I spent the weekend attending the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus. This annual event is held for publishing professionals from all over the globe, and is where deals in Fantasy and Horror publishing are made for the upcoming year. Oh, and for fans (who can afford the hefty membership price, that is...) and fellow writers, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet legendary contributors in the field and to hear them talk about all the basic fundamentals of writing.
As an event, it’s quite frankly wonderful: this year, I was able to meet and talk with authors Walter Jon Williams, Mike Stackpole, Delia Sherman, L.E. Modessitt, Gene Wolfe, Steve Donaldson, Holly Black and a host of others. I also got to meet (or to meet again) editor and publisher luminaries like Ellen Kushner, Gordon Van Gelder, Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow, and Tom Doherty. There were also plenty of new and fresh faces, all belonging to writers and editors I’ve never met before, who I won’t list in details here (suffice to say, thanks to you all for your witty conversation and your many, many tips on the craft and business of writing). Truly, there isn’t a better place for any serious author of Horror or Fantasy literature than this gathering.
That said, just as in previous years I’ve attended WFC, I did get somewhat overwhelmed halfway through the event. There’s just something… intimidating… something humbling in the primal sense of the word by the act of walking through rooms populated by such talent. It can (and does) take the breath away.
Bottom line: World Fantasy ain't a place for the faint-of-heart.. YES everyone's wonderful and YES they're encouraging, but... damn. It's just difficult to talk to an author with 25+ novels under their belt, books I've literally grown up reading and not ask yourself tough questions like "What the hell am I doing, thinking I can write this shit?" I did finally get my head together in time to attend some great panels on Sunday, but apologies to anyone I may have been speaking with on Saturday afternoon, particularly, if I looked distracted or scatterbrained – it wasn’t you; it was just my brain melting, and I really did enjoy meeting you all.