I spent last weekend in Columbia SC attending RoundCon, a longtime gaming con that only this year decided to expand by adding a Creative track featuring authors. Faith Hunter, Kalayna Price and I had a wonderful time, even though a few of our panels had two or fewer attendees, but that didn’t stop us. We panelled anyway! I learned a few interesting things while at RoundCon, and I figured today was the right day to share these bits of wisdom with you, our faithful readers.
1. Apparently it’s necessary that one eat sushi for at least one dinner during a con. Or maybe that’s just Faith and me.
2. It is surprisingly easy to tailor a writing panel to suit gamers who are creating their own worlds. Many of the same rules we follow for effective fiction writing apply to good game storytelling, and the hardest part is really convincing the gamers that we had something useful to share with them.
3. Faith advised writers that when writing a post-apocalyptic tale, the most important thing to start with is what kind of apocalypse you’re dealing with. There are a ton of different kinds of apocalypses – sickness, religious, geological, environmental, astronomical and so on, but somehow the conversation always seems to come back around to the Zombiepocalypse. ‘Cause it’s just the coolest – less depressing than the Rapture and way ookier than a pandemic of Hantebolujodengue. What other apocalypse can be overcome with a Humvee and a store full of shotguns and ammunition?
4. Genre blending seems to be the fault of fantasy writers, much to the chagrin of literary writers everywhere. Yeah, they’ll have to get over it.
5. The late evening panel on sex becomes a giggle-fest when the writers have a swallow or two of amaretto during the break beforehand. Really, I’m blaming the liqueur. ‘Cause I certainly don’t want you thinking that we get so silly on our own. We are writers. We are serious and dignified. Like the literary folks in #3. Hey wait, why are you snickering?
6. Thou shalt not disrespect the early acting work of Mark Harmon. And it’s possible you should avoid comparing and contrasting him to Richard Dean Anderson as well. If you ignore my advice and talk trash about Mark Harmon, the lights in the room will instantly dim to nearly darkness.
7. Standing out in the hallway and yelling a pretend conversation with yourself to let people know the panel is beginning may not fill the room, but it will definitely make the con staff laugh.
8. The great thing about cons is all the nifty ideas you end up bringing home with you. The terrible thing about cons is all the nifty ideas you end up bringing home with you. You figure out why.
Weekend after next, Faith, David, Stuart, Edmund and I will be attending StellarCon in High Point NC. And if you think we had fun last weekend, it should be even crazier with the addition of the guys! Hope we see you there!