So, I've returned from FenCon, up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and it was quite an excellent time. This is my first non-homebase con that I've attended since selling The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages. However, many of the people at FenCon are also ArmadilloCon regulars, so I wasn't in unfamiliar territory. It made it a very good environment to get my travelling-to-a-con sea legs, just the right mix of comfortable and new, and plenty of people to talk up Thorn and Murder to. Though I've learned I do need to polish my pitch to "what's the book about" a bit. Someone suggested I start saying "Magical fantasy adventure meets 'The Wire'.", and that's not half-bad.
I drove up first thing Saturday morning, giving me just enough time to get checked in and get the lay of the land before my first panel on "Getting the Geos Right", using geology and geography in one's sci-fi and fantasy writing and worldbuilding. The panel was interesting, but since my main focus was how geography affects your worldbuilding, and other people on the panel were actual geologists, I mostly yielded to their expertise.
After a bit more settling in and hanging out, my next panel was on "Technobabble and Handwavium", where things like Star Trek and unobtanium and reversing the polarity of the neutron flow were all discussed. The main point I came away with was that you can get away with those things to some degree, but only if the characters and the stakes hold true.
The evening then moved to the Room Parties and BarCon portion of the evening, which is always fun. Down in the bar, a large group ended up putting several tables together, and it became one of those moments where several conversations are going on at once, and you wish you could listen to and participate in all of them, but that's just impossible.
The next morning I had a reading from Thorn of Dentonhill, which was decently attended for a 10:30 in the morning panel on a Sunday. I read the first chapter, talked a bit about craft and process with the people in the audience, and was pretty pleased with the experience.
The final panel for me was on "When Will It End?", about series that go on too long, and why they hold on when they seem to have worn out their welcome, and strategies for writing them in general. That panel included Guest Of Honor Eric Flint, so naturally he was the primary focus of that panel, talking about how his book 1632 started as a stand-alone novel but became a series, including anthologies of short stories with several different authors.
All in all, an excellent time, and I'm ready for the next con. Which, for those of you keeping score at home, with be OryCon in Portland, Oregon, November 7th-9th.
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