Apologies here for the late entry. The week following the con was pestilential for the Rock household, with at least one 18 hour bed stay for yours truly. Being merciful, I will spare you the detail.
In my first post-con post I will cover the points of activity. But we are not done here folks. More to come.
Are you a Speculative Fiction writer who’s never been to a convention? I was, until last weekend, and now I’m going to pass what I learned along to you. I attended ConFusion in Troy MI, mainly because my co-conspirator at the Kazoo Books SF Writers group invited me, but also because I knew Jim Hines and Tobias Buckell would be there.
ConFusion at a glance-
There were several points of activity at ConFusion, and I know I didn’t hit all of them, so any regulars or volunteers or attendees can post with the ones I missed.
1. The panels. These are the conference rooms with long tables at the front peopled by interesting pro’s holding forth on the topic and 1 poor sumgun has to moderate them. At ConFusion there were Literary, Science, Art, Costuming and other Fannish panels. The first time attendee will want to get this programming schedule from the internet before attending so they can plan their time out. Often tough choices must be made if two panels you are interested in occur at once. When you get to the con look for the con newsletter by “Ops” as this will have any last minute changes to schedule in it. If you have a hard time deciding do what I did, see who is speaking in which panel and follow your gut. If (like me) you happened to bring along someone who was not interested in catching every drop of literary wisdom that fell from pro lips you may need to prepare yourself for the likelihood that you will need to miss a panel or two. Even the fascinated can only sit through so many hour long panels in a row. Back to back panels are one reason many people forget to eat at a con. As to why they forget to shower, that is beyond me. Especially if they know they will be wearing nothing but a leather vest on their torso all day.
2 The Gameroom. Dedicated tables to some of the more popular games coupled with scheduled introductions to new games, miniature painting lessons and a table full of games that are up for the Origins award. Because of this room and the aforementioned buddy (his name is Mike) I missed some of the panels that I wanted to attend, but I had a ball. They also had a slot-car racetrack.
3. The Con suite. Free food and beverages. This was one of the first places Mike and I hit and where I met Jess V (who immediately lobbied my vote for Con Princess) and Wayne Rambo. During that opening conversation a contortionist came in and showed us how she could balance on her forearms and hang her feet over her head. This is a great place to meet people and to eat food buffet style. Germ phobes will probably give it a miss and this may be another reason people forget to eat at cons.
4. The Bar. This is the single best place for a writer to hang out, especially after the panels schedule is done for the day. Why? Because all of your heroes in attendance will be sitting around in here shooting the breeze. I got to meet just about all of them, and they were very friendly. I had the most fun with Cat Rambo, (the Pro Guest of Honor and Wayne’s main squeeze) Jim C Hines, Merrie Haskell and Dave Klecha and his crew. Dave and Mike were both Marines so they had a lot of rompin’ stompin’ devil dog Ooh Rah to talk about. And I got to ask Cat questions like: “What, as a writer do you think you are especially good at?” and “What is most important as an editor, finding out what the audience wants or having a strong vision?” Jim Hines has a great sense of humor. Wayne is also a fan of Left 4 Dead, the zombie game I’m playing lately on xbox 360. That first Friday night hanging with these folks was worth the price of admission for me.
Next time: The least you need to know about Cons and the writer’s guide to getting the most out of this experience.