Like an End Of Con Report, only less useful to people who aren't me
World Horror Convention 2007 is over now, bar the drinking. And there's still a good deal of drinking going on, if the population of the hotel lounge is any indication. By all accounts, it's been a good WHC.
"Captain Hook" finally got some peer review here. I hadn't planned on it, actually, but when I arrived Saturday at the Twilight Tales Open Mic critique session, intending to be part of the audience, I was immediately accosted with, "So are you gonna sign up?" with a clear subtext of do, please! And I thought, well, I do have something appropriate...
Boy, howdy, was that a good thing. I mean, right up front, it was educational, that crawling in my stomach as I realized I was reading aloud three whole pages of exposition to an audience more patient than the story deserved. But had I read it aloud alone, I probably would have just come away with "Yes, that's a heavily front-loaded story. I need to cut that." What I got from this critique session was much more concrete: which three sentence clauses of the exposition were actually needed, where to put them, and then how to collapse this scene with that character dynamic to improve the whole immensely. Eric Cherry deserves a round of kudos for being such a swell critic. He MC'd the events and acted as critique facilitator, leading off the discussion with his exceedingly insightful comments.
I was relieved to hear that the ending worked. Reactions ranged from "I didn't see that coming" to "I saw it coming and I hoped it wouldn't happen." This is a very good thing. It's always a good thing when the critiques reaffirm your own assessment of which bits succeed and which bits need work. It's also good when you can make an audience of veteran horror readers flinch.
Later that night I read for the Twilight Tales Flash Fiction Contest. I didn't place this year, but I didn't expect to. The story I read had only been written over the past couple of days, after all. Simply that I produced new fiction in time to perform it Saturday night made me feel proud of myself.
Today and Friday (once I arrived) were more relaxed. Attended a panel here and there (in addition to his other stellar qualities, Mort Castle is a brilliant panel moderator), stuck my head in at a few parties, ate out a little, saw a very small corner of Toronto with my very own eyes. Did a little knitting show-n-tell with fellow stitchers (including the designer of the dread Knithulhu!). Today, a local couple (the Knithulhu designer and her husband) led me via street car and subway to an excellent Irish pub at King and Brant Streets. I wish I could have seen more of this city, but I don't wish it enough to exchange my Amtrak tickets for a later date and check into a hostel. I'm ready to go home. I feel like I've been traveling non-stop, even though I've been in the same place since Friday night. I'm missing my husband and our cats and our home and the coffee house down the street. I guess there's a limit to how long I can drift before I get antsy.
Getting on the Maple Leaf tomorrow morning at 8:30. Should be in Denver by the same hour on Wednesday. Might check in on Tuesday morning from Chicago. If not, I'll say hi when I get home.