Sunday at Trinoc*coN: After a late night, morning came too soon, so I was yawning on my way to the second part of the writing workshop. As it turned out we had about half as many people on each side of the table, so it was good that I showed up. The participants had revised their drafts and come up with much more compelling “hooks” and vivid details. We left them with the exhortation to keep writing and make it a habit. Then I ran off to do my reading.
I love reading my stories aloud. I realize that many writers are not particularly good at reading their own work and I have seen far too many academics drone on in a monotone that quickly puts you to sleep, but I like to think I’m not half bad at presenting my work. Once again I should thank UConn for preparing us well for paper delivery at conferences (especially Carolyn Coulson and Chris Fee who helped us first year medieval students prepare our first conference papers). So I read my zombie western a little speedily (it was rather long and I wanted to make sure it fit into the hour) but it also fit the pace of the story and seemed to garner a few chuckles along the way. I had some good feedback from folks that would fix some weak spots and correct some factual errors with guns (thanks, Mildred). On the whole, it seemed to get a hearty thumbs up.
I next joined Gene for Storytelling Across the Media with Alex Sokoloff, Sandra McDonald, and Alex Wilson. Alex S laid out her game plan for the novel which was much the same as when she wrote screenplays, using the standard formula, kind of like the way pop songs get written (my writing is more like jazz then, and who listens to jazz? sigh). We all shared our experiences in drama, comics and film and came to the conclusion that the story mattered most.
A quick lunch with not terrible service later, I was back for the Collaboration isn’t for Everyone with Dale Bailey and Cap’n George RR. It was the last panel of the con. Everyone was exhausted. I did my best to make George do all the talking and, failing that, make Dale talk. Occasionally I filled in a few words about doing Jane Quiet with Elena and all the nice surprises in that. Then we checked out of the hotel and went off to enjoy the time at Susan’s. Another great Trinoc*coN with lots of fun.
Sunday at 2Pi-Con: The late horror panel was poorly attended, but I had fun chatting with Jennifer Williams and Terry Franklin. I was glad to find Jennifer a big fan of Lost Skeleton. I thought maybe everyone was at the dance, but Terry said he had come from there and had been the only one dancing. Huh. I was up for breakfast, but pleased to find checkout wasn’t until noon. My 10 o’clock panel with Catie Murphy and Sean Kane gave me an excuse to show off my Lapp shaman’s drum. We even had an audience of two. Then I went up to pack up my belongings and move the car into the shade.
Once I was checked out, I headed over to a panel with Catie and Mike Kabongo. I ended up being the only audience for a while, so I had to move up front and offer my opinions, too (of course, I did). I met up with Sara Harvey for our Feminist Writing panel, but no one else came, so we just yakked for a good while. Sara had a lot of entertaining stories about when she worked for Disney, and she’s quite a hoot anyway (not to mention sparkly). We decided things weren’t boding well for our 3pm panel, and sure enough when the time rolled around there was nary an audience to be found. I waited around, scribbling the opening lines from Beowulf on the whiteboard (I’m such a geek). Some of us ended up chatting in the hallway, all saying we had had a good time and were so exhausted, but somehow suddenly unable to break the newly-formed gravity of the group, exchanging business cards and farewells. I finally broke away with the impetus of a joke about puppets (naturally) and jumped in the car for a beautiful drive home through the Berkshires, to be met by a crying Kipper, who’s still shadowing me all around the house wherever I go.
It would have been more fun if my sweetie or some friends were there to share the experience, but what can you do? I met some great, interesting people and the panels were fun if little attended. I’d give it another go. I think I’d pitch different panels, knowing now the things that don’t seem to be of interest to the crowds (well, let’s hope there were crowds somewhere). With luck their attendance will grow too; it’s hard to get a con going the first few years. Good work, Mike et. al.