Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pre-Con Preparation

Whew, I made it through crazy day! Wednesdays are my busy day even in the best of circumstances because that's choir night, so I have to leave the house around 5 and don't get home until after 9. Plus, my radio scripts for the medical school are due on Wednesdays (I write them earlier in the week, but I have to proofread and send them). But every so often, the stars align to make things even crazier. I write a monthly column that's due on the 15th, so things get busier if the 15th falls on a Wednesday. I'd written this ahead of time, but I still had to do some fact checking and editing before I sent it off. Quarterly tax day usually falls on the 15th, too, which means a trip to the post office and then being sure to transfer funds through my bank, and this year, that fell on a Wednesday. Then there was physical therapy. And a few errands.

Needless to say, I didn't get much writing done. I was kind of stressed and distracted after working my way through the to-do list and really only had an hour or so before I had to get ready for choir, so I devoted some time to brainstorming. I'm working on a scene that should be a kind of sensory overload to the viewpoint character, something exciting and chaotic that needs to be portrayed vividly, and it's also a turning point of sorts. That meant I probably ought to figure out what was happening so I could describe it. Meanwhile, it occurred to me that I needed to think through a bit of backstory that turns out to have more impact on the current situation than I realized. The events are there, but I hadn't considered the motives and feelings behind those events, and those feelings are important going forward. It ended up going in a totally different direction than I expected, and I think I've just humanized my villain. Really, he's probably more of an antagonist than a villain. I don't think he's evil. He just has a different view of things than Our Heroes do. I think he's more interesting if you can feel a bit of sympathy for him and if he has a human side.

I'm not sure how much I can expect to accomplish today because it's convention preparation day. I'm not staying in the hotel, but I need to prepare almost as if I were because I'll need to be able to get up and dressed quickly and have everything I need available. I need to figure out my clothes and make sure all the necessary items are clean, ironed if necessary and not missing any buttons. Oh, and that they fit. I need to make sure I know where everything I'll need to wear is so that I'm not crawling on the floor of the closet with a flashlight, looking for the other shoe, when I have a panel starting in half an hour (not that I've ever done that. Ahem.) I need to figure out what I'll read for my reading and print it out in type I can see easily. I need to have my con bag packed with a copy of one of my books to display during panels and some bookmarks, then I'll need to have the Baseball Bat of Moderation ready for the panel I'm moderating Sunday morning. I got off light this year on moderator duty (I must have done it wrong last year because normally I moderate a lot of panels), but I do have the Sci Fi Channel Inferno Match, and that gets heated, so the Wand of Moderation isn't enough for keeping order. I'd also like to have the house more or less clean so that all I have to do is come home and fall into bed, then get up in the morning and throw on clothes.

If you're interested in my schedule, I've got a Firefly panel at 6 and a Doctor Who panel at 8 on Friday (be prepared for some fun stuff in that one). Then on Saturday, my reading is at 11 a.m. I don't know yet what I'll be reading. I suppose it will depend on who's in my audience. I may read my gargoyle short story (though I've done that at ConDFW and at ArmadilloCon), I may give a glimpse of book 5, or I may get really wild and crazy and read from the project in progress (one word: steampunk). Or I may read an old favorite if I have newbies in the room. I have a panel on writing humor at 2. Sunday at 10 is the aforementioned Inferno Match, which is always a lot of fun. My autographing is scheduled for 11 on Sunday (I think -- there's a discrepancy between the latest schedule I was sent and the schedule on the con web site). Then at 3 I'll be on the panel about turning books into TV series. Robert J. Sawyer, author of FlashForward, which was the basis for a TV series last season, is on that panel, too, so that should be interesting (and I will try not to feel intimidated).

So, I think to lower my stress levels, I won't even pretend to plan to get writing done today. If I do, it's a bonus, but it's probably better for me not to feel rushed and stressed. I'll enjoy the weekend more that way.

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