day 33: a little late/early
so this post arrives late, but it’s too early for me to have anything to say about the book. i’m dropping my stuff off in the hotel before heading back to Readercon, and i wasn’t organized this morning so i got out later than i expected,* and therefore haven’t done any writing yet.
some quick lines from the panels i’ve been to today (and my apologies for any mistaken references or mis-representation hereafter):
one author who had trouble selling a story because editors were adamant about a difference between “science fiction” and “fiction about science”.
in a panel on The Catharsis of Myth, discussing the re-interpretation, at best, and repetition, at worst, of myths in stories, Elaine Isaak described a rejection of one of her books because it was ‘too original’. Ellen Asher later mentioned that changing too many aspects of a myth make it too ‘original’ causing a lack of acceptance by the powers that be. critic Laura Miller says that originality as the measuring-stick of success is a very new concept. Catherynne Valente mentions that surprise endings are a very recent invention and current media (DVRs, Netflix, etc) mean we all consume at different rates, so those surprise endings are being reinforced, regardless of their quality. she also doesn’t like Joseph Campbell. Theodora Goss followed with a supposition that much of the panelist’s individual work may be seen as reactions to (rejections of) Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.
in Hacks Anonymous v. The Art Police, several authors described their most blatant sell-out works, ranging from the Catwoman movie novelization to unauthorized biographies of professional wrestlers to an authorized, but never published, bio of Jenna Jameson to almost taking work writing the dialogue for a Smurf’s video game. seriously. some great laughs in here, but some very clear messages, too. Elizabeth Hand said she always wanted to be a ‘working writer’ and this was part of that existence, not to be ignored. Kit Reed made direct connections between this writing and her financial viability (with kids in college, you do what you have to do). Cecilia Tan punctuated this, and balanced some perceptions of ‘hack’ work, with an analogy to dancing (a premier ballet dancer who joins a chorus line effectively proves her range), emphasizing the craft as covering all aspects and types of writing. Scott Edelman closed it out with advise by reference to Gene Roddenberry, who apparently wrote for other people’s TV serials (Highway Patrol; Have Gun, Will Travel) before writing Star Trek. Scott said to go ahead and write the Star Trek novelizations so you can get to the place where you write your own “Star Trek”.
some good conversations, here, as usual, and now i’m late for a Panel on Words as Magic!
i’ll be back tonight. i have to get my three pages minimum in.
* though i should totally have expected that