Friday, July 29, 2016

Shore Leave 38 - Saturday - Panels And Pictures

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Saturday July 16, 2016

Saturday is the day the sessions given by the guests and the panel discussions begin in earnest. Of course, you can't do all of those activities without a good breakfast to start the day. This time I tried not to consume everything available at the breakfast buffet.

Saturday's breakfast

OK. Better luck next year.

After breakfast, it's off to the races. Which writing panels can I attend while seeing as many of the speakers as possible? And why are so many of the writer's panels held at the same time so I have to choose one and miss the others? Will I get to even see the art show? (I didn't, BTW.) It's always mass confusion on Saturday and the last minute changes to the schedule didn't help.

At 10:00 am I had the choice of two panels: Myths About Writing and Pitching. I chose Pitching, which is surely a weak spot for me.


  Panel members:
Since many of these panelists have been on both sides of the author / editor (or agent) scenario, they were able to share stories about their experiences, usually pointing out what not to do. Like annoy the editor. One point the panel made was that agents aren't as critical to have as they used to be. That being said, they added that a good agent can be a great buffer between you and the editor. Approach editors with your ideas at appropriate times; don't follow them into the restroom to pitch your book. They emphasized that you should always have a quick pitch ready for your book because you never know when you might run into the right person, either an editor or potential agent. The pitch should be 3-4 sentences of about 50 words. Many editors don't have time to listen to an exhaustive description of your idea. For more formal pitches, they want something no longer than a page unless there is a really good reason. If you are emailing (or sending by post) your pitch, personalize each pitch or query. And keep tweaking it to make it better. Above all, make yourself interesting (that may be the most difficult part!). They also recommended checking Writer Beware to see if an editor or agent was legitimate.

At 11:00 pm I had the choice of three panels: Writing Behind the Scenes for TV & Movies, From Fan Writing to Pro, and Working with Editors. I chose Working with Editors because I thought that would be the most useful for me, though not necessarily the most interesting.

Working with Editors

  Panel members:
The panel began by discussing the different types of editors:
  1. acquisition (finds stories for a publisher), 
  2. production (oversees production of story/book), 
  3. copy (corrects spelling and grammar), 
  4. content (checks consistency, factual errors), 
  5. line (clarifies meaning, checks the way language is used), and 
  6. proofreader (goes over the work for errors after the other editors are finished) 
In an ideal world, these should all be different people. In my world of small-press anthologies, of course, they aren't. The overall job of editors is to help focus the reader's attention by making the story readable and tightly written. The suggestions or corrections they make should not be considered as a personal attack. Still, there are times when things become tense between an author and an editor. In situations such as these, an good agent can act as a firewall between the two. There wee many examples given where authors and editors did not see eye-to-eye and how the panelists handled the situation. There is no formula for this. Each individual must be addressed in a way that will bring the project to completion. There are times when a good editor will suggest the author work with a different editor because they are better suited to  the genre of the story or the personality of the author.

One item that was suggested that made a great deal of sense for those writing in the SF or fantasy genres where there are odd names and unusual spellings. Provide the editors with a cheat sheet of character names and quirks of dialect so they will know exactly how the author meant them to be. This can greatly assist the editors in doing their job.


At 12:00 pm I had the choice of two really interesting panels: Kick-ass Women Heroes or The Whole Package (book covers). Unfortunately, this was also the time slot for the only celebrity photo I had planned for the entire conference. So that became my choice. Here I am with celebrities from Star Trek TOS, Barbara Bouchet and Michael Forest.

Barbara Bouchet, Me, & Michael Forest at Shore Leave 38
Barbara Bouchet, Me, & Michael Forest at Shore Leave 38
(I'm in the center, just for clarification)

That's all for now. I'll have more about the happenings on Saturday in the next post!

In the meantime, you can read my story, The Song of Aiden, in Human 76 - a post-apocalyptic, shared-world anthology!

Cover image of Human 76
Check #Human76 on Twitter for news!

© 2016 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

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