Writers of the Future, Day 2: Magical Mystery Tour

Picking up our adventures from the other day . . .

Arrived at the Author Services building, where I would spend most of my week, just before 9:00 on Tuesday morning, bleary-eyed and bushy-tailed.  The clanky elevator had taken its toll.

The first order of business was a tour, directed by Joni Labaqui.  She took us to the 4th floor, where the works of L. Ron Hubbard are on display.  And that’s a lot of works, I’m here to tell you.  They also have nice library of books and magazines by past winners and judges up there.  The walls are decked out with photos of L. Ron, past awards ceremonies, and some groovy SF art.  I let my eye linger on the gigantic trophy they had on display there–the Gold Award–but only for a moment.  As I’d told myself before going to Hollywood, I had already done everything I could do.  The rest was out of my hands.  Nonetheless, handicapping the Gold Award became an amusing pastime among some of us.

Properly bedazzled, we returned downstairs to begin the workshop proper.  Tim Powers and K.D. Wentworth were our primary lecturers.  The two made for a nice dynamic, with  K.D. very straightforward and Tim rather . . . acerbic, I guess.  But funny.  Too much of either style might have been wearying, but they balanced each other out nicely.

Around midday, K.D. handed out our Random Objects.  This was the first step of that famed WotF workshop event, the 24-Hour Story.  Yep, we all knew that later in the week, we would be required to write a complete story in 24 hours.  To spur our imaginations, we were each given a Random Object.  Samples below:

(Clockwise from left:  Jordan Lapp, Krista Hoeppner Leahy, Grá Linnea, Fiona Lehn, Don Mead, with yours truly in the center.)

Mine is a little hard to make out.  It’s a card with picture of a woman and a peacock.  On the back of the card is a paragraph describing the symbology of peacocks in various cultures.  Did you know that in some traditions, peacocks were seen as guardians of the gates to paradise?  True dat.

One look at the card, and I thought, "Looks like I’m writing a fantasy story."

Except I didn’t want to write a fantasy.  I hadn’t turned out any SF since completing Petra Released.  And it had been years since I’d written any short SF.  So I stamped my feet and held my breath, and tried to steer my brain away from fantasy.  I won’t do it, I vowed.  I won’t I won’t I won’t.  So there.

We finished for the day at around 6:00.  I reunited with the wife, who’d spent her day by the Santa Monica pier.  (Jealous?  Me?  Never!)  A group of us hoofed it down Hollywood Boulevard to an Italian place called Miceli’s.  Former winner and current writing machine Steve Savile joined us, along with some of his friends.  Much food and frivolity was had.

Had a couple of reading assignments to do, so the wife and I retired after dinner.

Next up:  Accosting Strangers, and the Library of the Apocalypse

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