Posts Tagged ‘preparation’

MileHiCon Loometh

SQUIDERS! MileHiCon is NEXT WEEKEND omg.

They’ve moved it to the first weekend of October rather than the fourth, and I am apparently unprepared for this change. But at least now it’s not going to interfere with Halloween activities some years.

Anyway, I’m behind on preparation. I mean, it’s not a lot–most stuff I just carry around from year to year with little variation. And it’s my own fault panel-wise, I’ve had the schedule for, like, almost a month. I’m moderating another editing panel this year (whee, must have done a good job last year or something) and am also on a panel about how far horses can travel, which I think is about realistic travel in fantasy, but I’m not 100% sure.

It’s in person this year too! I’ll admit that makes me a little nervous, but they are requiring masks and you get a special Vaccinated! ribbon to hang off your name tag if you’re vaccinated.

(I do love my con ribbons.)

Anyway, hopefully this isn’t a horrible mistake. The Critter Crunch is on again this year, and the larger, mobile one has expressed interest in going (also building his own robot, but that ain’t happening before the con), but I think I’m going to wait and see how safe I feel the con is before I commit to taking him. He’s not old enough to be vaccinated and with how dumb some people are about everything, I want to be safe.

Emotions suck. I’m excited for the con, yet scared. Luckily it’s not that big of convention, in the great scheme of things, so it could certainly be worse.

In other news, my favorite coffee shop is open for inside dining again, provided you show proof of vaccination, which is fine for me. As an added bonus, the vaccination requirement has a bunch of people up in arms, so I don’t have to worry about those people being in said coffee shop.

Anyway, here’s my normal to-do list for the con, for my own use so I can find it again later:

  • Sign up for author co-op table slot
  • File sales permits with the usual government agencies
  • Figure out what horse panel is supposed to be about (alas, no descriptions are available yet)
  • Research how far a horse can actually travel
  • Prepare moderator questions for editing panel
  • Costumes? (Probably too late, but ponder anyway)
  • Make Writers’ Motivation Series fliers to put out
  • Order fun masks?

I feel like I’m forgetting something. Hold on, checking previous years’ lists.

Oh, yeah, business cards. I never remember my damn business cards. Oh! Credit card reader! Good job, past!Kit. Very on top of things.

Has anyone been to a con recently? Tips you would recommend?

Nanowrimo Comes Earlier Every Year

You know what showed up in my inbox this morning?

NaNoWriMo’s preparation workshop for the year.

It’s SEPTEMBER. It’s barely MID-SEPTEMBER. What the heck? What happened to waking up on November 1st and going with whatever caught your fancy at the moment in time?

I kid. I only did that once. And it was November 3rd.

But ugh, it still feels early. And when I get planning stuff now-ish, it makes me anxious. Should I be planning my story already? Am I setting myself up for failure?

I know I’m not. I’ve done–and won–Nano a ridiculous number of times. I know what works for me. But there’s always a thread that goes you are behind and you are going to fail when I see what feels like everyone else already starting to get ready.

Also, how much of the year needs to be dedicated to Nano, honestly? It already eats the entirety of November. And some of October. It’s like Halloween and Christmas, invading stores a little earlier each year. Do we really need to sacrifice September to Nano too?

I mean, maybe, if you need a lot of plotting or research. But otherwise?

Maybe I’m just getting grumpy in my old age.

At this point, I’m not 100% on Nano. I had fun last year, and it was nice to do it again, but they’ve cancelled all in-person events for this year (understandable, but still sad), and I wonder if it’ll be as easy to get the momentum going without them. I try to hit at least one in-person write-in a week normally. Virtual write-ins are harder for me, because I find it easier to get distracted. (And no one’s looking over your shoulder to see that you’re messing around on YouTube or tumblr instead of what you should be doing.)

Also, you know, the small, mobile ones are only partially in school, which means they need daily supervision, and this year is just all over the place in terms of productivity.

I would like to do Nano. I have a project in mind–the first book of a paranormal cozy mystery series that I’ve been planning on and off for about two years now. You guys know I always like to do something new each Nano, and I love cozy mysteries. Mysteries have always seemed really hard to write, but I figure it won’t hurt to try!

(Plus cozies are shorter, so I might be able to get a whole draft written, instead of half a draft of an epic fantasy, har har.)

It’s just…ugh. I don’t want to start planning Nano yet. I’m not ready! I have to finish my changeling story draft and, uh, I dunno. Something else.

What do you think, squiders? Do you Nano? When do you start planning? Do you go through Nano’s prep program or do your own thing?

It’s Go Time!

I just want to let you all know that you are absolutely no help at all. ūüėõ

(I’m not quite done with my anthology story, so that answers the question about what I’ll do for at least part of the time. And maybe I’ll bring a sketchbook.)

MileHiCon starts at noon today! It feels like it’s come up very fast. It is a week earlier than normal this year (wonder why?), which might be part of it. But it feels like it sprang out of nowhere, all the same. Like…it’s been on my radar, but I still had less time to prepare than normal, if you know what I mean. Or maybe I’m crazy.

I’m doing a panel today on self-publishing and doing digital books versus physical books. I’ve been given a couple of moderator questions (Are physical books going away? When?) but the most part I’m not sure what exactly we’re covering. Ah, well, I have almost a decade of experience at this point, so I shall probably be fine.

(Sunday’s panel is about editing–Machete vs. Scalpel, they’ve called it–and there’s no provided questions for that one, but, again, lots of experience so I should probably be able to muddle through without looking like an idiot.)

Got to get some things done this morning before I head out, so I’d better run.

Quick list of things to bring:

  • business cards (more editing than writing)
  • books
  • card reader
  • notebook
  • laptop
  • permits
  • water bottle
  • snack

I’ll see you guys next week, hopefully still in one piece. And if you’re local and come by MileHiCon, stop by and say hi! I’m normally some place in the atrium when not doing panels.

MileHiCon Prep and Nerves

My sister gave me chocolate for my birthday, which is both a blessing and a curse.

We’re about a week out from MileHiCon, squiders, which is a scifi/fantasy literary convention that I like to make the rounds at each year. You’ve probably heard me talk about it before. For a few years I had a table in the author’s row for Turtleduck Press, which ended up not being much fun (stuck at table, terrible habit of comparing sales to other presses/authors, etc.) so last year I struck out on my own, which is the plan again this year.

But I still feel a little weird about. I mean, I had a MUCH better time last year and I don’t regret abandoning the author’s row. But I haven’t really¬†done¬†much since last year. I’ve had some short stories published in zines, anthologies, and websites, but nothing too major, and nothing I’ve had any sort of ownership over. Sure, next year is looking better–a Fractured World anthology and the sequel to¬†City of Hope and Ruin, as well as some other potential projects–but this year is pretty sparse.

So it feels weird to be doing something that is essentially marketing while having nothing to market. I mean, there’s still reasons to go–networking, to see people I like, to have fun, books, etc. (To stare longingly at the things in the art show I can’t afford. To buy awesome book-themed tea.) But I feel less relevant than normal.

(Also, reminder to self, file permits with state/city so I can sell books.)

Still, though–I’m on two panels, both editing related, and have a time at the authors’ signing table. And they offered me a comped pass for the weekend, which has never happened before. So that feels lovely. And my mom found me a proper book display so that will also be helpful for signing/selling. All in all, if I can get over the weirdness, it should be a good weekend.

(Things to do, because I honestly just realized we were a week away:

-File permits
-Organize stock/credit card reader/mailing list sign-up/business cards
-If, when panel details come out, I need to prep, prep)

Any thoughts on conventioning when there’s nothing to market, squiders? As a reader, what draws you to panelists/authors at conventions you attend?

Pikes Peak Writers Conference This Weekend

Last year, I went to my first writers’ conference – Pike’s Peak, down in Colorado Springs, CO. To summarize, I was terrified that I was either unprepared or would come out of feeling dejected, but I had a lovely time, learned a lot, and promised to go again.

So we are.

I made a list of things to do different this year, last year:

  • Register early so I can get pitch appointments with people who represent my genre
  • Try to get the panel critique instead of the individual critique
  • Bring earplugs and shoes that are not boots
  • Get business cards earlier than the day before (where Ian and I were, literally, at Kinko’s at 10 PM)

For the most part, I have done all of the above. I got the pitch appointment I wanted and the panel critique (though, alas, at 8:30 am Friday morning – very first thing). There is a circumstance I am not talking about here on ye olde blog that means I am staying at my sister-in-law’s instead of stuffing in a hotel with three of my friends, so the earplugs and not-boots are less necessary. And I ordered my business cards last week. They are supposed to get here today. Not the best, but still earlier than last year.

On the other hand, I still feel unprepared. The book that I’m pitching this year is not as ready to go as the one I pitched last year (that one’s in ABNA at the moment). I hoped to be further through my edit than I am, but alas, I am not. I’m far enough for pitching and first-page critiques, but if I do get partial requests, well, there is yet more polishing to be done.

I don’t know what workshops I want to go to, and I need to figure out when I’m heading down. I need to pack. I need to print out all sorts of things and wonder why UPS has yet to bring me my business cards. Instead I will probably run around for a bit, flailing wildly and babbling incoherently. Somewhere out there, there are writers who have been ready for weeks.

I dislike those people.

Wish me luck, Squiders. Oh, and by the by, no Friday update here as I’ll be busy learning (and possibly panicking). But except fairly regular tweets from the conference itself, assuming there’s decent wifi.

Nanowrimo Prep and Avoiding Plot Death

Nano looms ever closer, my friends. ¬†(Also, it’s my birthday!) ¬†I talked last year about Nano Zen and Plot Death — this cheats Nano Zen a bit, but I do think it’s important. ¬†It’s hard to experience Plot Death if you have no plot.

A quick rundown for those too lazy to click the above link: Nano Zen involves not actively working on your Nano story in October to allow your brain to work on it subconsciously and to avoid Plot Death.  Plot Death is where you overplan your story to the point that you no longer want to write it.

“Kit,” I can hear you say (or perhaps it’s just the Landsquid, who wants some of my hot chocolate), “How can you write a post about Nano prep when you practice — and are the founder — of Nano Zen?”

As much as I advertise Nano Zen, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do any planning for Nano. ¬†In fact, I ardently believe that there are some things you should have going into November, and if you don’t, you should try to get some before Nano starts.

A main character (or two).  The main conflict (what does the MC want?).  A starting point.

What gets you in trouble is the overplanning, and what counts as overplanning varies from person to person.

So how can you tell if you’re planning to the point where you are approaching Plot Death?

Well, first things first. ¬†Make sure you’re registered at nanowrimo.org (the 2011 site is up now) and have chosen a home region (this is the region that gets to count your words). ¬†See if your region has any write-ins near you and, if not, suggest some. ¬†The social aspect is a major part of Nano and I highly recommend you participate in it.

…sorry, I totally got distracted by the Nano site.

If you’ve done Nano (or written a novel) before, you probably have a good idea of what you need and how much you can do before you experience Plot Death. ¬†For you newbies, find the above (characters, plot, beginning).

How are you feeling? ¬†Are you excited or panicky? ¬†If you’re excited, good job. ¬†You’re probably good to go. ¬†Go make yourself a book cover. ¬†If you’re panicky, you probably need more. ¬†I recommend fleshing out your characters a bit, finding a villain, and doing a basic outline of your plot.

Repeat the above until you find a place where you’re excited to write. ¬†Then stop planning.

See, the problem with Nano and Plot Death is that you can’t start writing until November 1st. ¬†So people reach that excited state, and then, since they can’t write, they just keep planning and planning and planning and then…Plot Death.

It’s hard, I know. ¬†And by all means, write down anything important as you think of it, but after you reach the excitement phase, that’s when Nano Zen is essential.

Ever experienced Plot Death, Squiders? ¬†Where’s your happy middle between panicking and overplanning?