Monday, July 30, 2012

ArmadilloCon After Report

So now, it's all over.  I'm still not recovered yet, so some of this may be incoherent.

  • Friday we first had the Writers' Workshop, which went very well.  From the response I saw amongst the students, it was a good experience for them.  My group of students, in fact, handled the critique session with a lot of grace and professionalism.  I was teaching with Jeremy Lassen from Night Shade Books, who was a great teacher, and Robert Jackson Bennett, who impressed me a lot with his insight.  
  • Robert had some of the best comments in the large panel section of the workshop, where he compared writing (especially writing a novel) to building a house in the dark from the inside-out.  And the purpose of good critique is to essentially have someone look at one you've done and say, "Hey, man, you put a toilet in the kitchen"-- because you didn't even realize that was a toilet.  It's an odd metaphor, but I think it's apt.
  • I have to say-- one thing I always said when I was in theatre-- half the secret to success is getting the right people, on stage and behind the scenes.  So much of our success is because Stina Leicht did exactly that. She assembled a ridiculously good group of teachers, and brought in volunteers Beth Bugbee and Mandy Lancaster to keep everything running smoother than we could hope for. 
  • Katy Stauber organized our critique group, the Bat City Novelocracy, to have dinner at The County Line with Jeremy Lassen.  Meat and beer and great conversation with new and old friends. 
  • Saturday I returned with my son in tow.  I had two panels and a reading.  The first panel was on SF/F Mysteries, which was a lot of fun and very insightful for me.  Martha Wells, especially, always gives good panel-- I've thought so ever since I started going to ArmadilloCon- so it was a pleasure and honor to share the table with her for that one.  Even if the moderator did bust on us for whispering about Babylon 5.  Then I had "SF and Fantasy and Live Theatre".  That was fun, because any panel with Mark Finn is going to be.
  • I had my reading after Stina had hers (and her book in progress is going to be fabulous if the section she read from is any indication), which was a tough act to follow.  I did my best, reading the opening of Maradaine Constabulary, and on the whole I was pleased with the results.  The crowd reacted well, several people came up to me afterwards telling me they would buy it when it came out.  
  • Then the Bat City Novelocracy gathered in the bar for a late-night critique session of Abby's latest work-in-progress.  That went well into the wee hours of Leigh and Vidya and I throwing brainstorming ideas at Abby before we all crashed.  
  • You know how I mentioned how I had my son in tow?  Yeah.  Let me tell you, he won ArmadilloCon.  Hands down.  He was astounding. He had his art portfolio, which everyone praised.  John Picacio even took time out of his schedule to give him a fair amount of critique and advice.  And he was going to up to everyone and chatting them up.  He did fantastic.  I was amazed and impressed.
  • Sunday was a bit of a haze of weary.  I had two more panels: Importance of Workshops and FutureSex.  FutureSex was especially strange and odd, especially since Mark Finn was present for that one as well.  I'm pretty sure we fell completely away from FutureSex in terms of SF/F literature, and went entirely into the actual future ramifications of robot/holodeck sex and the sexual political ramifications of aliens coming to Earth.
I'm sure there's plenty I missed here.  Like I said, still recovering. 

There's no ArmadilloCon next year, as WorldCon 2013 is in San Antonio.  Looking forward to that.

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