This weekend, I got out of my cave for a bit and headed to a local sci-fi and fantasy convention. The digs were modest, the sights and sounds tamer than, say, a ComiCon. Someone described the particular day I attended as “Relaxicon.” At 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, yeah, it was totally that.
But it was seriously fun, and I met some interesting people. I had the privilege of sitting on two panels with some heavy-hitting authors who have achieved success beyond anything I can even hope for. I made some new friends. And I made some new contacts at a local annual event, so I hope they’ll allow me back next year.
The first panel was on story arcs, and I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Rob Balder (author of Erfworld), John Peel, and James Suriano. It was certainly an eclectic group. We all had different ideas about story arcs, but none of them were opposing.
Panel discussions sometimes amaze me. Some of them are stilted with some authors overbearingly pushing their own agenda. This was not one of those. From Rob Balder unexpectedly stepping in to fill a moderator role (and doing a fantastic job) to John Peel, who’s written over a hundred novels along his storied career, it didn’t feel like we were competing to fill space. It felt like sitting down with three new friends and talking shop.
After the discussion on story arcs, I explored the con. Tables with various mystical creatures and aliens lined the hallways. The odd cosplayer strolled by. It was still early, so there was still the sense that the con was waking up.
The next panel was on writing and creating three-dimensional characters, and I sat down with John Peel and Rob Balder again as well as Shaenon Garrity and Keith R.A. DeCandido. Given the time, the crowd, and the addition of Shaenon and Keith, this panel was a bit more lively. Once again, though, I was intimidated by the talent and measure of these other authors’ success. I almost tried to slip out the door, but it once again felt like sitting down with new friends.
At the conclusion of the panel, I checked out the con some more and then headed home. Intervention was very close to my cave, and even though the DC metro area has some fairly large conventions and festivals, it was amazing to find such an intimate community right here. I hope to check it out again in 2017. It’s a really good time of year to see the U.S. capital, so if you happen to swing in around the middle of September next year, look to take the Metro out to Rockville, Md., and check this one out. Maybe I’ll see you there.