The con was worthwhile. I brought home a couple of useful pieces of knowledge.

  • Always read a story aloud; to someone else if possible, but to yourself if not. You can hear clunky phrases more clearly. If you stumble over a sentence it might be awkwardly written, and if you run out of breath, it’s too long.

I discovered when I did this that it’s also good for focusing on details like inconsistent spacing and word / sound repetition, so it helped me make a few last-minute tweaks to the story.

  • To succeed as a Speculative Fiction writer (according to Selina Rosen, and backed up by the rest of the panel) you need to be an extroverted self-promoter, visiting all the cons and selling yourself.

That’s a Bad Thing for me. I’ll never be able to speak in front of others, and I’ll never be an extrovert.

That isn’t going to stop me submitting the story, though. It should start on its rounds tomorrow. (Update: nope, it’s in the mail today.)

One question that came up several times was “How do I find a beta reader?” A beta reader being someone who’ll read and critique a piece before you send it out. I get great feedback from the critique group, but it strikes me it might be interesting to create a session on how to be a beta reader, and introduce con-goers to each other so that they can trade readings. I wouldn’t mind additional independent help on a story, and would like the chance to offer feedback. I’ll have to suggest that to the con folks for next year.

Pooks: no filk.