Futurescapes Face Journey: 3 The Fantasy of a Workshop

I also attended the High Fantasy Workshop, which, IMO, was misnamed. It was more a Q&A. Nothing wrong with that, but the difference in expectation (work on a thing, advice for implementing things) and reality (questions being answered) is enormous for me.

Also, let’s be honest. This is publishing. The answer to most questions is:

  • 1) We’ll know it when we see it
  • 2) You can do it, as long as you do it well

It is the largest amount of money I have ever paid to make a complete fool out of myself in front of my betters and my peers. After an introduction, Luke told us to ask questions by raising out hand. Or, after a short pause, to put them into the chat.

My very literal and also nervous and thus strictly rule-abiding brain made me raise my had into the lull after that to ask my question. Let me tell you now, that not only was I the first, but also the absolutely last person to do this. Everybody else used the chat.

Had I known…

At least everybody who attended got a copy of the recorded workshop and can re-live my moment of abject terror at their convenience.

It was also not really the right Q&A for me. Nothing about my current fantasy is high (except for the author now and then). Everybody else is crafting those amazing buffets and I’m just like – popcorn anybody? It salty! (Like the author…)

Do I regret attending? No. Do I regret spending so many bucks on it? Also no. I have learnt A Thing and that is important. My head is stubborn about learning things so any way that works is a good way.

Did I learn a thing related to High Fantasy? No again. 🤷

Well, maybe a little. It is not for me the way it is. The High Fantasy I want to write will have many problems, being a stand-alone being just the start. I do not believe my way of writing, let alone my preferred language to write in vibes well with tradpub High Fantasy. (Tune in for “Just Another Tuesday in Fantasy” at some later date.)

Futurescapes Face Journey: 2 Use Your Right Words

Caught in the hype, I decided to work on my 12k not-so-short story. I love that thing and it is soft sci-fi and really I have no idea what to do with it because of it’s awkward length. I looked at the first 3k and realised that I love them. Are they for everybody? I think not. But let’s be honest, most of what I write is not for the (neurotypical) masses. Carapace has a definitely autistic enby lead in an asexual (possible aromantic) relationship.

I mean, it fit the queer theme of my sub short very well, but the idea to have the beginning hawed and hacked at made my extremely unhappy. So I decided to go with something else. I mean, don’t we all have more than enough projects languishing around?

And I even have more than one Mass Effect inspired project languishing around. A Mass Effect Andromeda retelling as high fantasy. With an enby lead, a polycule endgame and subterranean dryads. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, that one is a lot bigger in my head space due to all the planning that already went into it. Planning? Mel? I hear your screams. I wouldn’t believe it either if I didn’t have several very distinct arcs weaving through this which need delicate timing. So, there wasn’t enough words written down in one piece to send in.

This was an unexpected setback.

I mulled things over and decided to go with the second part of my portal fantasy series. It had several things going for it:

  1. I love part one.
  2. I had 20k of it written down.
  3. I know the beginning needs work, but I wasn’t married to it.

Well, my first sentence maybe. Like, come on! That gives you the whole vibe of the book in less than a line.

Since I still had a little time before sending in the materials, I did an editing pass on the first chapter. Not just the 3k I would send in, but the whole thing. So it’d be smooth for me to return to. Sometimes I think of Future Mel and all the trouble I get them into. They deserve better.

Fun fact, I had no idea we were to send a query letter as well. Less fun fact: writing a query if you don’t know about the plot and conflict specifics is hard. I workshopped it with friends because I knew I was being way to vague with everything but the names.

I’m a pantser. If I knew the specifics of the plot, I’d be writing it. Instead I am writing smut and whump on my Horny WIP. Where also, I only know the specific plot as far as I have written it. Still it was fun to do the other parts. I like being unruly with my house-keeping and about paragraphs. What you see is what you get.

Yes, yes, I know that being more professional would be more professional. But if you can’t take me at my nervous punning, I’ll never calm down enough for anything else. I’m a Hobbit. I will always make a joke, especially if it’s a serious subject.

So I put an imaginary word count that I think plausible and achievable. I also put in “with prequel potential” instead of series potential, because lo! I already have the first book written. (It’s paddling around haplessly in the querying trenches.)

I sent my materials and hoped that having the query for part one lying around in several inboxes wouldn’t be an issue. Also, it will certainly find its way into some more inboxes after the workshop…

Still, meeting agents in a workshop and then querying them sounded like cheating, like pay to play and I hated it very much.

I still added them to my list. Ngl, for the chance to put Sava into book-form, I will yeet my query at a lot of agents on the chance it sticks. I also argued, that I would not be working with all of them or even meet/talk to all of them. We all need our excuses.

Since I expected some strong feedback on my pages, I didn’t bother with thinking about some other 500 words to send in. I would have my plate full with revisions, right? RIGHT?!?

Announcer voice: Stay tuned in for Blog Post Eight where this burning question will finally be answered!
*sees themself out*

Futurescapes Face Journey: 1 Getting In

Once upon a time, I hung out in a discord and somebody threw a link to Futuresacpes workshop into a channel and I had nothing to do so I looked it up because people were talking about it. Ngl, I took one look at the faculty and yeeted my application with lightspeed. Fangirling will do that to you.

I chose my submission because it shows a few things I like to write clearly. It’s queer af. It’s sci-fi but also kinda fantasy. I love to write both and also in combination. I thought my writing was actually beautiful. I had it posted on my website for a week before, so most magazines won’t take it any more.

It was a calculating move on my part. I’m queer and I will lean on that if I think it will get me [Good Things]. It feels somewhat iffy, taking advantage when I feel I have no right to. But honestly, my other aberrations are none of nobody’s business. Especially not in pubbing where, right now, it can only hurt.

Anyway, in case you wonder what kind of riffraff they let in, read the short with which I grifted my way in here: Smoke and the Universe

Curling smoke with flashes of colour wafting in it before a grey ombre background.

Afterward yeeting my best yeet, I looked at the prices which, gulp! But I was not worried. After all, I wouldn’t have to pay. There was an application process and they had my materials. I was safe.

I thought, bitch.

When I got the acceptance mail, I was on hell of a ride. Elation, naturally, but being me, that was followed fast by Bad™ Thoughts like “how many people are there?” and “can’t be that good if they accepted me…”

Luckily I have groups to shout about stuff like that in though and I found somebody else who was admitted. That helped. I am surrounding myself with incredible authors for a reason. (Mostly to be justified in feeling meh about my writing a lot because surrounded by talent!)

Later, on the Futurescapes Discord I found more familiar faces. I really liked that because I’m a socially awkward squirrel and knowing people already helps me heaps to acclimatise and feel a little safe.