Three Days in Austin and All I Got Was This Stupid Blog Post

Right, so WFC last weekend. Outside of feeling like work, it was a lot of fun.

Finally got to have my 15 minutes with Kelly Link. It was more like an hour and a half. Here’s what I think she told me…:

  1. I write good details and the SFnal elements of my stories work very well.
  2. My characters are sympathetic. Of course, she didn’t get to read about the guy who killed his fish, cat, and wife in order to spite poor white people. But I’m sure she would’ve liked him too. So there.
  3. Editors have to get used to seeing my name and get used to seeing my writing before they’ll start getting excited about it. (The fools — certainly I as an editor would never treat writers that way. Certainly. Certainly.)
  4. Huh. Well, most of what she told me was specific to the stories she’d graciously asked me to send her for critique. When I asked her whether there was something systematic about my writing that needed improvement, she didn’t have much in mind other than being stricter when tightening down the draft. Not that she loved everything I wrote, just that, you know, from a systemic viewpoint… But she also mentioned that she thought I was already doing the right things and that what I needed to do was keep doing them.
  5. So, looking at that on the screen, that’s probably a real positive comment. Oh, and she really liked the giant mosquito story, full-on explanations be damned. As they should be… She thought it was dead-on (my word) from page six on, but wanted it sped up through the first scene. I’ll take a look.
  6. She also listed some editors who she thought might like my approach. Assuming I have an approach. My word, not hers.

The only problem with that meeting was that I have no context for what she said. I mean, if she tells everyone else that they’re the worst writer in the world and she tells me that my stories are “mostly okay”, then obviously that’s high praise. I have no idea where I stand in the hierarchy of writers based on Kelly’s comments. But I’d like to *think* that she likes my writing all right. I mean, why *wouldn’t* she…?

Not that I need people to like my writing to feel good about myself. That would, obviously, be ASININE. And certainly *I’m* not asinine.

Also, in case you care, I really like Kelly Link. Like, more than I thought I would. I was kind of afraid she was going to be “just another” team-player, group-thinking, “all my friends think this way so it must be right” type of person who blind-squirrel-nut-findingly lucked into being a really good writer. She wasn’t that way at all. My favorite moment was leaving breakfast Sunday morning when KL said something to the effect of “NaNoWriMo is cool when people I like are doing it — otherwise it’s kind of stupid”. I likes self-aware people.

BK

PS, Got taken out to dinner by our good consultants out of Austin last night. They took us to a fish place in Newport Beach. I opened the menu and it looked oddly familiar. It looked, in fact, identical to the menu at the restaurant I ate at in Austin with IT, Melinda, Sam, Sharon, and Daniel last Saturday. Because it’s owned by the same people. Different name. Different city. Same EXACT menu. Five days later. But the desserts were good. And I liked the calimari. And the water came in square bottles with square bottle-holders.

PPS, And Mark McGwire was eating at the table next to ours. And I watched the end of the Rutgers-Louisville game as it was reflected in the window opposite me. Not that I care about either team, but I’ve been without TV for so long now that I can’t not watch it when it’s on. And the Big East sux0rz.

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