The most important weekend I have ever spent…

…in my entire life as an aspirant.

Bar. None.

48+ hours that I feel have literally changed my world. Changed it forever.

This is not a cliche. This is not an overstatement.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. The Kris ‘n Dean Show.

There is another one coming up in September. Plenty of time to get your name on the list. For the gargantuan amount of practical and insightful knowledge that is dispensed, I highly, highly recommend it.

And no, it cannot be blogged about or discussed on a message board.

It has to be experienced.

That is all. Carry on.

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12 thoughts on “The most important weekend I have ever spent…

  1. He he he. Sorry, dude. I’m sworn to secrecy! (grin) But really, I can’t do the weekend proper justice in this format. There was literally so much information that I am boggled as to where to start? It would take days to break it all down and begin posting it.

    What I will say is that Kris and Dean take you from start to finish, through the entire writing and publishing process — from the time you first get Serious, as a writer, all the way to the time when you’ve got 25 novels in print and how to manage the money and how to handle that one book that leaps up onto the NYT list and suddenly you’re not just a working professional writer, you’re becoming a Name working professional writer.

    We discussed agents, business, craft, art versus production, pitfalls galore… Again, I boggle at trying to condense it all into a blog format.

    What struck me most was how excellent it was having two professional writers who also have extensive editing experience offering their opinions at the same time on the same subject. There is always a danger with workshops in getting your information from a single source. With Kris and Dean it was two pro sources — reputable sources, the kind I believe you can absolutely trust — giving out some very good information. Some of it eye-popping, because it flies in the face of so much of the conventional (bullshit) wisdom that we aspirants digest and pass around on the internet.

    Having attended conventions and other writing weekend stuff, the Kris ‘n Dean Show totally blew everything else out of the water. I was like, wow, this is amazing.

  2. I attended the same workshop (hi Brad!) and agree with Brad’s opinion. Although my take on the “sworn to secrecy” part was more “don’t blog about it during the weekend” than “don’t blog about it ever”. Part of the reason for that was to avoid putting out incomplete information (or information filtered by the blogger’s perceptions) that might be misinterpreted and possibly harm a beginning writer, which is the last thing K&D want to do.

    Much of it was stuff I’d heard them talk about before in their two one-hour sessions at Denvention, but this time in more detail, with elaboration and reasoning behind the advice, and more anecdotes. High points? Follow Heinlein’s Five Rules. Learn story structure (eg Algis Budrys’s seven elements). Only listen to advice from somebody further down the road you want to follow than you are. Take with a grain of salt anything a writer says in public (fiction writers lie for a living). Do the math. Writers are the worst judges of their own work.

    But Brad’s right about it having to be experienced rather than read about. I took 19 pages of notes, in my own condensed form. That would have to double to even be intelligible to anyone else.

    Biggest myth? Quoting K&D from Denvention, the biggest myth is “you can’t make any money in fiction”. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry (counting all genres – if you include non-fiction, it’s about $30B, figure fiction as about half that*), and for any given book, writers make most of the money (agents and publishers take a smaller piece of a lot more pies, er, books). But you have to work at it; an “overnight success” takes years.

    (*I did some quick online research to find numbers, but the industry categorizes by e.g. trade, hardcover, etc regardless of whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. For consumer sales (which would exclude a lot of non-fiction sales, eg textbooks), the market is 55% fiction.)

  3. Great points, Alastair. Absolutely.

    In truth, I am sorta keeping a lot of the K&D stuff close to the vest because I liked the weekend so much, I don’t want to deluge the web with my notes because then people who really need to go and experience the weekend will just go, eh, I have Brad’s notes, so why spend the time or the money?

    But you’re right, DWS was probably just saying, please don’t blog about the weekend during the weekend itself.

    You’re also right in that the biggest myth exploded, was the myth that there is no money in fiction. When they got done showing us cash streams on book deals, and we talked about working outside the SF&F genres, it became clear that there is gold in them thar writerly hills! All we need to do, as wildcat miners, is go out and dig it up.

    Hard work, but for those who can stick with it, riches await. Riches!

    Again, excellent points. Thanks for posting them here.

  4. I’m not going to be uploading my notes either. Not that I’m averse to sharing information — heck, I tend to overexplain anyway — but aspiring writers are better off getting the information directly, either from the workshop, or Dean’s and Kris’s blogs, or other original and more-experienced sources (like Heinlein and Budrys) than filtered through my perceptions.

    That said, I’m happy to share what information I have about writing and publishing, but nobody should be paying that much attention to me, at least not until I’m getting published regularly. Learn from the experts. (I do have anecdotes that some might find interesting from a historical perspective — I’ve been around the field for a while as was my father before me — but any advice I might have at this point is secondhand.)

  5. What about those of us not in the US of A who don’t have the same kind of access to authors of that calibre? I think we’re buggered!

  6. That is a significant problem, John. Those from the UK, Australia, Europe and elsewhere have a much higher hurdle to climb — financially — if they want to attend any of these local-USA functions by local-USA authors. Pray tell, where in the world do you reside?

  7. Hi Brad.

    I live in New Zealand.

    I think we have 0 best sellers. We have some authors that have local books, but thats about it. Nothing in the big time. The closest ‘con’ we get is australia.

    Even that is too far away for me in my current situation (new baby girl, wife at home looking after her and not earning) So languishing away here, so to speak 😉

  8. New Zealand! Yes, you’re definitely on something of an island, literally and figuratively, where pro writers are concerned.

    You’re also faced with the task of submitting to mostly-overseas markets.

    Hmmmm…. Lots of Americans like to travel, and I know New Zealand is one place a lot of Americans express interest in seeing. Perhaps if you keep your ear to the ground on the internet, you can find out if/when somee of your favorite American or UK authors are traveling, and see if perhaps they wouldn’t be game to have a sit-down with you and other New Zealand writers during their trip?

    How big is the local New Zealand fan base? Could a small convention of any sort be organized? Bring in some authors for that?

    Again, you’re on an island of sorts. I wish I had better suggestions.

  9. “48+ hours that I feel have literally changed my world. Changed it forever. ”

    Have to echo that sentiment. I’ve attended the week-long Marketing Seminar and will be back in July to learn structure, and October for the Master Class.

    Definitely, the best writing and industry-level teachings I’ve ever come across.

    Thanks for the ‘Bathtub’ Illustration. Well done!

  10. Pingback: Alastair Mayer’s T-Space » Good news day.

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