Sunday, July 11, 2010

Readercon Roundup

This was my first real Readercon experience.  Although I was able to attend about a half day of last years con, this year, I was there for all three days.  Readercon takes place in Burlington, MA, which is only about 35 minutes from home, so on the convenience score alone, it's a win.

It was also an excuse to put on my 'writer' hat in public for 3 days.  For most of the time, I'm toiling at my craft in solitary obscurity.  It's certainly a treat to be a writer amongst a group of writers.

I met some lovely people (waves to Natalie and Gen!) reconnected with a group of writerly folks from several workshops (waves to the Ultimate folks and our teachers, Jeff and Craig!)

Had an energetic conversation about Doctor Who in the con suite sunday afternoon revolving around 'who is your favorite Who' with surprising disagreements.

A shout out and thanks to Kimball Rudeen of Eyrie House Books who found me a hardcover copy of "Shockwave Rider" after a conversation we had before one of the panels. 

Another shout out to Nightwing Whitehead and her fabulous overshirts.  I'm not normally a 'girlie girl', but the colorful, flowing shirt made me feel graceful and elegant all weekend long.

There were a few panels at Readercon that I found most interesting and personally useful:

Writing Realistic Speech focused primarily on dialect and invented language, and the panelists emphasized the importance of listening for the 'music' in speech and to make sure use of dialect did not stereotype.  One of the panelists reminded us that writers are always going to get something wrong. We need to approach the work respectfully and try to minimize the damage.

Orphans of the Time Stream was a fascinating conversation about time travel tropes in writing.  John Crowley opened the conversation with a quote that has stayed with me all weekend.  "Grammar will prove time travel is impossible."  I know there is a story waiting for me in that concept.  Another concept from that discussion was that in a self-healing timeline, the universe will tie itself in knots to avoid paradox.  I hadn't ever really considered writing a time travel story, but that quote keeps pestering me. . .

This morning, I attended a workshop on freelance writing and realized I have a skill set that might lead to some solid freelance editing work.  With my health-care/scientific background and my skill at understanding the typical issues of non-English speakers writing in English, there may be opportunities for me in medical/scientific circles.  If anyone out there knows of leads, please do let me know.  I would be much obliged.

I would be remiss in my Readercon roundup (nice alliteration!) if I failed to mention what was the absolute highlight of my weekend.  The Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose Competition.  It's part performance art, part literary schadenfreude, part stand up comedy, where the audience must vote on the real continuations of really bad pieces of published and obscure prose.  I haven't laughed that hard and for that long in quite some time.

All in all, a good weekend. 


  1. Lisa, I'm intrigued by the medical editing freelance work field. I work at a medical library. If you have any advice or leads on that topic, I'd be interested in hearing it.

    Why aren't there any literary conferences within driving distance of Atlanta? Oy.

  2. Ryan--I'm still in the 'this is a good idea' phase, and haven't taken it much further than that. With all the travel I'm doing, taking my eldest hither and yon to look at potential colleges, I really haven't had the time to research any opportunities.

    I'll let you know what I dig up. Hope you're staying cool in Atlanta!