Friday, August 19, 2011

WorldCon 2011 -- Day 2

Wow, guys. Parties are where it's at!

No, seriously, it has been a day-and-a-half of awesome here at WorldCon, but finishing it off with a Tor books party where I get to brush shoulders with...oh, man, too many people to name, really...was awesome. Really, freaking awesome.

Right, so, the rest of the day.

Went to a bunch of panels. Not as many as I said I would, but that's mostly because I was taking time to talk to people a bit more.

Collaboration in Game Design was a much more enjoyable/entertaining panel than the previous game design panels I attended yesterday, likely because of the panelists. You had Howard Tayler moderating (always a good moderator), Jon Schindehette (brand manager for D&D), Tom Lehmann (freelancer, worked on Pandemic and others), Tanglwyst de Holloway (costumer and art director), and two Daves. One of them was the seventh employee to ever be hired at Wizards of the Coast (and, consequently, was there for the founding of Magic the Gathering) and the other does art for Magic.

So, yeah, a really fun panel. Like I said, Howard is always good on panels. Jon is a cool guy. Tom has a good mix of sense. Tanglwyst was fun if only because she wore a steampunk costume for the panel. And the two Daves had useful insights from completely opposite sides of the production process.

However, game design -- while interesting to me and a potential creative outlet -- is not my primary reason for being here.

So the rest of the day will be filled with wonderful things about writing.

Ran across Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch around lunchtime again, so I sat down with them before we all ran off to our panels. Dean was actually one of the panelists for Making it as  Full-time Writer, my next panel (I skipped the Space Novel one in order to eat some food), so I got to hang out and chat with him for a bit longer after that great panel. (Really diverse mix of writers, all earning money but at different stages of the transition to full-time. Lots of good insights.)

After that was the panel on Novellas. Wow, was it about Novellas. The handful of middle-aged/older gentlemen who were on the panel clearly prefer the novella to any other literary form (or at least that's the impression I got), and had a lot of strong opinions about the weaknesses of current novel-length fiction. Really eye-opening to see a dissenting view from my own. (Also, on the amusing side of things, it seems like everyone on that panel has bought a story from everyone else as an editor of a magazine at some point throughout their careers.)

Creating Gods was the heavy-hitter though. This was the first Brandon Sanderson panel I was able to go to (again, he was supposed to show up for Tourists, but was delayed by travel complications). So I walk in and the room is PACKED. I had to stand in the back. Seriously. And I look up at the table, and I don't even see Brandon.

Then the moderator -- a tall man in a black hat and jacket with an impressive goatee -- begins to speak and I realize who it is. Brandon Sanderson.

Brandon Sanderson has a beard now.

Guys, Brandon Sanderson has a beard now. That was such an awesome moment to come to terms with.

Okay, beard-spect (like re-spect, but for beard admiration) is done with now. Moving on.

So, yeah, Brandon Sanderson moderating a panel about gods and superpowered beings. Sounds good to me. But it got better. About ten minutes into the discussion, Patrick Rothfuss walks in and joins the panelists up on stage. I'm sitting here listening to a panel with Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson! (This was before I learned about the EPIC Comic-Con panel with, well... EVERYBODY!)

As if that wasn't enough, though, I managed to pull this trick off twice!

Pat Rothfuss joined the Writing Excuses crew for the first of the four episodes recorded here at WorldCon. So, yeah, a whole slew of my favorite people were presenting in the same room for about half an hour and it was AWESOME!

Anyways, calming down. For now.

Writing Excuses panel was a lot of fun. Even though I knew I could have waited for the episodes to appear online, it was still really cool to see all the little steps and issues that surround the recording of an episode. Not to mention that the cast is just a bunch of great people and they're really fun to watch and listen to and chat with (and, yes, I did get to chat with a couple of them after the event was over). Best part, though, is that I learned about the Tor party from Brandon and Dan after everything was done.

*slight blurb about the Girl Genius ball goes here; I didn't participate, more spectated, so there's not much to report except that it would have been a lot more fun if I had friends to go with (next year! next year!)*

And that brings us to the Tor party. Around 21:00, I made my way up to the party rooms in the Atlantis hotel (across the street from the convention center) and looked around to see if I could find the room it was in.

I don't think I needed to work even that hard. A giant printout of the Tor symbol was plastered to one of the suite doors, so I just waltzed in there and tried to meet people. (Slightly more complicated process than that, but it's getting late, so yeah.)

Again, met a lot of great people, had a lot of cool conversations. Too much to really mention right now. Highlights, though: Matthew S. Rotundo (because he's a cool guy and let me basically tail him through most of my first hour at the party), talking with Joe Schindehette about art design for D&D and the rise of respected fantasy artwork, watching Brandon Sanderson coach a new writer on pitching her YA novel, and talking with JABerwocky literary agent Eddie Schneider about his work with the agency and foreign rights.

Like I said, SO much to talk about and get excited about. But the party was a brilliant capstone to a fantastic day. Having a chance to connect with some of these people on somewhat more even footing was a true pleasure, and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night already (even if the press of people in those rooms threatens to suffocate you).

Well, that's it for today. Now, for the schedule!

Friday Convention Schedule
10:00 -- New Pro Orientation: Understanding Publishing
11:00 -- Social Media for Writers
13:00 -- Consistent Magic Systems
14:00 -- Book Design and Layout
16:00 -- F* Your Knight and the Horse He Rode in on: Fantasy Series not Based in Medieval European Culture
   (NOTE: This is actually how the panel is spelled out in the guidebook. We here at WorldCon are very family friendly *thumbs up/smile!* )
17:00 -- Post-Modern Fantasy, Epic and Otherwise

Hoo-boy. Some heavy hitters tomorrow. And I thought it was going to be a light day... :)

1 comment:

  1. So, I've read all the way to the end of this post, I'm still hung up on the fact that Tanglwyst is the name of a real person.

    Also: your 1600 tomorrow sounds AWESOME.