The day after a con is always wrought with copious amounts of caffeine (preferably intravenously!) and bleary eyes as one catches up in the backlog of email that has amassed while one was away. Writers are no exception to this as I stare at my in-box and the 200 emails that await me. I’m already 2 cups in and it’s not even noon. (Though I will admit that I didn’t wake up until 10:30–wait, that makes the prior statement even worse then!)
Yesterday was the earliest day of the con, which is to say that we got home at 5 PM rather than 11 PM, but even then, we spent our evening in a fog of sleep deprivation and sniffles (not sure if con-crud or allergies yet). The kitties were happy to have us home and curled up in bed with us, which was good since it was a bit chilly last night. I forgot to turn up the heater, so the extra warmth was appreciated.
So other than the need for sleep and a real meal, my weekend went well. I learned quite a bit at the conference, made a few more friends, and generally enjoyed being in rooms full of authors. Hearing Kat Richardson and Nancy Kress discuss writing was definitely an unexpected perk, especially when Nancy Kress told a humorous story about when Connie Willis was writing Doomsday Book.
[Nancy] called Connie up to see how the book was coming along. When [Nancy] asked her, Connie replied: “It’s not!” After a pause, she said, “I’m stuck on this one scene because after all my research, I cannot picture this damn child’s mittens!”
[Nancy] asked, “Why not write another scene for now?”
“No! I must figure out what sort of mittens this child would have! Damn!”
(She was trying to research the time during the black plague and what sort of mittens a child would wear, if any.) Nancy went on to talk about how frustrating research is for a writer and even when you think you get all the details right, readers will still find something you missed. In fact, Connie Willis had a blue ribbon of loose weave in the book, which a reader pointed out. The reader said, “If she can’t get a simple detail like that right, how can I trust her to get anything else correct?”
Anyone who’s read Connie Willis knows that she is meticulous about research. METICULOUS. She’s probably the most thorough author I’ve read. I found it oddly relieving to know that even famous authors run afoul of such things. I was in great company this weekend.