Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BayCon Report and
Friday's Interesting Links (on Tuesday????)

I know, I know, Friday used to mean a particular day, but... I left for BayCon (an annual Bay Area science fiction convention) on Thursday and I ran out of time to prepare things. There aren't as many links as there have been because I didn't spend much time reading as I scrambled to get everything set.

The convention was wonderful as usual.

I presented on a panel about future laws and was surprised to discover that I'd thought about this topic quite a bit in my writing :). I do have a question to ponder and/or research if I have a moment though: Have I ever written anything from the position of the law keeper? I have characters who become law abiding citizens, or who aid the law in their own, off-the-wall ways, and even a few who become law keepers by the end, but I cannot think of a single one who starts out that way. Maybe as I edit some of the myriad short stories and novels that have yet to see a red pen, I'll find buried in there a law keeper or two. This is very odd considering I grew up always taking the role of the knight and as a firm believer in chivalric code.

My other two panels were a source of some terror for me as it was the first time ever that I was selected to moderate in real life. I have two teenagers, I've been in management--even of teams composed of strong individuals--I've herded the two-legged cats more often than I can count, and I moderate on line, but in person? Yes, I was quaking in my boots. I went to the "How to Moderate a Panel" discussion to prepare, and I would really recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in maybe, possibly, doing so in the future, as well as us already under a ticking clock. The presenters were funny, entertaining, and had a lot of good tips that could help in much broader circumstances than just at a convention.

My second panel was on world building, and specifically when and what to research. It ended up rather balanced between those who work ahead and those, like me, who start out with a framework and identify research points as they go. The audience seemed to enjoy what we had to offer, and some discussions continued out the door, which as far as I'm concerned is the best sign.

My third was on rejection letters, though we segued a bit into submission methodology in general. Once again no awkward silences (my greatest fear especially since on that one I actually used all of the 5 questions I'd prepared to keep the discussion rolling ;)), and I know at least one audience member found it helpful.

BTW, if you did go (to any convention) and enjoyed specific panels, drop a note to programming so they can add your feedback to the available information when considering what to offer next year. Deciding the programming for the next con is a huge job and I can only imagine a vacuum would make it even more difficult. At the con, you can always drop by and say that you really appreciated X topic, too, even if it won't be helpful for you next year. There are always new people coming on board.

Besides my panels, I went to quite a few others, probably too many to mention. The Birds of Prey panel (though I missed the beginning) was very interesting and I got to see another raptor with the white at the base of its body whereas before I'd thought only harriers had that. Though I'm still pretty sure the birds by my house are harriers, now I have to wonder :). I also went to my first Birds of a Feather (connection a coincidence) meeting only to discover it's a casual chat where we did manage to discuss a little Joss Whedon, some programming/electronics, and Wicked of all things.

Which brings me to the most successful part of the con for me. I talked to strangers :). Now that may sound strange all things considered, but however I appear online, in person I need a framework on which to cling before I'm comfortable. Speaking on a panel is okay because there are rules of engagement. Hall chatting, on the other hand, is a dark, complex world of rules in smoke that blow away just when you think you've got them down. But maybe I now know enough people thanks to panels leaking out the door when we ran past time to escape that next year. I look forward to crossing paths again with all of them and seeing what changed in that year. I also hope to cross paths with the folks I already knew a bit more.

I managed to miss out on all but a glimpse of filking this year, only got to the regency dancing once instead of twice, and didn't touch base with some people I had been hoping to see. That said, though I regret the missed opportunities, I can't regret a moment of the con I did have, though I swear I won't go into it exhausted next time. I did, however, get the opportunity to prove beyond a doubt that caffeine is useless in keeping me up ;). Three to four cups of I-hop drip coffee, and I barely made it into bed before I was dead to the world :D.

And now for the links I failed to post:

Writing/Creativity

On evaluating your Internet promotion efforts and whether they're meeting your goals:
http://www.romancingtheblog.com/blog/2009/05/19/taming-the-internet-promotion-monster/

Eight tips for restarting your creativity. It's for photographers, but the concepts are sound for everyone.
http://kkhphotos.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/8-ways-to-crank-up-your-creativity/

Social

This is just funny, but if you like my blog, you'll probably get it real quick ;):
http://comics.com/off_the_mark/2009-05-19/

Scroll down and then read for a heartwarming, tear-causing narrative of parenthood:
http://meanderingsandmuses.blogspot.com/2009/05/toni-mcgee-causey-dear-god-stick-turned.html

Science

Discovery of an incredibly well-preserved early primate skeleton raises compelling questions about evolution:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8057465.stm

5 comments:

E. Hartshorn said...

I think many of us understand *exactly* how much of an accomplishment talking to strangers is.

Thanks for the run-down.

Margaret said...

LOL! True enough. It's just that I come across as very extroverted online. I'm fine if someone else talks to me. I'm just not great at initiating. Luckily, I had a lot of initiators and made some strangers into new friends :).

E. Hartshorn said...

I got this very mad scientist idea about making strangers into new friends. *evil grin* I think my muse wants to play.

Margaret said...

No surprise there, but I have to say that a) it fits with BayCon's steampunk theme and b) a friend by any other method does NOT smell as sweet :D.

E. Hartshorn said...

But . . . I have some extra chocolate chip cookie dough. That should help with the smell, right? Or . . . maybe some rose genes . . .