Convention that is, or was it a conference. Still not clear on that, but I was there at AnthoCon 2012 (you can add the synthesizer echo in your head). Overall I'm glad I went. I'm also glad I didn't spend money on it, or at least not really.
Last March I won tickets at my school's silent auction. I was the only bid. So for $40 I won four tickets. I didn't really know what they were tickets for, neither did other bidders I think, but as a teacher we make sure all items get bids. Eight months later I still didn't know what I was in for and the website wasn't very helpful in telling me what I wanted to know. In my typical style I didn't google what 'speculative fiction' was until last night and it turns out I've read a ton in that genre.
The conference, or maybe convention, was interesting. It was encouraging and depressing at the same time. Encouraging because I see that I have time. If I am diligent and write like crazy now, some day when my life doesn’t include toddlers and grad classes I can put in the time and effort to getting published. The authors on the New Writers Panel had been writing “their whole lives” but had only been published in the last 5 years. They were all at least 10 years older than me. Okay, so I have time. But, there are already so many authors and only more to come. And the future is ebooks (bleh) and no one will want to put my book on a bookshelf. It’s depressing because it’s all been said before and if I wait, anything I had to say will be said by the time I’m ready to seek out publishing.
So really the question becomes ‘why do I write?’ There’s a big part of me that writes for recognition (I think that is true of many writers, and really of everybody in whatever field they are in - why do athletes want to go pro? Why do crafters start blogs?) But I know I write for me. I write because there are words in my head and I can’t retain them. If I don’t write them down I will loose them. I write because to keep it all inside would make me crazy. Though from the outside I might already look like I’m crazy because I talk to myself so much (gotta get those words out).
I went into the conference claiming I knew nothing about speculative fiction. Seeing the blood-spattered gothic book covers and plethora of black clothing seemed to confirm my view. But really speculative fiction was largely what I read growing up. Besides the more recent pop-hits Twilight and Hunger Games, there’s Frank Peretti and George McDonald, not to mention Lewis and Tolkien. Madeleine L’Engle for crying out loud - one of my favorite authors of all time. Fairy tales, all books by Robin McKinley, old English lore - King Arthur, Merlin - all fall under the vast umbrella of speculative fiction. AnthoCon leaned heavily towards the horror/thriller genre with a little bit of paranormal romance (I don’t want to ever go there), but according to one of the founders they are hoping for it to expand, for the other genres of speculative fiction to be included soon.
The most important piece of advice from the whole weekend: if I put it on my blog it is self-published and a publisher won’t want it.
I can hear that nap time is over, which means so is my time to write....at least for now.