How Genre Fiction Helps My Social Life

Last Friday I attended my first writing conference in years. Oddly enough, the very first seminar I attended suggested that the novel I’m writing may very well be a paranormal romance novel.

(A paranormal romance novel is, apparently, any romance novel that uses elements of fantasy or scifi. Someone at the conference said any novel with aliens falls into the scifi genre, but I just read a book titled Heart Mate that takes place on an Earthlike planet where magical ability determines status, and it certainly read like a romance novel.)

I haven’t yet accepted that classification of my novel; if I never can, I’ll do what’s necessary to shift the novel over to the science fiction side. Right now, the genre of the thing doesn’t matter to me: I really want to finish a draft because I spent so long plotting the damn thing.

It’s my second appearance at this conference, the Colorado Gold Conference put on by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. This time, I didn’t pitch my novel because I’ve written only 50 pages of it, but the first time I did, and the ebook publisher told me that earlier novel fit into the paranormal category. I don’t know what’s going on here: I got my master’s degree in English/creative writing at a school that focused on experimental writing, and apparently I’ve progressed to paranormal.

Somebody tell me what that means.

I attended four great talks at this conference, by Robin D. Owens, Connie Willis, Carol Berg, and Jaxine Daniels. But much as I love listening to learn (and Connie Willis’s knowledge of books and movies was breathtaking), such things don’t count as true adventure for this woman. No, it’s the social activities that challenge me.

So I’d like to thank Sex Scenes at Starbucks for taking good care of me at the dinners and parties. (I may skip the Saturday night dinner next time, but that’s not her fault; the program is loooooong.) She always has the time and energy to meet new people at the conference and show old friends around. At the hospitality suite Saturday night, we met another woman from Kansas City who traveled 600 miles because she heard RMFW’s conference was that good.

If you write genre fiction, check it out next year. It’s always in September.