In two weeks, Husband and I will head south to Hotlanta, Ga, to participate in Dragon*Con. My specific purpose is to take my book manuscript and get it Worked On by a Workshop group lead by A.C. Crispin. Husband’s specific purpose is to find all the Slave Leias and oogle them, stalk Jim Butcher, and get his geek on.
The workshop works like this: I sent in my application, the fee, 5,000 words of my story, and a synopsis. This week, the members of the workshop have been organizing into a Yahoo group, sharing manuscripts, and introducing ourselves to each other. It’s rather exciting but also very intimidating. In fact, I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t back out now – even though I sort of want to, for lots of reasons which I shall detail below. I’ve paid the mumblemumble dollars to participate in the workshop, bought our tickets, and secured accomodations with one of my college roommates who graciously is putting us up in her home for three days. The only thing left is to ask my parents if we can borrow their wee SUV thingy to drive in. (Let’s face it, Oona is most likely NOT up to a trip like that and Scot’s car….well, I hope my folks can spare the Suzuki.)
Right. So. Why am I trying to pull an ostrich and stick my head in the sand?
1. Do I fit in? I’ve gotten a few excerpts from writers in the workshop and read all three of them. They’re all really different: one is funny and I liked it a lot. So much that I emailed the author and told her so (it might be a him, the name is one of those boyandgirl names) and said I hoped she’d/he’d post the rest. I haven’t heard back which triggers my OhMyGodIDidSomethingWrong reflex. Anyway, this piece is good but it’s still pretty strictly in the fantasy genre. The second piece is part of the paranormal/urban fantasy genre and has some really cool ideas. The third is HARD CORE fantasy and the writing makes me think of the asshat who kicked me out of his writing group a few years ago (which makes me want to vomit, but I’m trying not to hold that against this guy. It’s not his fault he writes like an asshat.) My worry here is that my little manuscript won’t fit in with the other manuscripts. These people’s stories are like…100,000 words or more. (A typical novel is about 80-90 thousand words.) And I didn’t write a strict genre piece.
2. Reading in your genre. I like reading sci-fi and fantasy books. But I’ll be the first to admit my reading material over the last however many years I’ve been reading has spanned genres. I haven’t read all the Star Trek series books, for instance. As a result, my work doesn’t sound like Typical Fare, at least not when compared to these other people’s stuff. I’m sort of afraid somebody’s going to be like, “Oh. My. God. This is so derivative. Haven’t you read ‘Cheese Doodle in Paradise’? Because that author did the SAME THING as you but did it SO MUCH BETTER.” I also imagine the speaker of this sentence ending by giving me the raspberries…
3. These people are not kidding around. Already two people have said that they won’t be able to give much time to reading other manuscripts because they’re a) getting their costumes ready for Dragon*Con and b) really deeply committed to writing the second book in their Epic Series. Eeeep.
4. What if they don’t like me?? Perhaps I am not geeky enough. Perhaps they will be put off by my flip flops instead of Klingon shoes or BSG t-shirt. Worse, what if they don’t like my STORY?
5. Logistics. Then there’s the practical stuff. Navigating Atlanta, getting around the Con, stuff like that. We have a GPS, but I don’t think they work to get you around inside hotels… I think I need a DC sherpa.
And that’s all for now. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of my workshopmates’ stuff and reporting on it here, but not in too much detail because some of them are paranoid.