Category Archives: Conventional

I’m Writing the Wrong Genre

I’ve seen two kinds of scuttlebutt online about “what to write.”

A: Write what you love and what you want to read!
or
B: Research the genres that are selling and fit your writing to that mold.

One of my personal rules is to maintain my own integrity, so I’ve been following advice A (which is how I ended up writing a 63,000 zombie apocalypse gamebook/CYOA). And yet I have fits of anxiety when I see things like this:

agent_categories_list

This is an edited version of a list of agents who will be at DFW Writer’s Con and what genres they have a particular interest in. (I added the highlighting and cropped out the agents’ names. You can find the full list here.)

The yellow areas are Middle Grade and Young Adult respectively. Look at all those delightful excited happy faces!

The blue area is science fiction. Only 3 happy faces and one big ugly poison Do Not Talk To Me About This.

Hm.. Zombie apocalypse. Gee, where does that fit?  Blue column of sadness. Maybe horror (it’s not really that scary, though) or humor (because being a zombie is funny!). Well crap. Those columns are pretty depressing, too, 2 and 4 happy faces respectively.

The agent pitch sessions are one of the most exciting parts of DFW Con, but dangit, I don’t think I’m going to have a lot of success this year. I’m in all the wrong categories. (Though I feel a certainty in my bones that just about every adult would get a real kick out of determining their own path in a zombie uprising book. I was talking about it with a friend in a restaurant and a passerby interrupted to say “excuse me, did you just say zombie apocalypse CYOA? Cool!”)

And my prior novel that I’m not actively pitching? Squarely sci-fi dystopia. *sigh*

I have no real interest in writing YA or MG (aside from a dalliance with The Boxcar Kids, as a kid I never even read books that would fit those categories!), but seeing this kind of heavy-loaded listing is depressing and has made me wonder if I should be trying something different. It’s hard to do while continuing that whole “to thine own self be true” stuff, though.

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First Experiences at ConDFW

I attended my first-ever ConDFW today, which is amazing to me because I’ve always lived in the area, always loved science fiction, and I’d never heard of it before two weeks ago. I wasn’t nearly as plugged in to the science fiction world as I thought I was!

The morning was all about panels. I sat in on panels about writing, about game theory, and general science-y fiction-y stuff–various and sundry things. It was a pretty small con, compared to some (I did go to San Diego Comic Con a few years ago, and that was ridiculously overwhelming. This was not that.) It was cozy, and not in the your-realtor-is-lying-to-you kind of way. I think the panels could have been a little better moderated, but it was nice to be around people who can comfortably name-drop James Bond, Serenity, and Star Trek all within five minutes. These were conversations I’ve been having for years; now there were other people who wanted to have them, too? Mind. Blown.

The best part of my day was a moment of pure fangirldom. I got to meet Rachel Caine.

I’ve liked Rachel Caine for several years (I LOVE her Weather Warden series), but the moment she really transcended into super-stardom for me was when I realized she lived in Dallas and had begun writing when she was 26. Most of my favorite authors, until that point, were dead (I ❤ you Isaac Asimov!) or lived in New York in what were apparently unreachable author-y worlds of mystery and magic. It wasn’t until I learned about Rachel’s background that I realized hey, that’s something I could do. She’s kinda like me!

Since then I’ve been hoping to meet her, but it took me awhile. She was my main motivation for attending today. She signed my well-loved copy of Ill Wind and was gracious enough to chat with me for awhile. I did my best not to squee in front of her. I even got to sit in on a reading from her next book!

The next-best part of the Con was an unexpected but very welcome dinner invitation. I am a bit on the introverted side, so my goal (as recommended in Quiet) was just to have one really good connection by the end of the day. I worked hard at being friendly and chatting with people, but things didn’t really come together until dinner. I met some lovely people (hey people on twitter!) and learned a lot more than I ever could have in a panel. Mission accomplished!

I’m glad I had the privilege of attending a sci-fi literary convention in my hometown. What a treat!

-ME

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