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.