AwesomeConEmails went out to all the speakers and panelists at AwesomeCon 2015 yesterday, and four out of seven of my suggestions were accepted. I was expecting two at most, so this is fun.

If you’re planning to go to AwesomeCon this year and want to see me talk, three of the events will be on Friday, and one (mostly of interest to gamers) will be on Sunday. 

Friday, May 29th, at 1 PM: “Writing Dynamic Characters”

My suggested program description:

Characters drive story, so what makes an interesting character? Freelance editor Matthew Bowman explains character growth and how to bring a realistic, organic feel to your fiction, even if it’s not about organic lifeforms.

This is a talk I gave last year, to a packed house and a standing ovation — which was very kind, considering I was two minutes late to my own talk (I got held up by security, who wanted me to go to a less wheelchair-friendly entrance even though I’d been using the same entrance the previous two days and all of the previous year as well) and had to spend a moment getting set up. Apparently, it was enough of a hit that they want me doing it again. All of my talks are a bit different each time I give them, and if this one is shorter than what I normally have for a more academic environment, it’s also peppered with more geek references.

Friday, May 29th, at 2:45 PM: “Building Other Worlds”

My suggested program description:

Figuring out how to bring entire worlds to life is hard. Where do you start? How much history do you need? What haven’t you thought of already? Come for an overview of what you need to flesh out a world that never existed.

The Novel Ninja audience should recognize that title as belonging to my worldbuilding series. This is a distillation of those topics, and a lot more I haven’t gotten to yet, as I give an overview of how to go about creating fleshed-out fictional worlds for both science fiction and fantasy. It’s not a comprehensive step-by-step, which would be impossible in just fifty minutes, so I’m only looking at giving people a place to start by talking about what questions to start with, where to get some convenient information, and some of the pitfalls I’ve noticed over the years.

Friday, May 29th, at 7 PM: “Ask the Editor”

My suggested program description:

Ever wanted to get an editor to answer a question for you? Now’s your chance! For your convenience and entertainment, we’ve kidnapped an SF&F fiction editor and put him in a room with you for a whole hour, or until the cops show up. Ask him anything!

Last year, after giving the “Writing Dynamic Characters” talk, I had a flurry of questions tossed at me, and I had to say I’d be happy to take questions in the hall but we needed to clear the room for the next event. I was out there for an hour and a half just answering writing and editing questions. After the same thing happened to me at DragonCon (though not as many people and not for as long), I realized that most people don’t have a chance for a face-to-face with an editor to ask general or even specific questions, and so I pitched this presentation and AwesomeCon accepted. I’ve been looking forward to this one a lot, precisely because I want to give people that opportunity. In fact, it’s the event I’m looking forward to the most, except for . . .

Sunday, May 31st, at 1:30 PM: “Evil GMing 101”

My suggested program description:

Want to take your gamemastering up a notch? Want to know how to get your players on the edge of their seats? Come learn techniques suitable for all systems and settings. It’s storytelling with dice. What’s not to love?

This is one I’ve never gotten a chance to do, ever before; and the events organizer said it was one of the first she picked, so I guess it sounds good to other people as well! I want to share a few tips about how to engage the players, bring out a sense of danger, heighten tension, and keep them coming back for more. It’s really only going to be interesting for the gamers, but if you want to know how to be a game master or are even just interested in what this “gaming” thing is all about, then I think you might like this too.

Now, the full schedule has not been released. In fact, these four events are the only specific times I’ve received. They may conflict with other cool events. In fact, considering the guest list, they probably will. I’ll either update this post or link to a new one when I have that information.

If you want to know which three presentations were not chosen, they were: “Writing the Hero’s Journey” (going over common misconceptions about using the hero’s journey format in fiction, and how to make it work without seeming like a clone of Star Wars), “Structure: A Presentation in Three Acts” (going over three-act structure, how to use it, why you should use it, how it’s been used in other cultures, and so on), and “Hooking the Audience” (which would have been the first time I’d ever shared my system in a public setting, excepting the classroom).

AwesomeCon is May 29th-31st at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, and — unlike most conventions! — very conveniently-placed for subway access. In fact, the convention center has an entrance right next to the Mount Vernon Square / Convention Center Metro Station, though I don’t know if that will be an active entrance yet. I hope so, as otherwise I have to go down a significant slope in a wheelchair.

The current guest list includes:

  • Doctor Who: The Pond Family (Amy, Rory, and River) get back together on Friday only. Arthur Darvill and Alex Kingston will be around on Saturday, but Karen Gillan is only there for Friday.
  • The Lord of the Rings: John Rhys-Davies and Sean Astin. I have a pressing need to hear Rhys-Davies talk in person. He’s one of those “phonebook” actors. I’ve got to hear it live. In fact, I’m tempted to hand him a phonebook and ask him to read.
  • Once Upon a Time: Kristin Bauer (Maleficent), Merrin Dungey (Ursula), and Victoria Smurfit (Cruella de Vil).
  • Star Trek: George Takei and William Shatner. No word on whether they’d be appearing in person together. If they do, I assume they’ll be reminiscing about Star Trek alums who have gone to the Undiscovered Country.

Each of these actors have done other things, but that’s what they’re known for and how they’re listed on the website. There are also actors from Power Rangers, the original four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles voice talents, an astonishing number of comic book writers and artists (both indie and Marvel/DC), famous cosplayers — the list goes on.

I haven’t even seen the schedule yet, and I have no clue how I’m going to fit things in. This doesn’t even include authors and editors I hope to run into, or the fantastic dealer’s hall (seriously, I found it more interesting than DragonCon’s; though that might be influenced by how DragonCon’s dealer hall isn’t quite on a first-name basis with handicap accessibility).