Friday, March 2, 2012

Only Human

Fun fact: Life, the Universe and Everything was my first convention. Ever. However, if I had to pick a place to start, I'd pick LTUE. It was exactly my kind of place. Filled with authors and wannabe authors (that's me!), writers all, it had a haphazard, homey feel to it.

Last-minute changes were made, plans were turned upside down, and roving bands of volunteers wandered the halls finding those who looked more lost than usual. The schedule for Saturday was so last-minute that they refused to give out schedules until Saturday, and even then there were plenty of changes made as the day went on. It was a conference for writers by writers.

But the most interesting part of the convention was how completely normal the authors were. I suppose this comes as a surprise to only me, but authors - even bestselling, published authors who make enough money to quit their day jobs - are entirely ordinary people who love to talk to their fans and don't really think of themselves as all that special.

I talked to so many people over the course of two days. That was the real attraction. The panels were nice, but not what I was there for. I didn't manage to get up the courage to speak to James A. Owen, as his address completely blew me away, but I did speak to many others.

You guys already know I spoke to  Paul Genesse about his books. Laura Hickman asked me for directions, and I was able to give them because I had luckily just finished looking up the information she needed. I even managed to compliment Howard Taylor's online comic Schlock Mercenary without entirely embarrassing myself.

It was both comforting and extremely weird. These are the people whose work I've adored for years -  Brandon Sanderson was there, for crying out loud - and to me, these are monolithic figures worthy of respect and admiration.

Yet here they are, talking normally to people just like you and me, making friends, commiserating about writing. At the same time, I want to be like them. I want people to know my name like they know Diana Wynn Jones.

Previously, this was some huge impossible goal. How could I ever hope to be as famous as Brandon Mull or  Michaelbrent Collings? Now, it's way more reachable. I've realized that these people are just ordinary people who wanted to tell a great story, and I believe I can do that.

All I have to do is write, and if I write and learn and improve, then I can make it. I don't have to be perfect - L. E. Modesitt, Jr. has doubts and at times questions what he's doing, but he keeps writing and turns out amazing work.

Interacting with these people helped me realize that you don't need anything special or magical to become a published author. You just need to do what I do best. You just need to write. Even the way the convention was structured was so familiar to me.

It reassured me that I'm not alone when I completely rewrite the plot of Heaven's Wrath, or when I change one detail five times because I'm still not happy with it. They're the same kind of people as I am. I fit in. It was... inspiring.

Postscript: If I can manage it, I will get the pictures up that I took show you some of the swag I collected. Don't hold your breath waiting, my cell phone is stubborn on these matters, and doesn't take extremely fabulous pictures anyway.


  1. I wish I could have gone I have missed it twice now but each year something is going on. I agree they are just normal people.

    1. I highly recommend it. You might find yourself inspired by these normal people. ^_^