Monday, August 13, 2007

"Lost and Forgotten Writers from the Pulp Fiction Era"

This panel Saturday morning was probably the single panel I enjoyed the most. I must admit the "Far Out Physics" panel Friday night was the best attended one I participated in - and it must have been one of the more successful panels at NASFIC - but "Pulp Writers" was also very well attended, and I was able to contribute more (my practical knowledge of physics being negligible)

I assumed someone must have read someplace where the blog No Fear of the Future called me "the heir to the old penny a word pulps."

I brought along some old crumbling pulp magazines to display on the table. As it happened, another panelist, Lloyd Kropp, did the same thing.

David Hartwell was on the panel. This was a first for me, and as it happened, he had a lot to contribute. We all had a good time, and there was a good interaction with members of the audience. I think everyone had a good time.

The magazine I took were all duplicates from when I had bought lots on eBay, so I didn't intend to haul them back to Texas, and when I mentioned this, there was a rush to the table. Hartwell took a copy of Amazing Stories from 1947 that featured The Shaver Mystery. Kropp also took a copy of Amazing, and the rest went to audience members.

David and I chatted briefly after the panel. I didn't know he grew up in Massachusetts, also. Lloyd said he enjoyed my contributions to the panel.

My next panel was "Knowing When to Stop Writing". I think this was a very helpful panel to the people who attended. There were some very good writers on the panel, including Robert Reed, Dave Marusek, Rob Chilsson, Thomas Stratman, Richard Lee Byers and Laura Underwood.

Most of the discussion was on how to know what you've got, such as a short story as opposed to a novella as opposed to a novel, and when to what what and where is going wrong in your story.

Rob Chilson is very enthusiastic about his craft and is great to watch on a panel. It was fun just to sit next to him. Dave Marusek as usual has some real helpful pithy advice. At one point, discussing what type of story fits into what length of story, he opined that a short story is long enough to tell about an incident, a novella is long enough to tell about a person's life, and a novel is long enough to to describe a world.

I had one of those light bulb moments when he said this, because I realized that's why "The Witch of Waxahachie" and the related stories I am working on can develop into a novel, because I created a world with "Witch".

I later told Dave in the hallway that his advice at ConDFW in 2003 helped me break into magazines (success in 1/3 luck, 1/3 talent and 1/3 connections) and now this latest piece of advice would help me break into novels.

That was my last panel of the day, I went to a few parties Saturday night. More on that in my next post.

Oh, on the health front, I'm feeling much better. The inner ear infection is getting beaten back by the antibiotics, and my blood pressure is now in the low range for Stage I Hypertension - which is a big improvement. I have to take my blood pressure at home every night and turn a log over to my doctor.

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