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The astute among you may notice that Worldcon is over but I’m only just posting Day Three. This is due to a combination of things, firstly that in a fit of idiocy (fun, but idiocy) I was out until 3am Friday night/Saturday morning and was not prepared to write a blog post at that time, and secondly and far more annoyingly, that I wrote this whole damn post up last night, telling myself all the while that I needed to C&P it because it wasn’t going to post properly, and of course I forgot to copy it and then, as predicted, it didn’t post properly, and I lost everything I’d written and it was midnight so screw that noise.

So Anyway.

“BATMAN,” said my roommate Carol, loudly and clearly, as her opening salvo of the morning, “was having to investigate a murder on Coronation Street…” Then she fell back asleep for 2 minutes & dreamed I’d insisted she prove she liked my books by licking the side of my face, as a true fan would. NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT LICK MY FACE (or any other part of me unless so invited. O.O)

Mihaela, Sharpie, Kari, Catie & Phil at Worldcon!
Mihaela, Sharpie, Kari, Catie & Phil at Worldcon!

I got to exactly zero panels on Friday; it was a BarCon day. I had breakfast with eBear and Scott and met a couple of their friends who were very cool, then dashed off to meet Kari for our scheduled morning gossip, which was somewhat thwarted by circumstances. I bobbled around and got a few more signatures in my autograph book, and met Kari and others for lunch instead, which was lovely. Oh, and went around the art show and met a couple of editors, which is always good. :) And I plunked down and a few people came over to say hi and I had a lovely chat with some readers, so that was really nice too.

I also met the most ADORABLE baby Wonder Woman, who was about 6 months old and overwhelmed/wide-eyed at all the noise and people, but when I greeted her she gave me an enormous toothless smile and I was totally charmed. :)

Then, because I had been inside for well over 24 hours at that point, and sitting for most of that time, I took myself on a little walk and found that Finland also has what we call Alaska cotton, which made me happy and now that I’m thinking about it I might go out and pick some tomorrow before I have to leave. (Now it is tomorrow and I doubt that’s going to happen, but oh well. What would I do with it anyway?)

Famous Author CE Murphy with Famous Rapper Daveed Diggs
Famous Author CE Murphy with Famous Rapper Daveed Diggs

And Then We Went To The Hugos!

I’d never been before, and had a lot of fun. My roommate was the stand-in to collect an award if it was won, so she invited me as her plus one, so I got to do all the shiny things associated with that. (I’d seen Adrian Tchaikovsky earlier in the day and asked if he was going. He said he hoped so, but he had to stand in line amongst the hoi polloi to see if he got in. I said I was fancy and had a ticket, and he said he would tug his forelock in accordance to his lowly station if he saw me. :))

The pre-Hugos reception didn’t have very much food (because of course it didn’t) and so after a while of talking to people–like the nice man pictured here–I went out to the food court and got…kebab. Messy sloppy kebab. (And Adrian saw me, and tugged his forelock!) I took the sloppy kebab into the reception hall and ate it VERY CAREFULLY (I dripped some on my shoe) and people took pictures of me eating kebab in my fancy dress and SEVERAL PEOPLE came over and asked, rather desperately, where I had gotten that, and were tragically dismayed to hear I’d gone and bought it in the food court. :) (The food court was very expensive but surprisingly good. All of the food I had from it was real food of quite decent quality.)

I thought the Hugos ceremony was very well run, and of course particularly enjoyed the bits where my friends won. I was disappointed, but not surprised, that Clipping (Daveed Diggs’ group) didn’t win, and delighted when the best editor award winner, Liz Grovinsky, was so rattled she forgot to get her award. There were some excellent speeches, more than one of which made me cry, and then there was also Ursula Vernon’s speech where she told everybody about whalefall because it’s really cool. :)

Ursula Vernon & some nice man at the Hugo Loser's Party
Ursula Vernon & some nice man at the Hugo Loser’s Party
AND THEN WE WENT TO THE HUGO LOSERS PARTY

We ended up, through sheer good fortune, in the same shuttle van that brought GRRM himself, Nalo Hopkinson & her husband/partner/extremely nice man who was with her, and I think Ellen Datlow and Pat Cadigan, maybe, so we arrived in rather elite company. Beforehand we stood around and complained about high heels (“If only men wore them,” I said, “they wouldn’t be part of formal wear for very damn long. Of course, if it was the 16th century, men WOULD have been wearing them.”

And then a complete stranger came up and said, “Well, it used to be that men were the ones who wore high heels,” and I was like, “That is literally exactly what I just said” and he did, at least, apologize. For God’s sake. Anyway.)

The party was great fun! I talked with Nalo & the Extremely Charming Man (I really do think he’s her husband, and I know his name, but as he’s not mentioned on, like, her Wiki page, I’m inclined to leave his name to himself as his own business) for a bit, and re-introduced myself (for about the 3rd time, but as he said, “I don’t remember anyone who isn’t wearing a name tag,” and I have no expectation of BEING remembered) to GRRM, and met a Chinese editor who said, “Write SF, we’ll translate it,” which seems like an excellent plan, and I got to have a good chat with some Irish friends, and met some new people, and–oh, this was funny. I’d taken a picture of Ursula in her Loser’s Hat and posted it to Twitter, and a Tor editor (that I don’t even know personally!) in the States said “Oooh is Liz in a Loser’s Hat, can you get a picture!” so I did, all within about 3 minutes, and she was delighted and I was delighted and it was pretty funny and fun. :)

Nicholas & Catie at 3am :)
Nicholas & Catie at 3am :)

I went over to talk to Charlie Stross, who it turned out was on his way out the door (I swear, I talked to him 4 times for 45 seconds each over the entire week, which was not an ideal conversation vector!), so I ended up sitting down with Nicholas and another of the actual Hugo losers, and a couple of Nicholas’s work colleagues who were SF fans but had never heard of fandom and who were apparently having THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES, and next thing we knew it was 2:30am & I’d accidentally kicked Nicholas, who was so tired he didn’t notice until I apologized, so I said it was time for him to take me home (we were at the same hotel) and he did. We capped the night off with a Jamesons at the hotel bar, and I got to sleep around 3:30am.

With a 10am panel in the morning.

IT WAS GRAND, SO. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I’m re-reading the Negotiator Trilogy, which I haven’t done since (before) they were published. I’m doing this so I can write KISS OF ANGELS, which is set (at least partially) after the trilogy, and in some ways I have only a vague idea of what the books are about. I mean, obviously I know what they’re about, but…

Some of you may know that the reason I haven’t written more book-length Old Races stories is that writing the Negotiator Trilogy was…awful. Just awful. Like, I had a small nervous breakdown, writing the third one. The Negotiator Trilogy is 375K long; I wrote well over a million words trying to get there. (For reference, the complete Walker Papers series, including “Banshee Cries” and the NO DOMINION collection, is just under 1.1 million words.)

The first book went through six major, massive revisions before publication.

The second book got an edit letter 6 months late that said “please insert a plot into this book” (that’s not really what it said at all, but that was the solution to what it DID say). It had to be torn apart and a plot forcibly inserted, which required throwing out and completely rewriting about 2/3rds of the book…during the time I was supposed to be writing the third book.

Because the revision letter for book 2 was so late, I’d started WRITING the third book, but because book 2 had no plot, and because there was a character I really desperately wanted to introduce in book 3 who it turned out didn’t belong there, I could not get book 3 written. I wrote between 200-300 pages six times before I got it right, and by that time I doubted myself so much I literally brought the manuscript, in tears, to my husband and said “please tell me if this works at all.”

On top of all that, the copy editor didn’t like my writing style and rewrote huge chunks of my sentences, leaving me to struggle with correcting them (this was before copy edits were done electronically) and leaving errors that remain in the books to this day.

It was an *awful* experience, and it’s why I’ve only ever written short stories and novellas in the world again. Even so it took me years to even consider that.

So! I know what happens in the books, but…not very clearly, because so many versions live in my head, and besides that, it’s been ten years. To write KISS OF ANGELS requires some revisiting of the old material.

I have never, ever (due to the reasons ennumerated above) wanted to re-read the Negotiator Trilogy. I’ve been hoping that they’d turn out to be good enough that, a decade after the fact, they could at least draw me in a little and make a re-read a modestly enjoyable task instead of a sisyphean one.

I’ve just finished HEART OF STONE, and it turns out they are!

In fact, there have been sentences and phrases that, if another author had written them, I would have been envious of the skill and wordcraft there! (That’s a real moment of cognitive dissonance, lemme tell you. :))

Nothing in the story has really *surprised* me, but there have been a number of times where I’ve gone, “Oh yes, this is the thing that happens here, I remember that,” and also, “OH I SEE WHAT I DID THERE, MAYBE NOBODY ELSE EVER SAW IT BUT I SEE WHAT I DID THERE I’M SO FUNNY AHAHAHAH” because I’m a great big dork. *laughs*

One of the things that is *particularly* interesting to me is that I had to work very hard to write Romancy Sensual Sexy Reactions stuff in that book, and I felt like, god, SO heavy-handed, SO awkward, SO awful. But re-reading it? It’s really not any of those things. Which is just fascinating. I mean, I was, like, embarrassed at the heavy-handedness of it all, when I wrote it. (Yes, yes, this from the same woman who wrote THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, but that book didn’t go through the evolution that HEART OF STONE did. TQB was (almost) always supposed to be full of smut. :))

Another thing that I kind of knew but which is much more obvious on re-reading is that holy cats, the short stories have different versions–sometimes MUCH different versions–of the backstory mentioned in the book. Like, there’s stuff in the book that’s just plain wrong, if the short stories are to be believed. Which, IMHO as the author, they are. :)

The nice thing is I’m totally okay with that. I figure two things: One, all of these characters are at least hundreds and often thousands upon thousands of years old, and one can hardly expect anybody to remember the truth accurately over that period of time.

Second, and much more importantly, many of these characters are inveterate liars anyway, and should never be assumed to ever be telling you the truth. (I mean, seriously. You wouldn’t trust Janx or Daisani, would you? You *shouldn’t*, anyway.) :)

Anyway, so now I’m on to reading HOUSE OF CARDS, and I’ll blog about that while I’m finishing it! <3 -Catie

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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C.E. Murphy

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