WorkingWell, I’ve been silent. That is, I’ve been silent on this blog. Why? Because I’m trying to devote as much effort to my main job as possible. That is, jobs, but the priority goes to the company that pays me the most for my editorial and research skills. That company has been very generous with letting me balance going to places like AwesomeCon (and three more events this year, possibly five), so I’m trying to not take that for granted.

Sadly, thanks to a flare-up with my fibromyalgia that coincided with AwesomeCon weekend, well, I’m a bit behind. But I’m taking a few moments here to talk about the convention and a few other things before I let too much time pass. 

First of all, if you came to one of my talks at the convention — “Writing Dynamic Characters,” “Building Other Worlds,” “Ask the Editor,” and “Evil GMing 101” — thank you! I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from some (dozens) of you, and I promise I’ll respond to each email individually. If you haven’t heard from me, you’re still on the list.

I wish I’d gotten photos of the crowded rooms, because I still have a little trouble comprehending that so many of you came to hear me talk, especially when I was up against people like George Freakin’ Takei (that is his middle name, right?), or John Rhys Davies, or other fun famous people whom I didn’t manage to meet myself but tried. (I need to hire a wheelchair minion, I think. Or just finally splurge on a tricked-out wheelchair.) Seeing so many of you show up to learn what I have to say just makes me determined to do even better.

And I’d like to thank AwesomeCon (and particularly Becky Mezzanotte, who was in charge of organizing panels) for giving me four events this year. I had been expecting two and hoping for three; and I still had more to say to everyone. I hate to sound greedy, but I’d like even more time next year to handle all the material people were wanting. If any of you still have questions, you’ve got my email.

If any of you want to tell the fine folks at AwesomeCon how much you enjoyed it, trust me, they’d love feedback. They’d also like to know what you’d want to see next year. I want to see about organizing a panel or two, and many people told me that they’d like to hear me do one of my other talks, such as on plot structure, the Hero’s Journey, and even Shakespearean dialog. (The latter wasn’t one I’ve given outside an academic setting, but trust me, if you want to hear me do it, I will be geeking out about Shakespeare and very happy that you all requested it.)

I also heard people say that the literary/writing track didn’t have a lot of options. AwesomeCon is a general convention that leans to comics, but if you want to have more on the lit track then tell them and they’ll try to make it happen. I’ll be happy to do more myself, but as AwesomeCon grows they’ll attract more and more authors to come and speak, and maybe even some of the many university professors in the area who know how to give a quick fifty-minute lecture on their particular topics.

And this year’s panels and presentations were great. I kept running into conflicts (I still didn’t find time for the Artemis bridge simulator! Blast!), and any time I have to try to figure out which event is more interesting I know we’ve got great choices on the menu. That means that next year will be better, and the convention center still has plenty of room for an expanding convention. It’ll be nice to see the entire convention center get filled up — and unlike many others, the halls are actually big enough to handle the load. So let them know what you want to see, and there’s a good chance you’ll see it.

The same, by the way, goes for any other convention you go to. These are normally volunteer events, with management putting in a lot of effort and hours to make something happen and not getting anything out of it other than knowing how they’ve made life better for other people — so let them know! Tell them you enjoyed it! Let them know if there were any problems! Make suggestions! Geek out! Trust me, there’s nothing like the feeling of knowing you just made someone’s day.

So where else might I be found for the next year?

Right now, I’m scheduled for the Catholic Writer’s Conference in July, taking place in Somerset, NJ. I’m also, of course, going to BrickFair the following week, and once again volunteering as theme leader for the Castle/Medieval section. I’m not going to DragonCon this year (trust me, I’m more disappointed than you are), but may be showing up at Capclave (Maryland, just outside DC) and HonorCon (North Carolina), both in October. Next year, I’ve been asked to speak at Balticon, but nothing firm there yet; and I of course plan to be back at AwesomeCon, which remains my favorite.

Someone was also asking me if I’d consider doing non-convention lectures for local public writing clubs and geek groups; if that happens, I’ll probably mention it here on the blog.

I’ve been asked what my standard prepared topics are. Well, I tend to update them for each time I go speak, so “standard” and “prepared” are both somewhat fluid definitions here; but right now it’s:

  • Techniques
    • Writing Dynamic Characters
    • Structure: A Story in Three Acts (three-act structure)
    • Writing the Hero’s Journey
    • Hooking the Audience (crafting your first page)
    • Dost Thou Write Dialog? (learning to write dialog from Shakespeare)
    • Writing Evil
  • Worldbuilding
    • Building Other Worlds
    • Culture and Government
    • How to Write Religion
  • Genre
    • Sudden but Inevitable Betrayals (mystery genre and mystery sub-plots)
    • Wherefore Art Thou Romance? (romance genre and romantic sub-plots)
    • On Being Short (writing short fiction)
  • Other
    • Working with an Editor
    • Evil GMing 101 (roleplaying games)

And I have a lot of experience with extemporaneous speaking and moderating panels. I should probably stick this in a permanent tab, but that’s the list at the moment. I’ll probably think of other stuff at some point. (And “Evil GMing 101,” as suggested by many, might wind up being a cheap ebook at some point.)

Now it’s time for me to get back to work. Next stop: the American Revolution. Don’t ask. Loooooots of research and fact-checking.