Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Archon this weekend —

So, I’ll be going up to Collinsville this weekend for Archon, which is a quite small, comfortable convention I try to make every year. It’s particularly nice because you run into the same people most years and it’s good to catch up.

This year, Jacqueline Carey is the guest of honor — I really liked her Kusiel’s Dart series. Also, Esther Friesner, whose work I also have enjoyed; Glen Cook, whose work I must admit I never got into; and — this is a surprise to me — Harlan Ellison, who scarred me for life with “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.”

So, I’m sure there will be lots to do. I’m on five panels, some of which strike me as more difficult than others:

1. Friday at 3:00 — How to write UF and paranormal. At first I thought, What do you mean, how do you write UF/Paranormal? Then it occurred to me that there are in fact big questions that anybody needs to have in the back of their mind if starting a UF/Paranormal story: is the world “open” or “closed”? Do you want the magic to be embedded in an alternate history or a secret history or what? Things like that. So, fine, I now think it’s okay as a topic.

2. Friday at 8:00 — Harassment and the female fan. Big topic there. Frankly, I am likely to pull against the topic as listed, since I think it’s quite possible for a woman to be the harasser. But it’s an issue, all right, one brought very much to light over the past couple of years. Good to see cons taking the topic seriously. Though I may turn out to be the only woman there who is all like, “No, this never happens to me. Nope. Not that either.” I seem to have a pretty powerful Go Pester Someone Else aura.

3. Saturday at 11:00 — Creating Alien Species and Cultures. Mmm. My kind of topic.

4. Saturday at 4:00 — Paranormal vs Supernatural. Frankly, I have no idea. Well, no, fine, I have *some* idea how this topic could be approached, even though fundamentally the two terms seem interchangeable to me. I mean, you could approach it from a standpoint that Paranormal means Central Romance and Supernatural means Romance Not Central, or you could approach the topic by declaring that Paranormal is vampires and werewolves and Supernatural means God and the Devil, ghosts and angels. I’m not sure — just have to see how the topic develops on the day.

5. Sunday at 11:00 — Trends in YA. Obviously the best people to address this are agents and editors, but sure, I’m happy to weigh in. After reading about what agents and editors are saying. Though anybody can pretty well tell that a few years ago all kinds of SF was being called “Dystopia” because that was a selling point, whereas now you can’t get an editor to touch anything labeled “Dystopia” with a stick.

Anyway. Lots of good panels to visit — on writing damaged characters, on alternate religions — I wonder if someone will mention Chalion, one of my favorite fantasy religions; or the blessings in Sharon Shinn’s Elemental Blessings series?

I’ll take my laptop with me for the weekend because I think I’ll be staying up there. Gotta work on the revision of The White Road. I started work on it yesterday by cutting 82 pages. I was aiming for 100, but hey, I’ll take 82 to start. Now the difficult work of stitching everything back together …

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2 Comments Archon this weekend —

  1. Craig

    I didn’t know dystopia was dead out of fashion in YA. Has some particular thing replaced it, or have the publishers just gone to an anything-that-looks-promising kind of default?

  2. Rachel

    I’m pretty sure that dystopias are now being marketed as SF rather than the reverse.

    YA readers still evidently love dystopias, btw. As always, the publishers have gotten tired of a trend before the readers … but the publishers are still going to be finishing up extant series and bringing out books in the pipeline for years, which may have something to do with the reluctance of their marketing departments to take on yet another dystopian title.

    And a couple years from now, who knows?

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