A klingon warrior walks arm in arm with a buxom medieval damsel. An earnest young writer in glasses taps the arm of a grizzled gray well-known author. Both laugh. Someone in the background is humming a song under their breath.
Where am I?
Orycon is Oregon’s annual science fiction/fantasy conference and it’s loads of fun and packed full of information for the ambitious writer. Successful authors sit on panels every hour to offer sage advice on the art of the novel while fully costumed sane and not so sane humans stroll the premises.
I am registered into two writing workshops where 7,000 words each of my next two manuscripts will be scrutinized and discussed. In addition, I have prepared critiques for four other writers to help them improve on their work.
Should be interesting.
I will meet and see many friends and acquaintances that have come to the conference ever since I started attending over ten years ago. One is now my editor, another heads up the evening writing group that I joined last year after meeting her at Orycon.
One writer I first noticed behind me in line ten years ago with a towering stack of books to have signed. Then, the following year Mike Moscoe was announcing a three book contract with a top line publisher. Silence and then after missing a conference, when I returned, he had a new name, a new book and he hasn’t looked back since. Mike Shepherd now has a row of books in front of him when he sits on panel dispensing wisdom. Mutineer: Kris Longknife starts it all and she continues her adventures throughout so many novels that I have lost count. But you can check them all out on Amazon.
I had lunch with Mary Rosenblum and others last month at the Portland Writers Group. She and several others in the group will be heading up panels. Irene Radford among them. I have been following Mary’s career starting when she won short story writer of the year from Fantasy and Science Fiction several years ago, through her mystery trilogy, and back to science fiction with her novel Horizons. (which I enjoyed). I look forward to what she has cooking now.
I have met famous writers such as Lois McMasters Bujold, only to find her down to earth and very personable. I sat at a table with heavyweight editors of Tor, Patrick Nielsen Haydon and his wife Teresa and heard their side of the publishing story. Nasa scientists have shown up on panel to explain String Theory and nanobots.
This year I will attend panels on “Spicing Up Your Hero”, “Social Networking Sites”, “How to Organize your Critique Group” and the obligatory “Chicks in Chainmail.” I will skip, but others will attend, “Putting the Game Back Into Gameplaying” and “Stitch and Bitch.”
I do not Filk.
But I understand that it’s lots of fun and late into the night, normally sane people dress up in wild fictional costumes, sing, dance, drink and otherwise have a merry time. Filking is taking a known song and adding you own words along with much drink, laughter and good time.
So I start tonight with the meet and greet…and must be on my way soon.