Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Impressions of WorldCon

WorldCon is a circus of delights. Where else can you walk down the hall and meet a half dozen top notch writers in as many steps?  Where else can you watch the panelists talk about the writing life, the genre, and almost anything else that comes into their minds regardless of the panel topic? This randomness is one of the charms, especially when the panelists are seasoned pros and know how to frame their points of view. Sometimes arguments erupt, panelist correct one another, or (and this is my favorite bit) try to top each others outrageous statements.

Autographs? Lines form to the right, thank you please and no more than three (3) pieces at a time.  The worse part is sitting at the table and watching your neighbor's line reach beyond infinity whilst you have a pathetic few standing before you because you are only a short story writer.

Hearing the words streaming from the author's mouth at a short, half-hour reading, is wonderful, since they place the emphasis and intonations where they intended, not where your tiny reader's minds thought they should go.  This produces some surprises, a few disappointments, and always a pleasure.

Ah, the parties after the day's panels are done where you squeeze into incredibly crowded hotel rooms and move more by osmotic pressure than deliberate progress. In a moment you might be speaking to a physicist, an IT expert, a well-known writer or editor, or simply someone who loves the same thing as you. What conversations emerge are short, sometimes challenging, and always interesting. Breast surfing is allowed since badges hang low and the print is usually so tiny that you need to get close to read them.

The most wonderful thing is having a fan talk to you about something you've written. Such remarks are usually insightful, occasionally rewarding, and, having someone say that a story changed something in their life, is a blessing beyond anything you could have imagined when you wrote it.

But interaction with fans and other writers is not all social.  Deals are being made as expected whenever writers, agents, and editors crowd together.  For the professionals WorldCon is a business meeting as well as a promotional event. 

In summary: WorldCon is exciting, exhausting, draining, fun, interesting, challenging, and rewarding.  It is like nothing else in the world and, thankfully, only occurs once a year. 

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