Worldcon–September 2, 2012–Teaching SF Focus On Educators

I’ve been involved with the AboutSF program for about two years now, the description for which is in the notes for the panel above. This panel was an interesting and far ranging one about methods, processes and theories of education in the fantasy and science fiction fields, and David-Glenn Anderson (also the coordinator), Tim Griffin, Violette Malan, Chris Mirell and I covered a lot of ground with a lot of thoughtful questions to answer (and it was nice to have longer than an hour to talk about this stuff, for a change!).

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.

Gen Con–August 16, 2012–Writers’ Symposium–Painting with Words

Another great panel from Gen Con, this one on how to write lyrical and not purple prose, with fellow panelists Pat Rothfuss, Richard Lee Byers, and Brad Beaulieu. This was an interesting panel with some really good discussion, and it was one of the ones which I thought about most after the convention was over.

Gen Con–August 16, 2012–Writers’ Symposium–Characters with Character

One of a number of panels I participated in at Gen Con 2012, this one on creating and developing characters in speculative fiction, with fellow authors Elizabeth Vaughan, Dylan Birtolo, and Erin Evans. This was well-attended and a lot of fun, and set the stage for a lot of great panels to follow.

Readercon–July 14, 2012–Teaching and Doing

My second panel at Readercon 2012 (and the second one I was lucky enough to have proposed and have accepted), this was a really interesting panel on those who both write and teach, with Veronica Schanoes, Jack Haringa, Michael Cisco, John Kessel, and me. We had a great turnout, and the conversation about the connection between academic and creative worlds in speculative fiction (a topic about which I’ve been interested in a while) was lively and thought-provoking…I left with a lot of new ideas about the subject, and some possible new ways to approach both writing and teaching going forward.

Readercon–July 13, 2012–Podcasting for the Speculative Fiction Author

My first of two panels at Readercon 2012, this one on podcasting (and which I proposed based on the article I wrote for the SFWA Bulletin on the same subject) was a lot of fun. C.S.E. Cooney, Mike Allen, Alexander Jablokov, the inimitable Jim Freund and I got a chance to talk about some of the nuts, bolts and benefits of podcasting in the speculative fiction field. A fun panel with a fun audience.

Origins, June 1, 2012–The Art of the Short Story

This was one of my favorite panels from my first time at Origins, focusing on the short story–which, since my first real one is due out in two months, is very much on my mind of late. Daniel Myers, Jean Rabe and I took a look at the construction and commercial value of the short story, and we got some interesting discussion among panelists and audience members (how does one get that final punchline to have punch?) in the bargain.

Ad Astra, April 14, 2012–Villains 101

Kind of a follow-up to last year’s panel on heroes (and with most of the same participants), this panel focused on the construction of a compelling villain, including examples of the characters we love to hate in speculative fiction–like Satan, Grendel, and Darth Vader, to name just a few. David Clink, Ed Greenwood, Gabrielle Harbowy, Rob St. Martin and I tackled the subject for nearly an hour, with some interesting contributions from the audience as well. Not recorded: the “villain” who demanded we start the panel or risk him destroying the world. I think he was kidding.