The juvenilia panel

I have returned home to oceanic amounts of work. It is crazed!

But I must tell you briefly about the Juvenilia panel at High Voltage ConFusion before it all fades from my memory.

Short version: Best. Panel. Ever.

Longer version: It were me, Scott and Merrie Haskell. I cheated and read cute stuff from when I was 7 or 8. And some pretentious 10 year old stuff. They were brave and read teenage monstrosities so bad that we wept on account of laughing so hard. WEPT!

John Scalzi moderated and he was so appalled by the pretentious badness of Scott’s writing that he couldn’t look at Scott directly. It was AWESOME.

The best lines were:

Merrie Haskell: “Keeper of Earth Gaia,” the Light One said arrogantly, “I honor you with my manhood.”

Scott Westerfeld: Recognition of the House of Eleven took no long time, and the lady midst the compliment was none other than wench Mary, a liaress whom I had met before in the rank combats of her style, and who had left more than one of the Clan Demonus with garrote between chin and breathless breast.

Oh no, I starts to laugh all over again . . .

Heh hem. In addition to being really really really funny. Sharing our crappy writing from when we were beginning writers has the salutary effect of making it clear to those what aspire to be published writers but aren’t there yet that we published folk didn’t step fully formed from Zeus’s head. There was lots and lots and lots of bad words and phrases and sentences and stories and novels written before we were good enough to be read by anyone other than our doting parents.

Every con should have a juvenilia panel. I’ve been on two. The other one was in Brisbane in 2006 with Kim Wilkins and Sean Williams. It was just as fabulous and funny as the ConFusion one. Better in a way because the audience was much bigger thus more people got to laugh at our stumbling first writing steps.


  1. hugh57 on #

    I made this remark at the end of the panel, and it still stands: Next year, Scalzi has to read some of HIS juvenilia!!

  2. Rachel Brown on #

    OMG. That is AWESOME. So AWESOME that I must use big letters!

    I wish I could see one of those panels. Unfortunately, I don’t think I kept any of my bad teenage writing, only my adorable 7-year-old opus, “The Adventures of Ratsy.”

  3. holly black on #

    That’s awesome! And I am so ready! Theo unearthed my teenage novel, Knights of the Silver Sun. I know there have to be gems in there.

  4. Brent on #

    Odd. You haven’t posted any of YOUR juvenilia to show us. =)

  5. Justine on #

    Hugh57: Scalzi is a coward!

    Rachel Brown: It really was AWESOME.

    I enjoy the adorable sub-ten stuff, which is why I read mine. But it’s the teenage juvenilia which is truly instructive.

    Holly: You must! We must! We shall get together and organise something. I bet Cassie and Maureen have awesome juvenilia.

    Brent: I did already here.

  6. Rikhei on #

    Honestly, I almost cried when Scott was reading the one with the mad professor guy with the swirls. It hurt.

  7. Camille on #

    There’s… kind of… a certain brilliance to “…who had left more than one of the Clan Demonus with garrote between chin and breathless breast.”

    I mean — “The wench Mary, a liaress”? — I totally want to read the rest now!! *yes I’m ashamed* 🙂 🙂

    Oh man, thanks for making me smile.

  8. cassie on #

    “I bet Cassie and Maureen have awesome juvenilia.”

    I do indeed! I wrote “The Beautiful Cassandra” when I was fourteen and it has highwaymen and bandits and something about “the snowy peaks of ecstasy” in it.

  9. Justine on #

    Rikhei: Yup! It was astonishing. I don’t think I stoped crying the whole way through the panel.

    Camille: It was incredibly funny. Comic genius!

    Cassie: Ah, yes, the lovely Mary Sue. Did she have fun on those snowy peaks? Tee hee. We really have to do a panel all of us together. It would ROCK!

  10. the liaress on #

    That name rocks. I claim it.

    Mine was about a woman in a dystopian future who was in an arranged marriage. The opening scene rocked. She was BRANDED. But she married an outsider who somehow knew enough to be able to get assigned a wife, but not enough that she only went by her “number” publicly, and actually did have a real name…

    I need to dig that up. I’m all about the juvenilia panel.

  11. Liz on #

    Oh, this would be great at WisCon!

    I’m flashing back to my teenage time traveling spy hero, Antron Lycra, and his wraparound shades. Oh dear.

  12. Mary Elizabeth S. on #

    My writer’s group did our own little juvenilia panel (which was weird, seeing as we’re all still teens and churning out more hilarity than good writing even now). I shared a novel I wrote when I was 9 or 10, about an ORPHAN who was raised by WOLVES and had MAGIC POWERS because of it. OH YEAH! And it was really great because the entire thing consisted of a single 30-page paragraph with very little punctuation.


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