In Which I am (Dis) Organized

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3If you write long enough, one thing you eventually learn is that actual writing is only part of the picture. A big part of the rest is keeping up with what you’ve written, and the longer you spend in the trenches, the more of a pain keeping everything organized becomes. There are different approaches. The system I use is adapted from one L. Sprague de Camp wrote about using, and if anyone reading this has forgotten or never knew who he was, Google is your friend. Regardless, with some updating it works well enough for me. I keep five separate text files: a Works List, a Submissions List, a Sold List, a Bibliography and a Trunk List.

These are all pretty self-explanatory but I’m going to explain them anyway, if for no other reason than to remind myself how it all is supposed to work, because sometimes I am lax. Ahem. Continue reading

A Word About Conventions

WRITING 02If you’re a writer in the sf/f tradition, the subject of conventions is going to come up sooner or later. If you’re coming to writing through fandom, chances are that you’ve been attending conventions for a considerable length of time and what is there to talk about? And then there are those new authors who get told by their editors or other close associates that “You really need to attend conventions” and they go “Conventions? What’s that?”

What it is often called, or was before sub-genre fragmentation took over, is “A Gathering of the Tribes.” (Though some reserve that term for WorldCons) Fans and writers and artists and such folk gathering together on a weekend to meet each other, talk shop, drink in the bar, hang out with friends, sometimes attend panel discussions and readings, maybe meet your favorite author. That kind of thing. There’s usually one going on somewhere, most weekends.

I still remember my very first, long before I was selling. I was never a real fan, mind you. Probably for the same reasons that I’ll apply to the subject of conventions in a minute, but I was a reader and aspiring writer, and I knew about them. Usually they were taking place a long way from where I had just started work after college, and I had no travel budget to speak of. However, I learned of one within driving distance, and it was JUST IMAGICON, being held that year in Memphis, TN. It was back in 1978, and as for the convention itself, you can probably imagine what it was like for someone like me: Theodore Sturgeon. Kelly Freas. The de Camps. It was, and I say this without either irony or hyperbole, like walking among gods. Continue reading