Getting Ready for the Con

I’m wrapping up my preparations for this weekend’s convention, MarsCon. It’s one of my all time favorite cons partly because it includes a bit of everything: costumes, media, anime, gaming, props, demonstrations, art show, dealer’s room, stuff for the kids, parties, movies, science room, and panel discussions on science, fantasy, writing, fandoms, and so many other things. This particular convention also features an entertainment track featuring parody and nerd core musicians.

Tonight I’ll be moderating a panel on plot. I’m one of those moderators who prefers to prepare in advance with a list of questions and resources should they be needed. My goal isn’t to follow a set path, as really good panels can often grow organically. But I figure if folks came in to hear or participate in the panel on plot, going off on a tangent on the history of Girl Scout cookies is really not giving the audience what they came for.

I expect to have some new article ideas, and a boost to my motivation on the Indie Writer series after this weekend.

MarsCon 2020 (Feb 28 – Mar 1)

MarsCon (FB page) is coming up next weekend, and I’ve got a full schedule! Here are the places you can definitely find me:

Friday
08:00 pm – Writing Craft: Plot – Re(a)d Mars (III – Eagle’s Nest)

Saturday
10:00 am – A Peek Into the Indie Writer World – Krushenko’s (Room 1117)
12:00-2:00 pm – Girl Scout Cookie Booth
4:00 pm – Psi Powers: Science Fiction or Fantasy or What? Krushenko’s (Room 1117)
5:00-6:00 pm Girl Scout Cookie Booth
7:00 pm – Through the Magic Door: The Appeal of Portal Fantasy – Re(a)d Mars (III – Eagle’s Nest)
8:00 pm – Dealing With Rejection – Re(a)d Mars (III – Eagle’s Nest)

Sunday
11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Girl Scout Cookie Booth
12:00 pm – Writing Craft: Character Development – Krushenko’s (Room 1117)
1:00 pm Midwest Mythologic Creatures – Re(a)d Mars (III – Eagle’s Nest)

MarsCon 2019 – Friday Report

MarsCon is one of my favorite conventions because it has a bit of everything, making it a full geek experience, without the overwhelming crowds like ConVergence, DragonCon, and ComicCon. The programming is diverse, and I can actually get to the things I want to attend (unless there’s two things I want to see at the same time, or I’m scheduled on a panel across from something else). The costumes are top notch, and the people are very nice.

I started this year’s MarsCon by dashing up ten flights of stairs to get to my 4 pm panel Artistic Inspiration. I take my moderator duties seriously, but the hotel was down an elevator and the snow made our drive extra slow. I didn’t die, but I did need my inhaler, and it turned out we had to wait for someone to open the room anyway.

Artistic Inspiration

Our Artistic Inspiration panelists were A. Merc Rustad (writer guest of honor), Ruth Berman (speculative fiction and poetry writer, and Rhysling Award winner), Kathryn Sullivan (YA writer), and myself as moderator. I’ve been on many panels with Ruth and Kathryn. Ruth has a nearly uncanny knowledge of quotes, golden age speculative fiction, and L. Frank Baum. Kathryn brings an energy that can help perk up those dozy panels in hot crowded rooms. I’d not had the pleasure of being on a panel with Merc, and they were an excellent participant, providing a little different perspective and experience than the other panelists, which ensured we had lots to discuss and share.

We talked a bit about how inspiration can be the spark that triggers a story, or it can be a the energy that helps us continue through the longer pieces or rough patches of finishing a story.

Recommendations for sparking your inspiration or refueling your creative energy:

Woman dressed as a Hogwarts student with Gryffindor accents.
S.N.Arly of Gryffindor

Remainder of Friday

MarsCon was held at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport/Mall of America, where it’s been the last few years. It’s a good size and has some nice features – it’s generally accessible (when all three elevators function) the stairs aren’t locked, and they don’t use hyper-scented cleaners, soaps, or deoderizers that trigger my asthma, unlike some hotels. It also has a few downsides in that the parking situation is not ideal and while the restaurant does a great job with breakfast, it’s over-priced and under-whelming for lunch or dinner.

I moderated an 8 pm Writing Diversity Right, but it’s getting it’s own blog post because I have resources to share. The parties were good, with the IKV Rakehell and Nokomis groups always do a nice job. It was nice to see Babylon 5 recognized this year, but I missed the Harry Potter and Royal Manticoran Navy, both of which have been fantastic in the past.

Writer Tech

On Saturday I’m moderating a panel at Marscon on technology for writers.  My focus tends to be on adaptive tech for disabled writers, but I’ve also gotten into some of  the cloud based and collaborative programs that are great for critque, editing, and working on a project with other writers.  

What tech do you use that you would want to be sure I bring up?