ConDor was great fun, an established convention in San Diego with reliable attendance and a writing/reading SF/F bent. I arrived Friday and hit the ground running with my first panel. I’m going to let you peek at my notes. I’m afraid I didn’t take them on other people’s comments, just my own thoughts. And, of course, they are only notes, starter thoughts on what I actually said, so don’t take them as gospel. I also include links to some of the sources I recommended. Gentle Reader, make of them what you will.
The New Victorians: The Allure of the Antique to the Decidedly Modern
- Existing silliness, whimsey of playing with technology that wasn’t, interconnection of tech & culture
- Industrial age as compared to modern world, our economic chaos is attracted to their perceived order
- Americans apparently love the idea of the class system (see popularity of Downton Abby)
- Etiquette & manners, introductions & politeness, precedence, safety in knowing the requirements of any social interaction, joy of secure place
- Progress as an allure: accepted by middle class, threat to some aristocrats
- QV giving over much of her monarchical power to parliament just as aristocrats are loosing out to middle class
- (Sherwood Smith was on this panel with me and I must admit to a fan girl squee, I adore her Crown Duel YA and highly recommend it.)
|Friday Ice Cream Social (by Jerry Abuan)|
Developing & Maintaining Romantic Relationships in Continuing Storylines
- Differences in writing love/sex for Romance market vs SF/F
- 6 standard Austen tropes in romance
- Realistic versus romantic
- Thrill of suspense in the handkerchief drop
- Combative love, matched wits
- Using romance as a spice (not a main theme), using it for humor
- Twisting tropes in series: Theirs Not to Reason Why series (friends arrange the match), Miles Vorkosigan saga (not your typical hero)
- My suggestions were: Farscape (soap opera love but I stay engaged), Servant of the Empire series (two love affairs both wonderful), Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness YA series (multiple loves, all romantic and appealing)
- Authors who write good romantic threads (not major themes but still wonderful) Tarr, Renault, Edwards
Ice Cream Social
There was a cake just for me! Three kinds of ice cream, another cake for the fan GOH, and it was all delicious and fun.
|Friday Ice Cream Social (by Jerry Abuan)|
Guest of Honor Q&A
No notes. It was the usual if you come to see me in person. You can ask me anything, I’ll answer as best as I can, with the understanding it doesn’t leak onto the net.
|Q&A (by Jerry Abuan)|
Had a nice little line, managed to get them done in 45 minutes just long enough for an off the cuff interview and signing stock for Patrick and the Mysterious Galaxy folk.
|In the dealers room with authors Tod McCaffrey and Brothers K (Dani’s phone)|
Inventing Exotic Cultures
- Be wary of cultural misappropriation
- Use of word “exotic”
- Real world ancient vs historical
- Objects having meaning & symbolism informing character & space
- Point of entry
- Using exotic words in context to give enough understanding, trusting the curious reader to look up exact definition if they want (fichu, decolletage)
- Subversive nature of humor
Werewolves: Sociology & Sociobiology
Some books I suggested: Black Dog, Blood & Chocolate, Mercy Thompson series
Myth debunked: Full moon does not increase incidence of psychological problems
|On Panel (by Jerry Abuan)|
Historical Research for Fantasy Literature
- Know the rules of the time period, so you can break them
- Types of errors that throw people out of the suspension of disbelief, give up on some of the specifics (the 10% rule)
- Errors of context ~ no jean at the Renascence Faire
- Primary vs secondary sources: each are biased in their own way
- TK ~ return to check later, beware the assumptions of your own brain
- Recommended starter books: children’s DK Eyewitness Books, Timetables of History, maps of the time period
- Visit the location if possible: familiarity with space, light, smells, mood, may not be exactly the same as the past but it gives a starting access to all five senses
- Keep in mind basic human needs as provided by environment: drink, sleep, eat, shelter, procreate
- Worldbuilding in my book ~ including resources
- 26 Tips for Researching Victorian Set Steampunk
|Eytan and I, friends for years, our first panel together (by Jerry Abuan)|
Learning to Edit Your Own Work
- Identify your own ticks & bad habits search/replace
- Gail’s stages of editing detailed
- Read manuscript out loud to catch sing-song and flow issues
- Read backwards, one sentace at a time (short stories)
- How to keep deadlines from impacting quality
- Keeping drafts of deleted scenes
|Dani edited himself out of the panel (by Jerry Abuan)|
Secret Agent Stories in SF/Historical/Fantasy: Adapting Espionage Tropes
- Smiley vrs. 007, the political spy vrs the adventurous field agent
- Borne as the Gen X spy, validated mistrust of authority
- Agent as an outsider, manipulator, observer
- Challenges in writing a spy is that they are supposed to know everything how to make the not know for plot without looking bad at their job?
- Spy flaws can be emotional, mistrust, manipulation as both good and bad traits
- Real spies discussed: Walsingham and his early intelligencers – utilizing agent provocateur, Cambridge Five, Mata Hari
- Gadgets making spies natural to steampunk
- Recommended: podcast Antithesis Progression, fiction Poison Study, YA Trickster’s Choice, movie Cambridge Spies
- Research: Deceiving the Deceivers, SpyCatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer
|Tribute from lovely readers|
As you can see it was a fun con with lots of panels discussing topics I’ve never had the opportunity to discuss before. That was so much fun!
GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
|Bouquet with parasols|
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
|Pile of crochet octopus in the dealer’s room|
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Recommended to me, customizable 1950s inspired clothing company eshakti. You can buy off the rack or pay c. $10 extra and submit your measurements. Most of their items are capped or sleeveless (grrrrr, but the customization fee includes changing sleeve style short, elbow, 3/4, long). I’m skeptical, so I might start with a top, as that’s the real challenge with me. However, I’ve been on a new clothing diet this year and I wanna see how long I can go.
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
|Blast from the past, Mike and I at my first steampunk convention.
Quote of the Day:ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE, Event, Finishing School, Steampunk, Victorian Culture