Inclusion–Yur Doin It Right

Jim Hines again, but this time his post is pre-cognitive, because I’ve been thinking about this one myself. Hunh. Who knew that winning a Hugo made you precognitive?

(Because yes, Jim did win the Hugo for Best Fan Writer. And you heard it first here, back when the nomination was a twinkle in this author’s eye. Not that I’m taking any credit or anything. Even though credit is mine and I AM A KING MAKER!!!

Ahem. Congrats to Jim C. Hines for winning the Hugo for Best Fan Writer.


Rather than pointing out stories of people blowing others off inappropriately, let’s study a couple of examples of gallant behavior that we can all model our interactions on.

Scenario the first: Hugh Howey

So there I was, waiting for…something, and I ran into Ann Leckie. Quite frankly, Ann is awesome. We met at a Codex breakfast at Wiscon two years back, and we share similar philosophies on writing. She’s a joy to talk to, and I had the opportunity to talk to her a few times this convention.

Well, we started talking about this and that, and I decided to tell her my Ursula Vernon story. Which is a great story when done with right inflections and exaggerations. The short version is that I love, love, love Digger, and I was very excited about it.

And then this tastefully dressed gentlemen sitting on the couch not far from Ann, who was reviewing what looked like a manuscript or law briefs, very politely said, “Excuse me?”

Ann and I looked up. He said, “I’ve never met a woman my age who was interested in comic books before.”

And this was all we really needed to bring him into our conversation. We talked about comics a little, and writing. It turned out that Ann has recently scored a 3-book deal with Orbit (congrats again, Anne!), and so we talked more about writing. This gentleman was very inclusive in his conversation, and we returned to the comic book topic and the writing topic.

Finally, I asked him if he was a writer. “Yes,” he said. “I’m Hugh Howey.”

Neither of us had heard of him. But you know, he’s that guy, indie publisher Hugh Howey, the indie publisher everyone is talking about. If you haven’t heard of Hugh, you’ve probably heard the buzz about Wool. He’s breakout, and he’s a hot commodity right now.

And he’s a nice guy. Ann and I were both included in his conversation, and his polite entre into it were strong models for social interaction.


Scenario the Second: A Night with Walter Jon Williams

“Come on,” I said to my roommate Michele. “You can come to the bar with me and meet Walter, and I bet he’ll sign your book.”

“I don’t know,” said Michele.

“No,” I said. “It’ll be great.”

Michele and I headed downstairs to Bar 151. Walter met us there, and we had drinks. This was a conversation among equals. We didn’t just lapse into writer talk, and Walter didn’t just hold court. We all three contributed to the conversation. Walter was highly entertaining and a lot of fun to be around. After the masquerade, we were joined by his wife Kathy, and later by fellow Toolboxer Pat Scaramuzza and his SO Beth. Everyone in the conversation was included, listened to, and respected, regardless of whether they were neo-pro, pro, or reader.

Walter made me very proud that I’d been his student. He certainly impressed my friend Michele.


The point? My impression of both of these guys is pretty high now. Howey, because of his incredible politeness as a stranger (you’re doing it right!) Walter, because of his incredible graciousness as a person who has, arguably, more hierarchical power.

These are the models I want to emulate when I schmooze. Honesty, integrity and consideration go a long, long way, even in publishing.


Okay, I promise the Ursula Vernon story. ( Digger also won its Hugo. And I had nothing to do with that even though I sent psychic karma to it for two whole months.)

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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