Wow, that was fun. I enj0yed the weekend thoroughly. From the writers workshop on Friday to the YA panel on Sunday afternoon, I was busy. Being surrounded by creative, enjoyable, smart people made for a great con. But that’s the con scene anyway. Smart, funny, creative people who love science fiction and fantasy — it doesn’t get much better than that.

The workshop:

I co-taught with Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampire Series and the Weather Warden series and a bunch of other books. Best quote: “I want to marry this story.”

And yes, the story was that good.

The workshop is a great experience for aspiring writers because it allows them to get feedback from professional writers and editors, AND they learn how to give feedback to their fellow students. Hearing a professional’s opinion is extremely valuable, but participating fully in the critique process, which means giving and taking critique, teaches you how to look at your own work in a different light.

Do. The. Workshop. Whenever you can, do a workshop.

The panels:

Hands down the best panel was the Research panel. The panelists discussed sources, cautioned against Wikipedia, and had excellent ideas for finding the telling details that bring their work to life. Period newspapers don’t just have news stories, they tell you what people wore, what they bought, how they thought.  University libraries, government archives, and friendly professors are all great sources. I think I brought away the most from that panel.

From left, Jess Nevins, Martha Wells, Joe McKinney, Cary Osborne, Melissa Tyler, Robert Bennett

From left, Jess Nevins, Martha Wells, Joe McKinney, Cary Osborne, Melissa Tyler, Robert Bennett

The panel I enjoyed the most was on Writing Styles. Nancy Kress, Stephen Brust, Joe McKinney, and Paul Benjamin had a lively discussion on style, voice, and tone. Kress and Brust are excellent panelists and carried the panel with panache and some amiable bickering. It was fun, and the audience asked intelligent questions and made intelligent comments, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Okay, that’s it for now. More in a few days, as I manage to dig out from under. Cons are great, but right now I feel like I’m two weeks behind.


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