||[Jul. 24th, 2016|05:35 pm]
I had a terrible night of sleep last night and really didn't want to go to the second day of the convention today. I went only because I had signed up to a workshop with limited seating, and it wouldn't be right to have reserved a seat and then fail to show up, so armed with coffee and a muffin full of sugar, I stumbled down the few blocks to the library and showed up late, but then so did everyone else.|
It was a good workshop, and it gave me ideas about describing settings in a more dynamic way. We had an exercise in which we were to pick one picture of a person from Humans of New York and then write a description starting with "When I got back home ..." and describe the home environment. I am always terrible at such exercises because I simply can't do things that quickly. I'm a planner, not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer. So first I have to pick someone and give them a character, occupation, family, whatever, then think about what kind of home environment they might have, then write the scene. So all I had were some notes, not a proper description. I think such exercises are valuable, I just have great difficulty with them because I can't just start writing without planning.
One of the other attendants and I explained steampunk to a third attendant, who was very dismissive of it. Why not just read history? Uh, because Victorian England is more fun with cars and flying machines?
The second workshop I went to was about writing romance novels. One of the things suggested was that if you're going to shift POVs, the POV should be of the character that has the most to lose in that scene, which is an interesting concept that I will play with in a later book. It was also said that the male character must give up his goal if he wants to keep the female character, which is an idea I hate. I can't remember that from the romances I read, but that was twenty years ago, so maybe things have changed. I don't like having one person being forced to give up something important to them to be worthy of someone else. I guess that has something to do with the female characters "fixing" the male character, which is something else I always hate. It's one thing to be influenced by others, but why does that have to be "fixing" someone?
There was also a discussion about describing events with more senses than just sight, which is a fine idea and something I'm bad at, but the problem was that one of the presenters read a passage from one of her books, and after a few lines I was left thinking, "Oh, great. A rape scene." Now it was just a short passage, with no intercourse involved and nothing about the setting, so maybe some LSD had unexpectedly been thrown into the female character's face and she thought she could fly and was about to jump off the roof, and that was why the male character was restraining her, and maybe they were hiding from a bad guy, and that was why the male character was ordering her to shut up, but for some reason, I don't think so. Just the sort of stuff that prompted me to write The CEO Can Drop Dead.
While yesterday's romance panel had involved a great deal of discussion about LGBTQ characters in romance, and same-sex romances, today's workshop, which involved different panelists, was very heteronormative. I don't know if I'm using that word correctly. It was all about heterosexual couples and very traditional gender roles. Yesterday, one of the questions was why so many female writers chose to write m/m romances, and they were saying part of the appeal was escaping the gendered roles, though how well that is done was a subject of debate.
I enjoyed the event overall and gained some useful tips. I don't know what the organizers thought about the numbers, but I hope they were high enough that they hold another convention next year.