Ahhh, Readercon. The many authors and experts. The endless variety of panels and readings. The bookshop that sets my head spinning with so many beautiful books. The over-abundance of air conditioning and under-abundance of dining options.
For the aspiring author, it can feel a bit like high school. The authors are teachers, sharing their wisdom. And they double as the cool kids, the cliques that you don’t belong to and whose attention you desperately crave. The professionals at Readercon are perfectly nice and completely accessible. Still, I’m not one of them and I know it. I’m another aspiring writer and fan.
But this is not a pity party. I promise.
I had a fantastic time at Readercon this year. I actually fulfilled one of my goals for the convention, which was to get out of my shell and make some connections. I met some really fantastic people this year, just by participating fully and having a blast.
Highlights of the year include listening to Alaya Dawn Johnson talk about the idea behind her new YA novel “The Summer Prince,” and the process she went through while writing it. Now I know there’s an actual Summer King myth, which my story The Summer King is not about, so I need to re-title that story. Oops! During the panel on 21st Century Fey I came up with a new short story idea I’m currently working on. The Of Gods and Goddesses panel showed me that there’s no wrong way to depict deities in stories, as long as its done consistently and well.
I went to ample readings, discovered several writers who are new to me whose fiction I need to find. I bought some great-looking books, and gathered a bit of information on a few presses. I went to every panel with an LGBT theme (and there were plenty of them) and connected with other writers telling queer stories in speculative fiction. I took a performance workshop and learned some new methods for warming up my voice and body in preparation for performing a story.
I heartily recommend any speculative fiction writer go to this convention, and take it all in with an open mind and an open notebook. Trust me, you will want to take notes.
See you next July at Readercon 25!