Friday, 10 August 2012
Prose and Cons
It's the second annual When Words Collide sci-fi/ fantasy/ genre whatever fiction convention here in Calgary, and so far people, it's been super engaging, educational, and fun. I learned today that the word "robotic" was coined in 1920 by a playwright (before that, you'd use "mechanical" or "automaton") and that 80-90 % of science fiction is written in limited third person style narrative. Sherlock Holmes was a spin off of Poe's famous French detective, who not many people nowadays could name. We attended a slush panel reading, voiced by Canadian historical novelist, Jack Whyte. The critiques of the anonymous pages from that session were really insightful as to what publishers are looking for when they read a first submission: first of all, don't start with a weather report. Involve the reader in some action, strong and vivid language, something original that maybe they haven't seen before. Hook them in with a character doing something, not just observing. Some first readers are more patient than others, and if your characters and writing are strong, may stick around and give your piece a chance - at least, for another few paragraphs.