So. The Second Draft panel (initially typed "Second Drat panel," but I think I am on my fortieth or fiftieth drat by now) did not magically fix the computer time problems brought about by vertigo, but it was interesting to hear such differing writers' takes on that part of the process. This is kind of what Fourth Street is like: I showed up for panels I would have skipped at most other cons (by which I mean, at any other con that was not Farthing Party), because it was going to be interesting people with interesting ideas. It's not quite to the point where I don't care what programming is, because I'll be going anyway. But it's close.
On some panel, truepenny said she was a fantasy writer at longer lengths and a horror writer at shorter lengths, and something in my brain went, "Ting!" like the Fairy Doll. I really hope I'm not becoming a fantasy writer at longer lengths and a science fiction writer at shorter lengths, because there are still long SF and short fantasy things I'd like to write. But that's certainly been the way it's looked in the last months or maybe even year. This morning when I sat down to get a little work in, I opened the file for...yet another partially finished SF story. Hmmmm, she said.
There have been lots of panel reports on the "Advice from New Writers" panel, and I hope the audience was taking it as I was taking it: keeping the good bits of advice panels from experienced writers, rather than the bad bits. If you're doing that sort of thing well, you don't blindly listen to everything an experienced writer says because they're experienced; some of them are extremely experienced fruitbats. You think about what they've said, and you think about the context in which they've said it, and you keep what makes sense and you throw out what doesn't. It seemed like at least one member of the audience didn't realize that was meant to be true of the new writers' panel as well. Don't listen to us because we're new! Listen to us when we make sense. Listen to the established writers when they make sense. Sometimes it'll be the same sense, sometimes not. There is -- or at least there ought to be -- as much diversity among new writers' opinions as among established writers' opinions.
One thing that frustrates me a lot is when people try to act as though all writers should be willing and able to become editors and publishers at the drop of the proverbial hat. I am not an editor. I am not a publisher. I don't want to be either of those things, or my life would have a very different shape. I recognize that this means that there won't be an editor or a publisher who thinks exactly like me. I consider this a feature, not a bug: we already have a me on board for all of my projects. Having a backup me would be wasteful. One of the editor's jobs is to be not me.
I started this three hours ago, with loooooong breaks for vertiginous coping. I'm going to post it now and come back for the thoughts I had on the general topic of the "From Cool Idea to Story" panel later.