I promised a final post for DragonCon 2016, and here be a random and curious collection of thoughts as they occurred to me over the last couple of days of the con.
Writey stuff: I went to 2 panels on Sunday.
- Synopsis Writing Dos & Don’ts. This one fell under the “learning never stops” heading. Someday I will submit queries and treatments, and refreshing my knowledge of the trade tricks will come in handy. Plus several editors were on the panel, and with so many small presses popping up every day, I need to get a feel for which might be a good fit. Listening to the editors talk leaves a much stronger impression than reading website copy.
- Writing with Scientists. Fun and informative. Bottom line, there’s no excuse for getting the science wrong without a good reason. (Good reasons: accepted storytelling tropes & narrative shortcuts like instant sedation, choice of speculative premises. Bad reason: lack of research, lazy use of unexamined tropes w/ real-world consequences like DNA infallibility and “zoom & expand” ) If you’re a writer and you want your science to be accurate, there are resources available. Local library research librarians, docents at museums & parks. Need in-depth primary field knowledge or an expert to riff ideas with you? Check out the The Science & Entertainment Exchange or similar sites find a willing expert. Oh, and it’s recommended you do your homework first — no one has time to explain the fundamentals. The discussion touched on the role of creators as translators between the general public and specialist communities, and also on the way fiction inspires and shapes future scientists too.
- The con officially runs from Friday through Monday, taking advantage of the Labor Day weekend, but I noticed this year a lot of un-official gathering started by Thursday midday, and Monday was remarkably mellow compared to Saturday. (Mellow is a relative term when discussing an event that crams 72,000+ people into a smallish chunk of ceography. Funny how sparse throngs of several thousand people can feel after navigating a tens-of-thousands crush.) Monday programming is lighter than the other days. A lot of people seemed to head out late Sunday or early Monday. On Sunday morning at 9 AM, the hotel lobbies were quiet as churches. Monday morning? Even more peaceful.
- If you go to this con, and you want to visit the vendor area without rubbing back-to-front with all of humanity, I recommend 11 AM Saturday while the parade is in full swing. Or Monday afternoon, although most vendors will be out of stock on this or that by then. I went Friday an hour after they opened and stumbled across a back route that was later closed. The comic/pop media artists floor was open enough that I could visit artists and get original art this year! EXCITEMENT! Here be more pics of it.
- The logistics of getting to and from any one place to any other at DragonCon is totally day/time dependent. Getting from one hotel to another by skyway? Swift and simple on Thursday & Monday. Packed full and moving at less than 1/2 MPH on FriSatSun. Not that the streets were any less crowded, but at least there’s more room to dodge & weave. IT’s still a physical impossibility to get from a panel at the Westin to one at the Hilton in succession. from Friday afternoon through Saturday night. Elevators in the same time frame–and again Sunday late afternoon? Add 30-60 minutes each way. Or cruise up the stairs. Yes, rooms on lower floors have an advantage there. We were on 12. I still took the stairs twice up, and down. Worth it.
- I met an astonishingly talented bunch of new people this year. Musicians, artists, authors, people who are creatives in all three fields and more. A few names: Beth Waggoner-Patterson, Mel White, Jonathan Brazee, plus Elaine, Mark and David whose-surnames-I’ve-forgotten, oh, I am a bad person…anyway. I also got to reconnect with Teresa Patterson and Shannon Eichorn, Danielle, Jim, Ken, Kevin Dockery–and all the Palmetto Knights who once again did a fantastic job with the blade room and dazzling the con. (Check out the Knights in action here. They are amazing.)
Plug: The Dragon Awards were announced on Sunday. View the winners here. The guidelines for next year’s award nominations will go up on the DragonCon website in October. Mark the date. The voting is free and completely fan driven, which means a wide and potentially-diverse voting base, not to mention audience reach, and stories by indie authors are eligible. That’s kinda huge. Lots of categories, too.
Okay, that’s enough blathering. Some final stray pictures, and we’re done with the Dragoncon convention news dispatches.
All done except for the book shilling, that is.
I sold something every day last week. Nothing this week so far. Maybe the book godlings wanted me to feel happy about the con? Who knows? Sales mean readers, and finding new readers make me a happy author.
ANYway. I make great books people can buy & read. Here they be.