I have works of humor and military science fiction as my most recent published selections. Last year was no different. So, straight out the gate last year I got put on a panel about creating magic systems… with the guest of honor Brandon Sanderson. The room was absolutely packed and they were NOT there to see me. It went really well and the GOH was very gracious in sharing the panel.
This year – I got 3 panels that were actually dead on accurate. I didn’t know about one of them until the Thursday before the convention, but it was right in my wheelhouse so it wasn’t a big worry to me.
My panels were: Fiction Writing for Gamemasters (and vice-versa), Getting Into Short Fiction, and Writing Interesting and Effective Short Stories. I was in business – these were things I could definitely talk about!
I was the moderator for the gamemasters panel and I think it went well. I did my best to learn something of each panelist before we started, but that didn’t really work out. One of the original panel got re-scheduled, one didn’t show, one was a con staff member that suggested the panel and one gave this as his sum total bio information “…is a writer.” I try to use the information I find on panelists to mold and direct questions more toward their strong suits. Much like any role playing game I’ve ever run, I had to wing it. It seemed to work. Perhaps all that gamemaster stuff worked out for me in the long run.
I was a panelist on the getting into short fiction panel. I think there was really solid stuff there and I hope the folks that came to the panel enjoyed it. I’ll be honest – I don’t recall as much of that panel as I’d like. I had back to back panels and I recall my last one more than the first one.
The “last one” was interesting and effective short stories. I think there was a lot of good stuff in that panel. I wanted to take notes from time to time. Part of what made it so interesting was the fact that a couple of the panelists had very different views on making short stories work. I had a handful of things I think were good points and really took pleasure in response to one particular question. When asked about a short story that really moved or changed me I told everyone about a book I really enjoyed. It has been out of print since the 80s, so there were a quite a few folks that hadn’t heard of it. The general murmurs and reactions really made me smile. I like to be able to share the things I enjoy and point others toward something they might like too.
All worthy panels and really good panelists. These were probably some of the best I’ve been on yet.
And in case you’re wondering – I won’t give you the details of the story I liked so much, but it’s in this book (if you can track it down):