Readercon, July 13, 2013–Architects and Gardeners

An interesting panel at Readercon on, essentially, the age-old (and probably overly simplistic) distinction between “plotters” and “pantsers,” those who plan everything ahead of time and those who just, well, write and find the work as they go. Dale Bailey, Peter Dube, Stacy Hill, Cecilia Tan and James Patrick Kelly (our talented moderator for this panel) had a fun discussion, with more metaphors crammed into an hour than is strictly socially appropriate. One big caveat–I almost didn’t post this because of how bad the audio is, a function of a big room and an echoey sound system, so be warned that this is often difficult to hear.

Reading at Origins–June 15, 2013

This was a reading I did at Origins along with Pat Rothfuss, Brad Beaulieu and Addie King, and is one of the favorite ones I’ve done–I did my best to do properly represent one of the more personal stories I’ve written in “The Caretaker of Mire,” and I was pretty happy with the results. The whole group of readings was great, but my story starts around the 18:15 mark if you’re just interested in that.

Origins, June 16, 2013–Writing Your First Novel

Another fun panel from Origins 2013, again grouping me with Pat Rothfuss (two panels and a reading this con) and Jennifer Brozek, whom I’ve known for quite a while. This was a nuts and bolts panel about strategies for getting a novel completed; lots of great questions and discussion here, though I have to say it was amusing to have Pat, who took something like fifteen years to write his first novel and went on to become a #1 New York Times bestseller, on a panel with us, whose paths to publication were quite different. I think the audience was relieved to learn that the route to publication didn’t necessarily demand a fifteen year lead time!

Origins, June 14, 2013–Sexism In Writing

One of a number of great panels I got to be part of at Origins, which has clearly become a convention staple for me now. Here I joined Addie King, Kelly Swails and the inimitable Pat Rothfuss to talk about handling sexism in writing speculative fiction–how does one keep from reifying sexist tropes and (subtly or otherwise) re-engaging with sexist themes while still representing a potentially sexist society realistically? The answers are many, and this only began to look at a few possibilities–but everyone was in agreement that respectful, thoughtful and mindful writing was critical, as was proper research and careful listening. We were a bit less in agreement about how much something like Buffy The Vampire Slayer actually represents those things, but at least we were able to avoid a full out pie fight!

Reading at Ad Astra–April 6, 2013

This is a reading I did at Ad Astra, and was a lot of fun for two reasons: it was my first time reading my new short story “Sanction,” soon to be seen in print in the Time Traveled Tales anthology, and the audience was tremendous (twenty people crammed into a small hotel room at dinner time, many of whom were folks who had come to see me at a ton of panels during the weekend). I got a couple of interesting questions at the end of this, to boot.

Norwescon, March 30, 2013–Authors With Volume

This was an interesting nuts and bolts type panel on podcasting, with good perspectives from fellow panelists Angel Leigh McCoy and Tina Connolly and good questions from the audience. I really liked the Norwescon attendees, who were engaged and enthusiastic the whole weekend, and this convention is definitely on my list to attend in the future if my schedule allows.

World Fantasy Convention, November 4, 2012–Reality Made Fantastic, Or Fantasy Made Real

My one panel at World Fantasy Convention 2012 (the Toronto edition) was one of my favorite ones of the year–mostly because of the audience, which was large (the room was packed with well over a hundred people) and highly engaged, and the other participants, who brought a real diversity of perspectives to the question of how fantasy can become more “realistic” and vice versa. Ably moderated by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. and including agent Sally Harding and authors Isobelle Carmody, Karl Schroeder and me, this panel covered topics like genre definitions, magical realism, consistent magic systems and worldbuilding among other subjects…which was a good deal to discuss in an hour. I really enjoyed this panel, which capped off a great WFC for me.

Gen Con–August 19, 2012–Writers’ Symposium–Writing When Inspiration Fails You

My last panel at Gen Con 2012 was also one of my favorites, involving two of my favorite people. Kelly Swails, Brad Beaulieu and I worked through a number of topics related to the subject of the unglamorous grind of writing, and since this subject has been on my mind a bit over the past few months this was a great way to wrap up Gen Con for the year.

Gen Con–August 17, 2012–Writers’ Symposium–Inside The Writer’s Studio

Again from Gen Con, this was one of the panels that I had been most interested in even before the convention. I joined Jerry Gordon, John Helfers, Kerrie Hughes and Steven Saus in talking about what drew me to language, writing, and communication in all its forms, and despite the ungodly hour (8 a.m. for a convention panel is…rough) really enjoyed both the conversation and feedback from the audience.