Gen Con – The Writers Symposium

The Writer’s Symposium has a new dedicated web site up and running.  For those who have slept on GenCon (August 4-7, 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana) in the past, dismissing it as just a “gamer’s convention”, the writers’ tracts feature 77 separate seminars, for beginning writers through areas of professional interest, covering about 85 hours worth of programming.  Plus, many of the 30+ writers and editors can be found either in Author Alley or, well, “what do you call a gathering of writers?  A bar.”

Thіѕ year’s panelists include Anton Strout, Brad Beaulieu, Daniel Myers, Dave Yυсkу, Don Bingle, Dylan Birtolo, Elizabeth Vaughan, Gregory Wilson, Jason Sizemore, Jean Rabe, Jennifer Brozek, Jerry Gordon, John Helfers, Kelly Swails, Bob Farnsworth, Kerrie Hughes, Lawrence Connolly, Linda Baker, Marc Tassin, Matt Forbeck, Maxwell Drake, Mike Stackpole, Monica Valentinelli, Pat Tomlinson, Paul Genesse, Ramsey Lundock, Richard Lee Byers, Sabrina Klein, Steve Sullivan, Steven Saus, аnd Tobias Buckell.  Wandering the halls you will find bestsellers lіkе Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Ed Greenwood, R. A. Salvatore, James Lowder, аnd many more.

Here is my schedule for panels at the convention (though you can probably find me at the Apex Books table when I’m not running my mouth):


8:00 a.m.

Pick Our Brains: We’re early risers. If you are too, come get a jump on the Writer’s Symposium activities and have a chat about this and that. From publishing and writing to the weather in Chicago and vampires in Toledo, we’ll cover whatever strikes your and our proverbial fancy. Science fiction, fantasy, romance, thriller, and horror authors Donald J. Bingle, Maurice Broaddus, and Elizabeth Vaughan

9:00 a.m.

Writing Your First Novel: No more excuses! It’s time to write that novel you keep talking about! But what does it take to move the story from your imagination to the page? Our panelists have been over that proverbial hump and are willing to give you a nudge.  Maurice Broaddus, Donald J. Bingle, John Helfers, Elizabeth Vaughan


8:00 a.m.

The Sword is Mightier:  A rousing sword fight can get the reader churning through the pages of your book. But you better know how to make it feel real. Our master wordsmiths share their expertise in writing the good fight. Dylan Birtolo, Maurice Broaddus, Jerry Gordon, Maxwell A. Drake


1:00 p.m.

Make it Steamy—a Look at the Steampunk Genre: Some say it’s what the future would look like if it had come along earlier . . . say, in the Victorian era. Steampunk has been around for quite some time, but it’s risen in popularity over the past few years. Our panelists look at the genre and discuss how to get published in it.  Anton Strout, Lawrence Connolly, Gregory Wilson, Paul Genesse


8:00 a.m.

Care and Feeding of Your Editor: You’ve got the acceptance letter, but now what? How do you keep your editor happy and asking for future manuscripts? What can you do to make their life easier, your writing more attractive to them . . . and what can you expect from them in return? Jennifer Brozek, Gregory Wilson, Maurice Broaddus, Jean Rabe,  William Horner

9:00 a.m.

Gender-Bending–men writing women and vice-versa: We’ve brought this session back because it was so successful last year! How can a man write a female character . . . and do it well? Can a woman get in the head of a male protagonist . . . and make that character believable?  Maurice Broaddus, Donald J. Bingle, Jennifer Brozek, Paul Genesse


GenCon 2010 Seen Through Twitter

Sure, I could give you a thorough recap of GenCon.  It was the first time I REALLY dug into the convention as opposed to dropping by to say “hi” to some friends and then taking off.  I could go on about having a great time with Matt Forbeck, Monica Valentinelli, Anton Strout, Tobias Buckell, Jesse Scoble, Lucien Soulban, Lawrence Connolly, Christina Stitt, Jenn Brozek and many other new friends, but I won’t.  I could go on and on about how The Broaddus Clan ran ourselves ragged between GenCon, the Broaddus Family Reunion, First Friday, old friends dropping into town, and about a half dozen other things this city decided it had to throw THIS WEEKEND.  Instead, I’m going to summarize the convention as seen through my twitter feed:

I love that the usual downtown street musicians are playing super hero theme songs.

Wow, the morning came early. This will be an interesting panel…

So I’m on the “crafting the love scene” panel. because I speak of the pompatus of love.

“I write my sex scenes like I do my fight scenes.” * “You’re married, aren’t you?”

Filking. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

“That’s not a costume. That’s a cry for help.”

Ha! There’s a booth here for “gamer’s soap”. Oddly enough, there’s no line there. KEEP HOPE ALIVE!

and then i stabbed @antonstrout with a pen …

Nerds gone wild!

Dear Spartan, no one from 300 had man boobs. MOOBS! #genconfail

It is too early in the morning for larping…

The Ram Brewery knows its market: I’m eating the “Dire Troll Bomber”. (although … Cthuhlu Tar Tar …)

“I speak Klingon.” * “By strange coincidence, I’m fluent in douchbaggery.”

My chick bad, my chick hood (@supersjbroaddus) … though my chick loses hood points for making the boys costumes for gencon

Spending my time photobombing this dude in the Jack Sparrow costume

Day 3 of the Magic tournament. I refuse to enter the room because I know none of them have been by the gamer soap booth.

QOTD: “That booth is like the cast of Twilight walking into a gay bar.”

It’s too bad my kids want little things like a college education, because GeekChic would have a lot of my money right now.

Apparently 1K of the 60K of my fellow nerds have decided to crop-dust the Apex Books table because of my gamer soap jokes…

Hmm…the Apex Books minions get younger & younger. And the dress code is now out of Super Mario Brothers…

Dear TGIFridays, no one in the Caribbean eats anything called “reggae ribs.” You might as well serve it with “rasta pasta”.

Seriously, I’m networking. Don’t ask me to explain the women dancing in cages behind me. I blame @apexjason.

“What kind of girl says ‘! know he has french fries on his head, but he’s hot.'” #InDenialOfLivingInHisMomsBasement

Uh oh. @apexjason just yelled “do you think you’re better than me?” to the french fry guy. #RedneckBattleCry.

The full photo album can be seen here.

Countdown to GenCon

As part of the fiscal reality of being a writer, I can’t always make it to the cons I would like to.  Not that I’m bitter at all about having to have missed Readercon, Necon, and San Diego Comic Con, with no bitterness exacerbated by all of my friends who were at those events tweeting non-stop.  My convention schedule this year has been largely restricted to conventions I can drive to.  I still have a couple of conventions left for the year, including Context, and World Fantasy.  But GenCon’s up next.

It has always struck me as odd that GenCon is off of many writer’s radar when it comes to convention planning.  I’ll have to admit, despite the convention being here in Indianapolis for many years, up until recently, I, too, thought of it as just “the gamer’s convention.”  I had a couple of friends who regularly attended the convention, and I’d meet them to hang out and gradually I got to understand it as much more than a gamers convention.

For a start, part of making a living as a professional writer means being open to (and constantly looking for) all sorts of opportunities.  Video game writing, media tie in work, role-playing game writing, many of these options we might have considered but had no idea how to break into them.  Or begin making the right contacts.  GenCon’s the place.

For writers, there is a huge writers track of programming.  The convention is wall-to-wall panels addressing so many different aspects of writing topics.  Each year I’ve gotten a little bit more involved: from pestering my friends, to hanging out on author’s row, to now being on a couple of panels that week:

Thursday 10:00 a.m. – Plotstorming from Character
Brad Beaulieu, Paul Genesse, Kelly Swails, Maurice Broaddus

Thursday 11:00 a.m. – Writing Support

Elizabeth Vaughan, Jean Rabe, Steven Saus, Maurice Broaddus

Friday 10:00 a.m. – Crafting the Love Scene

Elizabeth Vaughan, Paul Genesse, Linda Baker, Maurice Broaddus*

Friday 11:00 a.m. – Setting is King

Chris Pierson, Paul Genesse, Bob Farnsworth, Gregory Wilson, Maurice Broaddus
Then there’s the people themselves.  For one thing, science fiction and fantasy writers, this is your target audience.**  These are the people buying your wares.

GenCon’s a great little convention guaranteed to entertain, if nothing else, for the sheer spectacle of it all.  And I mean little in the sense of thousands and thousands of people locking up downtown Indianapolis.

*Because when you think of the perfectly crafted love scene, you think Maurice Broaddus

**Don’t get me wrong, by Day 4 of the convention, you’ll be wishing your demographic bathed more often.