Dragon*Con prep, outlines, and Critters

Getting ready for Dragon*Con. What to wear; what to wear? Something that goes with my new chainmail wings that I got at , I think.

Matthew posted the schedule grid on the Daily Dragon web site. I stuck a hit counter on the page, something I’ve been meaning to do since, err, last year. And Matthew’s getting templates set up so that we’ll be able to handle articles and schedule updates as efficiently as possible. Man, I hope they have fewer schedule changes this year. Last year we got nailed really hard. There was hardly any room for articles in the paper copies for all the schedule updates, and we spent way too much time writing up and publishing those. I much prefer doing articles and reporting on panels.

We’ll be on-site on Thursday, helping to set up in the media room (Hyatt rm 219). Very short week for me this week. Huzzah!

Matthew and I went over the posted schedule trying to figure out what we want to go to and report on. This year there didn’t seem as many “must do”s as there were last year, but then again, it seems that there’re fewer big names guests too. ‘Course the lineup they had last year was pretty amazing: Harlan Ellison, Anthony Daniels, and Laurell K. Hamilton–not to mention just about the whole B5 crew. This year does have the B5 folks again. And Ann Crispin. She’s going to be in a slew of panels but I’m going to be spending six hours workshopping with her so I’m not sure how many of her panels I’ll hit.

Speaking of which, I’ve starting work on outlining a novel for her workshop. Gleep. Did I mention that I don’t outline well? And that I haven’t managed a novel-length work to completion yet? Gleep. I don’t even know how many chapters I ought to have! Much stress.

On the Critters front, halfway through the tri-week and 11 crits for “Two Minds” and 21 for “Springtime.” I think “Two Minds” is the stronger story. I would rather have gotten more feedback on that one, but I’m competing against myself and “Springtime” is several thousand words less than “Two Minds.” Grump. Several people have done both of them, though. I should buy those folks a soda or something. Unfortunately, sending food via the USPS seems like a bad idea. Maybe a virtual donut?

It’s hard waiting three weeks for a story to finish its review. I’ve already made revisions to “Two Minds” from the feedback I’ve received and am itching to send it out. But I’m holding off until all of the critiques come in . . . in another week and a half. I hate getting a crit that points out a typo or comes up with a superior phrasing after I’ve mailed something off.

I can’t believe how fast August is winging by.

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19 Responses to Dragon*Con prep, outlines, and Critters

  1. oracne says:

    Novel Outlines

    A friend who cranks things out pretty quickly once told me she uses this method a lot:

    She estimates that each chapter will be five scenes long. Each scene will be about 5 pages of manuscript, so that works out to 25 pages per chapter, which is a good average, I’ve found. It helps her to think she’s going to have 20 chapters, at least for draft outlining, so that gives you a manuscript of 625 pages.

    Estimating 1000 words per four pages of Courier double spaced with one inch margins, that gives you a word count of 156,250. More than enough for a novel.

    I’ve found the five scenes/five pages each guideline to be pretty useful.

  2. sylphon says:

    I’m still envious of those wings 🙂
    I had been looking at them and looking at them but when i finally decided I wouldn’t look completely stupid in them (being overweight doesn’t lend itself to looking good with wings), you had gotten them 😉
    I can’t wait to see what you come up with to wear with them!

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Silly! Wings look fabu on everyone. They are the perfect accessory. But then again, if you’d known that at Fantasm, I wouldn’t have gotten them ’cause you would’ve beaten me to them . . .

      Actually, the guy who made my wings will be back next year, and he said he was going to make another set. Betcha you could lie in wait and ambush him at his booth.

      Everybody must have wings! Mwa ha ha haaaa!

      • sylphon says:

        Not true, you’ve seen me, can you imagine me toodling around with those cool black feather wings you had? I went and almost bought apair before Fantasm last year because I had a neat concept for a costume to wear while serving drinks at the concotion contest, but when I tried them on, 2 nearby kids actually started laughing and snickering. That bit! So I wussed out and didn’t get them.

        I’ll have to check the vendor fair when he gets there then and get myself a pair. Chainmail wings is just too awesome of an idea not to!

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Oh pish tosh! Those undoubtedly pimply-faced little brain-devoid brats wouldn’t know a winged-beauty if it came and stomped out their kneecaps. I’m 100% certain you were a vision of loveliness. It pisses me off that those little crotch droppings deprived all the lustful, appreciative Fantasmites from seeing you in black wings!

          Pfft. If that ever happens again, you seek me out, and you and me’ll do some darkly angelic smiting, K? *huff* people like that make me so MAD! *snort* those sniveling little witless torn-condom spawn! *growl*

  3. mouseferatu says:

    “I don’t even know how many chapters I ought to have!”

    This advice may not sound useful at first, but I can tell you from experience it’s entirely accurate.

    To paraphrase–start at the beginning, and when you get to the end, stop.

    The purpose of the outline is to give the novel a set structure. If you try to write the outline to a set structure–at least in my experience–you wind up either short-changing the plot, or turning the entire thing into one big chore.

    There is no “official” format novel outlines must follow, or at least none I’m aware of. Some authors like to have short chapters, maybe even no more than a scene. Others only do chapter breaks where they must. I’ve read books that are 300 pages long with only five or six chapters in ’em, and I’ve read chapters that are three pages long.

    When you’re outlining, remember the following:

    Chapters do not have to be of a uniform length. There’s no reason you can’t have one chapter of 40 pages and one of 70. Granted, you may want to avoid that where possible, but don’t bend yourself (or the book) out of shape to do so.

    The purpose of the outline is to get the plot and basic events down in order. Do not, in any way, shape, or form restrict yourself from doing that. Don’t decide, based on an outline, that a book is too long or too short.

    Similarly, an outline is a guide, not an obligation. The novel will change from the outline as you’re writing it. Expect that, but don’t worry about it.

    In essence, the bottom line is this. You don’t have to “know” how many chapters you have. You don’t have to “know” anything when sitting down to outline except your basic story. That’s what the outline is for, after all; to hash out this sort of stuff before you start the novel itself.

    Dunno if that was in any way helpful, but let me know if you’ve got any questions. 🙂

    • Eugie Foster says:

      *whimper* Mousie-fangs is scaring me, Mommy! *hides*

      But seriously, I do appreciate the hints and tips. I’m just a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the whole thing–which is exceptionally silly because it’s only an outline. Gurgle.

      • mouseferatu says:

        Eep! That was meant to make you feel better, not scare you. :-}

        Would it help if someone offered to look over any outline you put together before you send it along? ‘cuz if so, I think I know a certain RPG freelancer/unpublished novelist who might be willing to do so…

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Really I’m not stressed to the gills and hyperventilating. Oh wait, yes I am.

          Greatly appreciate the offer and may take you up on it. I’ve got until Saturday to have it completed, but really, I’ve only got until Thursday ’cause I don’t expect I’ll have any time to do squat once I get on the whirligig ride which is Dragon*Con.

          I’ve also enlisted Matthew as my partner in crime. He’s a veteran game master and thinks in novel-lengths. Between you two, I should be able to scribble out something that looks vaguely outlinesque.

          Tell you the truth, I hate doing it, but I work exceedingly well under pressure. Actually, to qualify that, I become insane, impossible to live with, and viciously short-tempered, but I do my best work when under a seemingly impossible deadline. I may lollygag for another day or so, and then hammer it out.

          Or I may just thump my head against my monitor until I knock myself cold.

          That is to say, just a warning, I may not have anything to show as I might still be scribbling frantically at it until the minute before my workshop. Meep.

          • mouseferatu says:

            “Really I’m not stressed to the gills and hyperventilating. Oh wait, yes I am.”

            Lie down. Relax. Breathe. Take a big slug of NyQuil. 😉

            “That is to say, just a warning, I may not have anything to show as I might still be scribbling frantically at it until the minute before my workshop.”

            Perfectly understandable. If and when you do have it ready, though, consider the offer open and standing until you’ve actually handed it in. And anything else I can do to help, just ask. 🙂

          • Eugie Foster says:

            Lie down. Relax. Breathe. Take a big slug of NyQuil.

            NyQuil? Err, a shot of espresso probably isn’t the same thing, huh? Oops.

  4. Are you and Matthew going to be able to make it to the play party on Friday?

    If so, this might help with your question of what to wear. The theme for the play party is ‘What would Dawn Wear?’ Where something she would find every appropriate.

    Hope to see you there!!

    • Eugie Foster says:

      At this point in time our Friday schedule is a big ole pulsating green and blue question mark. Meep.

      Can you send the wheres and whens for the play party? We’d like to swing by but due to both of us working the Con we may not be able to stay for very long.

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