Monday, August 1, 2016

ArmadilloCon Post-Mortem

I'm a little late here on Monday because, well, this weekend was ArmadilloCon, which-- excellent.  But that does put me in 'recovery' mode right now.  Not only recovering in terms of physical and mental energy, but also the household- and work-type things that get neglected because I spent the whole weekend at the con.  
So, we kicked off with the Writers' Workshop, which went very well.  All our teachers did a great job, and they deserve plenty of praise: Stina Leicht, Joe Monti, Joe McKinney, K.G. Jewel, Eugene Fischer, Amanda Downum, Patrice Sarath, Urania Fung, Mark Finn and Tex Thompson.  Everyone did great work contributing to our discussion panels and in their individual critique groups.  Wesley Chu joined us for our final Q&A with the students, and many of the students seemed to leave feeling engaged and energized.  Which is good, because sometimes the tone can veer into "You want to be a writer?  Why, dear lord, why?" 
Friday night I only had the one panel, on Harry Potter, which was well attended and went swimmingly.  We were largely supposed to be talking about the new book, but since none of us knew anything but the basics, (It's a stage play, with Harry & friends as adults and their children at Hogwarts), there was only so much we could say about that.  But we easily talked about all things Potter and a lovely time was had by all.
Saturday was packed with panels, which is how Saturday should be at any con.  I got to talk about A Murder of Mages in the Law Enforcement in SFF panel (where I was glad to get insight from actual Law Enforcement practitioners like Myke Cole and Joe McKinney).  I got to argue the differences between different kinds of sequels with Rick Klaw and others in the Attack of the Sequels panel.  
The "big panel" was the Writing What You Don't Know with Stina Leicht, Wesley Chu, Tex Thompson, Nicky Drayden and Kirk Lynn.  It was, essentially, the diversity panel with a better title ("Writing the Other", to me, sounds too intentionally divisive.)  It went very well, because everyone on that panel is very smart.  I lean in the direction that as a writer, it's better to try to walk through the minefield of "doing something wrong" and learning from it, rather than not trying.  But it's also important to keep your ears open, so when someone is shouting, "Hey, that's a mine you're about to step on!" you not only avoid it, but learn to recognize them.  
In the evening I had a fun panel on Time Travel with Kevin Jewell and Rebecca Schwarz, which was surprisingly heavily attended.  Like, room packed to the gills.  Then we had a late night panel that was a Horror Movie game show, hosted by the delightful Professor Griffin, where I was joined by fellow contestants Amanda Downum, Tex Thompson and Dawn Humphrey (of Women in Caskets), and we all learned that there are depths of horror movie obscuria we were not aware of.  
And I should add that I not only got to attend the Women In Caskets live podcast recording, but Dawn and Jen Brown of said podcast were an absolute delight for the whole con.  I've known them both for years, back in my theatre days when they were running a company called The Vestige Group, so it was great to have them around.
Everyone was a delight, and as per usual, there was never enough time to talk to everyone for as long as one wants to.  I could have spent another three days and still not had enough.  (Though it probably would have involved even more time comparing scotches with Amanda and her husband.)
But now: there is work to do.  Books won't write themselves, and if they did, I'd be out of a job.  

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