I began my writing career as a science fiction writer. Well, actually, I began as a science fiction fan with an intense desire to be a science fiction writer. Despite that early desire, most of my recent writing success has come from crime fiction and women's fiction.
ArmadilloCon last weekend, my first SF convention in several years (and ArmadilloCon's the only SF convention I've attended since moving to Texas in the early '90s; this was, I think, my third ArmadilloCon) was a bit of an eye-opener. I've been away from active participation in the SF community long enough that I do not recognize the current crop of SF writers, and I've been away so long that whatever limited notoriety I had as an SF fan and even more limited notoriety I had as an SF neo-pro all those years ago has faded from the collective consciousness.
(For example, only two people showed up for my reading on Friday evening, and one of them was Rebecca [a.k.a. Plot Monkey], attending her first genre convention of any kind.)
The nice thing about ArmadilloCon, though, is that it does draw a few crime fiction writers. Rebecca and I had an all-too-brief conversation with Bill Crider and Joe Lansdale on Friday evening, and we spent most of Saturday evening in the bar with Victor Gischler and a slowly evolving group of writers, hope-to-be-writers, and fans. An editor from Tor--Jim Frenkle--even joined us for a bit.
Except for all-too-rare poker games hosted by local mystery writer George Wilhite and his wife Becky, I have no face-time with other writers; my contact with other writers is limited to e-mail and participation in a couple of on-line communities. So, having spent much of Saturday evening talking shop (and talking about a zillion other things as well), I came away from ArmadilloCon refreshed.
Over the course of the weekend, Rebecca* and I came up with nearly a dozen story ideas, one of which she brought to the table almost completely formed. All I did was take notes as fast as my pen could fly and add a kick-ass title. As soon as I complete the story I was working on before leaving for the convention, I'll try to write the story she gave me, and hope I can do it justice.
In the end, it's obvious that my writing career has taken me away from my roots; it's even more obvious that time spent among other writers--writers from any genre--can be quite rejuvenating.
The weekend at ArmadilloCon even has Rebecca thinking about writing her own stories instead of feeding me her plots.
*She's MY Plot Monkey and YOU can't have her.