Stevie Chuckles’ Advice to New Writers
Part Four: A Word About Conventions
You are important. Your writing is important. You and your writing are more important than anybody else (and their crummy writing). Here are some behaviors you can embrace to accentuate your place in the writing universe.
- Now that you’ve published you should send a letter to the World Con committee that you’re now available for Guest of Honor gigs. Regional conventions will also wish to be appraised of your availability as they never have enough really GOOD writers to worship. They will appreciate this.
- When you do panels, you must create a model of Stonehenge out of copies of your own books, piled high enough to obscure most of the other panel members.
- When you answer a question on a panel you must find a way to relate it to your own work. An example: “What are some of the most richly realized characters in the history of literature?” “Well, I don’t like to brag, but many people say that my character Larry the Bleeder, in my book, TONGUE WRESTLERS OF TARG, is one of the best…” People appreciate such candor.
- When on panels remember that people are there to see and hear about you and your work. Even if the moderator doesn’t realize it, make sure that the audience is not denied their opportunity to listen to you speak, even if the other panelists are selfishly keeping this from happening. One useful technique for this is to get hold of the microphone and NEVER, NEVER let it go. If some other writer’s toady turns off the PA, remember your voice lessons. If you stand on your chair or the table, you’ll be easier to hear.
- When a con committee member doesn’t quite realize who you are and why you have added yourself to an already overfull panel of SF luminaries be sure and scream at them shrilly and heap scorn upon them. This is nothing more than a service as the interaction will no doubt assist them in remembering who you are next time and will give them something to talk about when they are socializing with their circle of unimportant friends like people who run conventions and various industry professionals.
- When you see an editor headed out to lunch with a few writers this is the perfect opportunity to attach yourself to the group. I’m sure the editor wanted to ask you but was prevented by the unabashed jealousy of the other writers. Your timely intervention will save the editor from boring discussions of cutting edge particle physics and new astronomical discoveries as you will spend the entire lunch getting him better acquainted with the wonderfulness that is you and your work and those bastard reviewers who are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
- When you go out to eat with all your struggling writer buddies and it comes time to pay, remember who the genius is here. The important one. They may not say it but when you put in four bucks too little for your portion they really don’t mind coming up with extra money to cover you. They’re grateful you came and are spending time with them. Besides, they’re a bunch of hard-SF writers. What do they know about math?
- People of the appropriate gender find you attractive (even if they won’t admit it and try to hide it by slapping you). Be compassionate. Don’t let their fear of violating societal conventions keep them away from the wonderfulness that is you. Extra points for sharing yourself during an awards ceremony!
That’s it for now but I would be more than happy to hear about other equally good strategies for furthering one’s writing career in the comments. I am but an Egg.
*The above was part of my lecture at the 2008 Viable Paradise Writers workshop on Martha’s Vineyard. New writers are strongly encouraged to follow every step. It cuts down on my competition.