I will be my local con, the DC-Area Capclave, this weekend. My schedule is below. I love meeting writers and readers, so come on down!
|Friday 4:00 pm: Mindfulness and Habit Training/Tracking for Writers (Ends at: 4:55 pm) Jackson
Panelist:Meriah Lysistrata Crawford (M), Kelly Dwyer, Craig L. Gidney, Cerece Rennie Murphy, Irette Y. Patterson
What works, what doesn’t, resources, how mindfulness helps the writing process
|Friday 6:00 pm: Reimagining the Fairy Tale (Ends at: 6:55 pm) Jackson
Panelist:Sarah Avery, Craig L. Gidney (M), Michelle D. Sonnier
Who doesn’t love a fairy tale retelling? Part of the universal appeal of fairy tales is that they were never a static form, at least not as an oral tradition. Re-tellers have used these archetypes and modes to spin new variations ever since these stories first came to the page. Angela Carter once said that “Ours is a highly individualized culture, with a great faith in the work of art as a unique one-off…. But fairy tales are not like that, and nor are their makers.” We can find fresh insight into our own lives and connections through these age old tales. This panel will focus on a variety of approaches in reconstructing fairy tales with a modern bent, both in their favorite respins and in their own work.
|Friday 7:00 pm: Taxonomy of Fantasy (Ends at: 7:55 pm) Truman
Panelist:Craig L. Gidney, J. L. Gribble, Lawrence Watt-Evans
Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy, etc. How many types of fantasy are there? Readers’ tastes evolve over time. Which types of fantasy are currently the most popular, which are becoming less popular, where is fantasy headed and why?
|Friday 9:00 pm: If I Ran the Studio (Ends at: 9:55 pm) Washington Theater
Panelist:Sarah Avery, Craig L. Gidney, Will McIntosh, Sherin Nicole (M)
What books and stories would you adapt to film? Live action or animated? Why do film studios insist on optioning novels when short form fiction is really the ideal length for being adapted to film? Which series or stand alone book that hasn’t been adapted for the big screen or television would you like to see made?
|Saturday 10:00 am: I Hate Myself For Loving You (Ends at: 10:55 am) Monroe
Panelist:Alyssa Wong, Jonathan Edelstein, Jim Freund (M), Craig L. Gidney
Guilty pleasures and secret fandoms
|Saturday 4:00 pm: Stalker vs. Love Interest (Ends at: 4:55 pm) Jackson
Panelist:Alyssa Wong, Jeanne Adams, Craig L. Gidney, Sherin Nicole, A.C. Wise (M)
Given changing cultural norms is the handsome prince engaged in romantic pursuit or is he a creeper?
|Saturday 5:00 pm: Political Dynamite (Ends at: 5:55 pm) Monroe
Panelist:Craig L. Gidney, Larry Hodges, Mark Laporta, Joan Wendland
Writers and editors talk about how they address current events in their work and in social media–and what they don’t.
|Saturday 7:30 pm: Mass autographing (Ends at: 8:55 pm) Eisenhower
Panelist:Nancy Kress, Alyssa Wong, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeanne Adams, Catherine Asaro, T. Eric Bakutis, Stafford Battle, Jonathan Brazee, Jack Campbell – John G. Hemry, Neil Clarke, Doc Coleman, Wendy S. Delmater, Tom Doyle, Kelly Dwyer, Deidre Dykes, Andrew Fox, Jim Freund, Charles E. Gannon, Craig L. Gidney, Carolyn Ives Gilman, J. L. Gribble, Bjorn Hasseler, Inge Heyer, Larry Hodges, David Keener, Barbara Krasnoff, Mark Laporta, John Edward Lawson, Edward M. Lerner, Will McIntosh, Mike McPhail, Bernie Mojzes, James Morrow, Kathryn Morrow, Lawrence M. Schoen, Darrell Schweitzer, Alex Shvartsman, Jack Skillingstead, Alan Smale, Joe Stech, Michael A. Ventrella, David Walton, Jean Marie Ward, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Joan Wendland, Steven H. Wilson, A.C. Wise, Allen L. Wold
|Sunday 10:00 am: 50 Years of The Last Unicorn (Ends at: 10:55 am) Jackson
Panelist:Mary Fan, Craig L. Gidney (M), Yosef Lindell, Darrell Schweitzer
It’s been 50 years since Ballantine published Peter S. Beagle’s Th Last Unicorn. Panelists will discuss the book, what it meant to them and its enduring popularity.
|Sunday 12:00 pm: Black Panther (Ends at: 12:55 pm) Washington Theater
Panelist:Craig L. Gidney, John Edward Lawson, B. Sharise Moore, Irette Y. Patterson, K. Ceres Wright (M)
The impact of the movie and the comics. The movie was huge. Nnedi Okorafor has just announced she’s writing the new Shuri comic and Ta-Nahesi Coates has written for Black Panther as well. Panelists discuss the cultural significance of Black Panther.
|Sunday 1:00 pm: Stories Lacking in Traditional Plot Structure (Ends at: 1:55 pm) Jackson
Panelist:Wendy S. Delmater, Craig L. Gidney (M), David Stokes
How to approach stories with experimental structure or structures that don’t always follow traditional narrative storytelling such as travel guides, lists, stories via instruction manuals, slice of ice or mood pieces
|Sunday 2:00 pm: Why Do We Like Being Scared (Ends at: 2:55 pm) Truman
Panelist:Craig L. Gidney, Hildy Silverman (M), Michelle D. Sonnier, Kenesha Williams
Fear probably developed as a survival mechanism. We fear things that might hurt us. Yet many read horror, go to slasher films, ride roller coasters, and climb cliffs. Why? What does this say about us and our psyches?
|Sunday 4:00 pm: Resistance is Never Futile (Ends at: 4:55 pm) Monroe
Panelist:Tom Doyle (M), Aaron Emmel, Craig L. Gidney
What science fiction and fantasy can teach us about being advocates and activists in fraught times. What should the allegorical protest literature of our time look like?
I just came from Balticon, where I had a great time both as a panelist and an audience member. It was great to be among a group of people who were enthusiastic about the various genre fandoms. The con did a good job of making a welcome atmosphere for LGBTQ and POC folks, and had a robust harassment policy posted prominently. My panels were evenly spread and not back-to-back, and I had plenty of time to chill out. In fact, my Saturday schedule was basically empty! But I noticed something: I was exhausted by 10pm each day, even during the light schedule days. And by exhausted, I mean fatigued. Bone-deep tiredness, the type where your eyelids feel like they have weights on them. When I got in bed, I immediately fell asleep as if I had done strenuous exercise. It was beyond just the normal con fatigue.
And that’s when it dawned on me—I was experiencing the physical toll of social anxiety. I have a mild form of anxiety, one that I am finally addressing in treatment. I never feel like I belong. I am awkward in crowded social situations (such as room parties!) and find that I need some time alone after being social. I will often go up to a con’s Green Room just to be alone.
I am writing this for a couple reasons. One, to apologize for any aloofness/unapproachability vibe I radiated. Secondly, I want to kind of raise awareness about this issue. Much of the reason I go to cons is for networking. And networking is one of those things you must do as an author. Face-time with editors and authors are as important as submission in this business. And I know that I have missed connecting with other people because of this condition of mine. Finally, I think this is an important signal-boost the issue. I tweeted that “Networking for the Socially Anxious” should be a panel topic.