ConnectiCon Report: Another Weekend of Awesome

I got back from ConnectiCon yesterday, late. Around 1am, actually. It was another whirlwind of a trip, and I’m very glad that I’m not doing any more for a bit, because my brain feels like it’s turning into mush. I have a hard time remembering what I did where. So let me take a moment and try and document some of what went on this time.

For one thing, it was an easier conference because I didn’t have to wear all those hats I had on at ALA. I was here as Bryce Moore, author extraordinaire—though I took some time to do some purely fun things, as well.

ConnectiCon is a very large con. Not as big as some, but the largest fan con I’ve been to so far. There were tons of costumes. More than tons. A plethora of costumes. Zombies, Minecraft, manga, video games, Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Waldo, books, Buffy, Game of Thrones—you name it, I saw it. It was actually quite a bit of fun—you had no idea what you might come across next. Some of the costumes were extremely ornate. I gotta give props to the people who have the skill and attention to make those things.

Some highlights from the trip:

A panel with 70 people in attendance, focused on how to write interesting, unique characters. I was there with Brandon Sanderson, Shana Mlawski (a fellow Tu writer) and Leona Wisoker. Lots of good questions, and some great conversations about how to keep characters vibrant and alive.

One with 100 or so people on the basics of writing fantasy. It was completely full—it likely would have had more, but the con runners stopped letting people in. This was another with Shana and then Margaret Killjoy, a very nice steampunk author and editor. Again, great questions. I ended up moderating this one in addition to participating, and I feel like it was interesting and helpful to the people in attendance. It helped that I have a fair bit of experience talking about the subject, and plenty to say.

One with around 150-200 people—I didn’t have time to count. It was on advanced worldbuilding, and I was there with Brandon and Margaret. This was one I was kind of terrified on. Brandon is a world builder. He makes elaborate worlds and cultures and languages and magic systems. Me? I write mainly contemporary fantasy. I didn’t really know what I’d have to offer and contribute to the conversation, and if you’re looking for a good way to start stressing out, try sitting up in front of 200 people who have come expecting to be enlightened by you, and you’re not sure if you have any light to give. Thankfully, it turned out really well. It helped that I realized VODNIK essentially does the same sort of things Brandon’s approach aims for: present a new culture as completely and accurately as possible. I got to talk about everything from Communism to Jar Jar Binks. Yeah—it was one of those panels. But I ended up having people come up to me afterward to thank me for my contributions, so I think it was mission successful.

Better yet, after those panels, I had the second of my two signings. I was very happy to see a number of people who had been in the audience show up to buy my book and chat with me for a bit longer. Even cooler? The autograph line up on either side of me. You had Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Neil Grayston (Fargo from Eureka), Michael Trucco (Anders from Battlestar Galactica), Tahmoh Penikett (Helo from Battlestar), Brandon . . . and me. And I even had a line in front of my booth for a while. A line for me. That’s a good feeling. 🙂

I got some Magic in while I was there. Tons of gamers at the con. I did a prerelease on Saturday evening and a draft with Brandon and some of his fans on Friday evening. It meant that I didn’t get back to my hotel until 1 or so each evening, but it was worth it.

There was more than that, of course. I also had the chance to meet Joseph Bruchac, a fellow Tu author, and he’s an accomplished storyteller, blackbelt, and all around awesome guy. I had lunch with Brandon and Joshua (my agent). Breakfast with Stacy (my editor), Joe, and Shana. Pacific Rim with Joshua (review to come soon!). Touring the Mark Twain House with Joshua. Dinner with the whole Joshua Bilmes family and Brandon. A free Paul and Storm concert. The fun never stops!

All in all, a fun time was had by all. I hope to be able to go back again. A very well-run con.

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