Belated Edge-Lit 3 Roundup (& Mah Plans – 28/07)


Oops! Over a week since the event and I haven’t said a word about it yet. Ho hum, you know how it gets when you’re busy.
Edge-Lit 3, a fantastic event which took place at Derby Quad on July 19. It seems – to me – to have taken the place of Alt Fiction, but it is still the same incredible mix of spec fiction. You have horror, fantasy and sci-fi and all the wonderful bits in between.

Guests included Joe Abercrombie (wheee!), Kim Lakin-Smith, Rod Rees, Conrad Williams, Alex Davis, Charles Stross and Tricia Sullivan.

I had an AMAZING time! I forgot how much fun these events are and feel somewhat sad that Dave had to give me a series of gentle nudges to go (a bit like he did with the first Alt Fiction I attended, without which I would never have met Maria who introduced me to the Phoenix Writers).

The full list of events and panels is here (I hope I’m allowed to post this by the way, let me know, Alex) but I can talk to you in brief about the bits I attended.

In The Old Spirit – Ghost Stories Today

I’ve never been massively into ghost stories, though I have written a couple in my time. What was most interesting about this panel was hearing Andrew David Barker, Johnny Mains, Marie O’Regan and Niki Valentine chat about ghost stories (I’m sure I’ve cocked up here and left off a name… I’ll check it out). What stories mean to them and how they’ve changed over the years.
It also brought to my attention the Boo Books anthology call, which makes me think I should brush off the ghost story I wrote a little while ago and send it in. Worst they can say is ‘no thanks’, right?

Science Fiction: How Much Science Do You Need?

According to Jaine Fenn, Tricia Sullivan, Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Rod Rees, not all that much. Which is very comforting to me. Someone once told me that sci-fi is just like fantasy; substitute woods and cities for spaceships and planets, dragons for aliens and orcs for even more aliens and you’ve done it. Oh, and of course use lots of names with ‘x’ in them somewhere. o.O
While it’s advice one should obviously take with a heft spoonful of salt πŸ˜‰ it’s nice to know that one doesn’t necessarily have to have a science background to write sci-fi. I have a degree in Geology, it’s a science degree, but if I want to talk about warp drives, worm holes and cyberware then I can do that if I want. So long as I put in a suitable amount of research. I think part of me knew that, but having it confirmed is really nice.

Tricia Sullivan – Walking The Walk: Keep Yourself Writing (Workshop)

I think I misunderstood what this workshop was about when I signed up for it. When I arrived and Tricia explained why we were there I realised that I don’t have a problem writing. If anything I have trouble stopping and there are times when my family (and the cleanliness of my house and my health) suffers for it.
Yes, I have trouble finishing things sometimes (lets not talk about WTRE right now) but by and large I have a good and regular turn out of words.
But I’m so, so glad I went. Listening to people talk about their problems and understanding that I’m not alone was incredibly valuable. And I’ve also put together an email list of some of the attendees of that workshop so we can chat together and support each other going forward. Probably the most valuable non valuable workshop I’ve ever attended. πŸ™‚ Besides that, Tricia might just be my new hero; totally down to earth, matter of fact and above all, genuinely keen to help other authors.

Simon Clark – Write For Life: Building A Writing Career (Workshop)

Another workshop I didn’t necessarily need. A lot of the tips Simon gave I have heard before (I should stop signing up for similar workshops every year!) but there is some detail in that I hadn’t considered before. Mainly about being ‘cheeky’ and pushing your luck. You never know what opportunities it might generate.

Fighting For Writers (Demo)

I had soooooooo much fun with these ladies. ^_^ Lots and lots (AND LOTS) of swords. I have tonnes of pictures but my favourite of the session has to be this one:

Picture of me holding a bastard sword

Soooo awesome!
(click for full size)

I fell in love with that sword and from a writer’s point of view, it was VERY helpful to learn more about European martial arts and the swords of weapons my characters in the Saar’s Legacy trilogy might be using as they step away from Ptolemaic Egypt.

So that was my (last-last) Saturday. I also won a couple of books at the raffle and got permission from Alex (THANK YOU!) to riffle through the goodie bags at the end and have myself a mighty handful of free books that I plan to enjoy over the coming months.

Jeez… that’s a lot of links! If you spot any that don’t work as they should or point to the wrong place would you mind letting me know? I haven’t had a cup of tea yet which means, despite my checking, I may have messed one up. Ta. xline break, swirling graphics, from openclipartSaying that, however, I’m not sure that I’ll have time to read many of those books going forward. I have a lot to be getting on with and not much time to do it.

Last week

I’m still in a funk with WTRE. I don’t know why, but my productivity has plummeted in that regard. If I had continued at the pace I started I would have finished this draft two weeks ago. 😦

Work on WTRE: at least 1,000 words per working day (five days)
Actually, I should stop whining. I made my 5,000 words, which is all I wanted to do. But, in the back of my mind I remain aware that I used to do upwards of 15,000 words a week. *sigh* Cut yourself some slack, Illy!

Finalise the rest of the freebies for the solo site
Done! Now the last thing I need to do is decide on the theme and then get it moving. Once I have my colours sorted and the final layout I can make the site properly visible. I’ve already sent the URL to search engines to get it indexed (as I don’t know how long that will take overall) so this is the last step.

This Week

Heh, okay. Not so bad after all. See what I mean about Tricia’s workshop, though? I am writing, just not meeting my own ridiculous expectations of what I should/shouldn’t be able to do. Maybe I should enter a goal for something about that?
This week I want to:

  1. Work on WTRE: at least 1,000 words per working day (five days)
  2. Finalise layout and colour scheme for the solo site

Next week I’ll review July and look forward to what I plan to do in August. I’ll also be able to give you a bit of news about some of the new bits and bobs on my lists. *fingers crossed*
new ileandra signature,

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About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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7 Responses to Belated Edge-Lit 3 Roundup (& Mah Plans – 28/07)

  1. I’m curious, what kind of a funk are you in with WTRE? Are you not writing an exciting bit of it? Are you feeling a pressure to live up to your previous performance? Or maybe something else?

    I think one of my problems (with Servant of the Siphen, as an example) is that I figure out how the story goes but I’m not willing to suspend my disbelief to write it, or I’m not sure about the fine details.

    Throwing an example out there. How do you figure out which of your crew is a telepath without tipping them off by thinking about it? Can you outsmart someone who knows what you’re thinking?

    I guess that if we were talking line-of-sight telepathy like in Babylon 5, then you would be okay as long as you stay out of their sight. Thing is, Babylon 5 goes on to break that rule in Season 5 when Bester and Byron have a telepathic chat through a wall.

    What I have at the moment is to basically appeal to the telepath’s sense of honour. Assuming that they have one. Have a fake test and then choose someone that you strongly suspect isn’t the telepath. Hopefully someone else will step forward and confess to spare an innocent person from blame.

    I don’t know, though. If you’ve been hiding who you really are and what you can do for a long time, wouldn’t it become second nature to lie to protect your secret? What would it take for them to realise that hiding is no longer an option?

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    • The WTRE funk is lifting slowly, but for the most part it seems to be that I’m dealing with a new historical period now and I don’t know much about that.
      Also I’m writing about a character I don’t like quite as much any more. His ‘most interesting’ bits are gone by.
      As well as that, once I’m done with this, I’ll need to go back to SORB to work on the beta comments, which I put off because WTRE was taking longer than I expected. The thought of fixing some of the problems raised makes my toes curl.
      O.O
      So… yeah, there’s a lot going on which all leads to me not quite wanting to finish it. I mean, I want to, but I don’t. The end and beginning of a draft is the hardest; the middle is where I have the most fun. It’s where I feel most free and unrestricted.

      As to your telepath issue… that’s a tricky one. Line of sight telepathy is a good way to solve that issue so long as you’re consistent with it. And I’m having a similar problem with some of the other powers of my vampires.

      What might work is the honour of the telepath but in a slightly different manner. If the test was to fashion a test whereby the only way to solve a problem or save someone was to admit to telepathic ability that would do it. Or if there was a genuine issue that could only be solved in such a way (intercepting enemy messages / communicating or finding lost friends / interrogating suspects for information) then that might coax a telepath to come forward without the need for a test to be engineered.

      But at the end of it, the matter of when they might let go of the secret depends wholly on the character. A ‘nice guy’ might give himself up for the sake of friends and family while a ‘not so nice guy’ would be all about saving his own skin until forced to do otherwise. And even then he would grump about it.

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  2. Thanks for the tips. πŸ™‚

    I guess the problem with making those SORB edits you’re talking about is that there’s all sorts of secondary changes that are needed for the story to continue to be consistent. So as a prerequisite, maybe you should have a read through and make a note of those too.

    Be ruthlessly methodical with the preparation. At the same time, that’s something you can pick up and put down at any time, and only you can decide how much preparation you need. When you make those edits it’ll be over and done with and you can get it out there to the betas for another look. You’ll get a morale boost when they say how much it’s improved.

    I suppose really what that’s about is putting a positive spin on a task that you’ve been putting off so that you can concentrate on another. Slaying the dread factor with Mr. Pointy. Uncurling those curled toes one at a time.

    I know you can do it. πŸ™‚

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    • Eeeyup. THough if I’m brutally honest, it’s less about the changes required and more that my characters need more depth. And that was the biggest part of the editing I did; to give them more depth. And it’s still not enough. And the story itself seems to lack a driving question. It’s almost too straight forward, if you take my meaning. I kinda knew it deep inside, but more than one person has mentioned how the action seemed to kick into proper gear about 2/3 of the way in. Not good enough.
      So, I know what I need to do, but doing it is tricky.

      Though you’re right; putting off one thing to make something else better isn’t a bad thing. It just means that by the end all of it will be better than it was to start with. And that’s all I want.

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  3. Well, action is essentially the unfolding of events. It’s a chain of causality, one thing affecting the next and the next and so on.

    But. These things do not have to come in a neat row like ducks.

    So in weaving some sort of action into the earlier parts of the story, remember that the tension level doesn’t need to be high. It only needs to be enough that the reader notices that something is going on, even if they don’t see the whole picture just yet.

    And not all action needs to lead down the road of the main plot. Like you say, it seems too straight forward. If you’re looking for a driving question, how about this. Is this change in the character an entirely bad thing? Can she use it to her advantage? She may be the main character but she’s living in our time and a get-ahead culture. So can she resist the temptation?

    Or equally, what’s so great about being a lowly human? Is it that we’re limited and have to make effort to get anywhere, making us appreciate each of our accomplishments, no matter how small? Is it our capacity to achieve greatness despite our failings and limitations?

    In order to understand the main character before she is turned, we need an origin story, much as vampires themselves have an origin story (or ten). For example, Cordelia Chase is a former rich kid who came to LA seeking a fortune, gets mixed up with Angel Investigations because she needs a job while she’s waiting for her acting career to pick up, and then boom, in the second season she starts having visions.

    What’s great is that, for example, if you’d never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you would still get who Cordelia is before her big change. The first series of Angel is a bit like Cordy 101.

    I don’t know if your beta readers told you something along the same lines, but I think that’s what they want to see, the before and after. The difference between not having power and having quite a bit.

    Hope that’s helpful, anyway. πŸ™‚

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    • Actually, Lenina’s change is essential and wonderful. If she stayed as she was 1) I wouldn’t have been able to write her and 2) nobody would give a crap when she got hurt. Heh.
      The becoming a vampire side of it is quite aside from the change she goes through as a person.

      She changes because she is forced to and then, later, because she wants to. Recognising the person she was and realising that it wasn’t a nice way to be.

      It’s very helpful hon, thank you. I’ve let my back brain work on all this stuff while fiddling with WTRE which is actually quite handy because it’s the same character. But I’ve just finished WTRE now (as of yesterday! HAHA!), so I’ve run out of excuses. I need to go back to SORB and give it the last spit-polish before I start sending it off.

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