior because of my race.

These are just a few things I can think of, using the article Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack to jog my memory (another excellent read on white privilege in general).

It’s uncomfortable to think of these things, but it’s a daily reality for a lot of people. If you’re going to write about people who are Not You, you need to know what it’s like to be different. There ya go.

I’m going to be at SoonerCon June 8-10. Anyone else going?