2016 Ad Astra – Day Three


The final day began with packing my car and checking out. The person ahead of me decided to talk the hotel guy’s ear off, so that was slower than expected. Luckily, I had already packed up my car and just had to hand him the keys. Yay for pre-booking and paying online!

I was still slightly late to panel one, which was “When to Listen to Your Editor and When Not To”. Tips included:

  1. Don’t change your whole book if say they don’t like it. It means they’re not the right editor for you. It’s a relationship you’re looking to start. Would you be with someone who only wanted you if you weren’t you?
  2. If it’s not on the page it didn’t happen. You shouldn’t have to explain anything. They should understand everything from reading the thing. If they don’t, it’s because you missed communicating something to the readers.
  3. Check out the Terms from the Editor’s Association of Canada to know what type of editing you’re looking for.
  4. Some offer free 5-10K word edits, so you can see if they are right for you.
  5. Get references. Who have they edited in your genre?
  6. You NEED beta readers before editing.
  7. Which English language? If set in Canada, Canadian. If set in London, British. Etc.
  8. DON’T RUSH! There is often no reason beyond your own eagerness to get the book published. Take your time and make it the best it can possibly be before it’s out in the world.

Next, I attended “How to Go Beyond Getting Started and Get Something Finished”. I’ve been stuck on some things in The Page & The Magician and I figured any tips at all could help me find my way out of the tunnel. We talked about:

  1. Outlines and the beat sheet.
  2. Writing it without any pressure. It doesn’t have to be awesome. It just has to be something. And some days you might not get passed the word “the”, but at least you put more than nothing down.
  3. Telling the inner critic to STFU!
  4. Some writing can just be practice.
  5. The process is whatever works for you. If you aren’t finishing anything, there is something wrong with your process. Change it up.
  6. Find ways to restore the joy. You love this thing or why do it?
  7. Be gentle with yourself. You might not make your word count, but that doesn’t make you a failure.
  8. Have mini goals.
  9. Schedule everything in your life. Free time, family time, writing time, work time, exercise, etc. This will help with work-life balance.
  10. Epic music.
  11. Read a few pages before where you are if you’re stuck.
  12. Have your character do/say that one thing they said they’d never do/say.
  13. Lots of little things can be decided later if they don’t affect the story. Things like hair colour, what kind of chair, etc.

I had a blast listening to people talk and debate at “Star Wars: The Fandom Awakens”.

Then I listened to a “Conversation with Chizine Publications”. It helped me decide some things with my own publishing plans.

After that was a discussion with a man from Tor about “Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy”. He was interesting and had lots of neat stories.

I took a last look around the vendor’s room before heading to Oshawa to briefly visit a friend as I had forgotten some personal items the weekend before. The drive home involved rain and was fairly cold and miserable, but my heated seats kept me going 🙂

And that’s it for my first Ad Astra. I came out of it with tons of ideas on how to fix my novel. I learned techniques to identify the problem areas. Some were very obvious, but I’m not going to feel bad about not seeing them before. I learned and I grew. I also got that boost of motivation I sorely needed to finish my book.

Ciao,
R~

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