Here’s the link to Part 1 if you missed it.
And jumping right into part 2:
Once we turned in our twenty-four hour stories, we got to have some fun (not that whipping out a story, isn’t fun). We formally met our illustrators and saw their work for the first time.
Down stairs in the ASI building, prints of the story illustrations had been nicely framed and set up on easels in a semi-circle. The illustrators stood off to the side so that we writers wouldn’t have any indication of who had done what. Then we had to guess which illustration belonged to our story. This was nerve wracking for the lot of us– the writers were worried that we wouldn’t be able to recognize which illustration was ours (and that we would thus insult the illustrator), while the illustrators were worried their work might be too different from the writers vision (and that we in turn would be insulted).
I was immediately drawn to the illustration done by Tiffany England. I made a beeline for it as we came in through the doors. I thought, This is mine. I’m pretty sure it’s mine. Please, can it be mine? But I hadn’t even looked at any of the other illustrations yet, so I had to pry myself away and make the rounds. All of the illustrations were beautiful (Among the notable included the piece done for Marilyn Guttrige’s story, The Ghost Wife of Arlington), but yep, the first one I had been drawn to was the illustration for my story.
After, we writers returned to our seats for some lectures by judges and past winners alike. It was great to learn about different people’s processes (I think Kevin J. Anderson’s method of writing-by-tape-recorder is the most unique) and publishing experiences.
The next day (day five) we took a field trip to Bang Printing’s facilities to learn about how books get made, to see Writers of the Future Vol. 29 being printed, and to get our first copies. Christopher Reynaga (author of The Grande Complication) came home with a special find: an un-cut copy with the pages still long and uneven. The tour was an amazing experience, not just because we got to see the book in all its many stages, but because we did it as a group–authors and illustrators together. My favorite workshop-week picture was taken here, as a group of us marveled at an un-cut copy of the book (It can be seen here).
After our tour at the printers, we writers went back to do our critique session (while the artists got to play it cool at Disney studios, I might add). The crits were followed by more guest speakers, including the editor-in-chief of Locus mag (Eric Cline, author of Gonna Reach Out and Grab Ya, had a spirited discussion with her about the pros and cons of self publishing).
That night we had a big group dinner with all of the attending judges and winners, writers and illustrators alike.
Saturday (day six) then consisted of even more wisdom from the pros. The professional interactions at the workshop, I’d venture to guess, are something newer writers would be hard pressed to get anywhere else. Sure, you might run into many of the judges at conventions and hear from them on panels, but at WotF they’re there for you, not you and the thousands of other con-goers, just you and your fellow winners. You could get in-depth education by taking a workshop (many of the judges provide workshops), but that wouldn’t give you such a wide range of people to hear from.
On Saturday we also went to the Ebel theater to do a dry run of the awards ceremony (we all took turns getting on stage and saying whatever came to mind so that the sound crew could make the adjustments needed). After that we had a brief session with John Goodwin in which he discussed speeches and showed us some examples from previous years, just so that we’d all be comfortable and prepared. Then we jotted down our thank-you speeches and spent some time practicing (of course, very few of the real speeches ended up much like the practice ones–except for Brian Trent’s (author of War Hero), which included a list of at least 20 names spewed forth in one breath).
The gala really deserves its own post, so I guess I’ll reserve that tale for next week.
Again, if you’ve got any questions, I’m here to answer them!