Tag Archives: capricon

A Squee for Capricon

I was angst-y all last week leading up to Capricon. One reason I write is because it’s good work for an introvert and (I keep having to explain this to people!) I’m pretty introverted. Despite this tendency, I’m trying to get out and meet other writers. I worked on getting people from The Writing Journey to come with me; I also whinged at my husband BK, and my BFF, Cookie. It was no go, from everybody. *Sighs*

When I registered, I had no idea who’d appear besides the Guests of Honor. It wasn’t expensive, as these things go, so I figured, what the hell. My sister lives ten minutes from the con site, so I could crash with her for free, and spend a little time with her and my puppy nephew, Seamus.

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Me, petting my sister’s dog

I also don’t get to see enough of Bill and Cheryl Cavalier. They go every year, so this was my chance to remedy that.

So here’s what happened. I ended up seeing Gene Wolfe from a safe distance. I didn’t get his autograph on An Evil Guest, as I had hoped. Lord willing, he’ll be at the next Capricon and I can corner him then. Maybe I’ll even remember to bring some of his other books, and he can sign those, too.

I actually got to talk to Mary Anne Mohanraj and Wesley Chu for a few minutes. They couldn’t have been nicer. Mary Anne actually invited me to a pot luck for local writers. I’d give an ovary to attend, except that I’ll be out of town taking care of somebody, and I won’t be back in time to go. *Pouts*

And now we approach the Super-Squee part. I found out some time after registering that Mary Robinette Kowal would be there. I first learned about Mary in 2012 around the time I decided to get serious about writing. Again. That’s a long story.

Anyway, Mary’s novella, “Kiss Me Twice”, was on the Hugo ballot,  so I read it. I’ve read more of her work since then, of course, including several of her Glamourist Histories novels,  her Hugo-winning short story, “For Want of a Nail”, and Hugo-nominated short story, “Evil Robot Monkey”. Around that time I also started listening to the Writing Excuses podcasts, which I recommend unreservedly to anyone who’s interested in writing, irrespective of their preferred genres.

Anyway, you know what people say about Mary? They say, “Everyone loves Mary.”

After taking an online short story workshop with her in November and seeing her at Capricon, I totally get it. The online workshop was so good I registered to take an in-person workshop she’s offering this June.

So I accosted her at Capricon and said hi, and she recognized me from the tiny image of me that showed up in Google Hangouts. She signed my copy of Glamour in Glass. So far, pleasant but not unexpected, right? However, Saturday was Mary’s 45th birthday. In addition to just talking with her – if you haven ‘t done that, you have no notion how pleasant that can be – she offered cake and party favors to those who stopped by. I indulged in both. The cake was a lemon pound cake her mother baked and shipped to her. It was fragrant and delicious. The party favors were elegant, Jane-Austen-themed temporary tattoos.

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My elegant tattoo

And then…Mary invited me to her birthday party! Squee!

I got to stop by her room later that evening for scotch and nibbles. Her husband Rob was charming, as were the other guests. We talked about City Winery (where Rob works), travel, other conventions, and writing. It was all extremely classy. You want to know how classy? If we ever start offering knighthoods and dameships (is that a thing?) in the United States, Mary would be a prime candidate.

Oh, there was programming and stuff. I went to some. I liked a lot of it.

Bill tied for first place in the Artist Showdown, and celebrated by doing some kickass harp playing at Live Band Karaoke. Cheryl and I talked writing and generally gossiped.

So that was my Capricon.

Um, did I say “Squee!”?

Rejection

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Bummer, dude

I heard back from C.C. Finlay, who’s guest editing an issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (or F&SF, for short). Regular readers of this blog may remember when I posted about submitting a story for this issue. Charlie doesn’t plan to use my story this July/August. He liked it, but he didn’t love it. Actually, here’s his email, verbatim:

Thanks for submitting “Gathering for the Feast.” I enjoyed reading it — I like the setting, the history, the magic, and characters. But in the end it didn’t quite win me over — part of that was it felt just a bit too long to me for the amount of story in it. So I’m afraid I’m going to pass on it. Best of luck with finding another home for it, and thanks again for giving me a chance to read it. If I do this again I hope to see another story from you.

A friend of mine also submitted a story, and received a rejection. In the interests of ferreting out exactly how personal my rejection letter was, and how much it was  form letter, I can report that both our rejections began and ended pretty much the same way. “Thank you for submitting [title].” appeared in both letters. So did the ending part: “Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for giving me a chance to read it. If I do this again I hope to see more stories from you.

The part where I know he actually read my story, and my friend’s—or at least, he got decent evaluations of them from a careful reader—comes in between the form sections. My friend’s center section was different from mine. Not exactly a form letter, right? Anyway, I’ve decided to take it as encouragement. Why? Because I can!

So now I need to decide what to do next. There are two options I can see. The first would be to go back in and see if I can figure out where and how the story is too long. The second would be to just go ahead and submit it elsewhere.

Here’s the thing: if I didn’t have any other projects vying for my attention, I would probably go back in there. I might find something to improve, something that’s escaped me up to this point. However, I have at least two other works in need of revision. Also there’s the whole, “what if while I’m trying to fix it, I just make it worse?” question. You know how, when you’re having the beginnings of a bad hair day, and you keep futzing around with your hair, and by the time you’re done, it looks even worse than when you started? That’s my dilemma.

Here’s the way I’m leaning: decide in a day or two.

My plan for today is to revise a different short story. I marked it up yesterday. I want to get it in shape to put up on Critique Circle. Once they’ve had a go at it, I was going to run it by my other critique group. Then I was going to push the little darling out the door.

In the meantime, I have a hot mess of a novel which requires surgery and other doctoring. I plan to get back to work on that tomorrow.

Next week is Capricon. I can see doing a first draft of something, or even marking up a draft, while also attending a con. But to do revisions I really need to spread out. Unvisited marked-up pages go on the left, finished pages go on the right, my computer is in the middle, and my pulled-out hair is in the wastebasket. I’d rather deal with all that at home, thank you. So I won’t bring my novel along. I might take my rejected F&SF short story with me for markup, if I decide to have another look at it before sending it out again.

Anyone out there on the interwebs have an opinion? Do I just submit the story elsewhere, or do I try to fix it? I’d love to see your comments below. If it’s easier for you to respond using Twitter, Google+ or Facebook, feel free to comment that way instead.

Updated Scoreboard:
Year: 2014
Submissions: 2   Acceptances: 0   Rejections: 1