I have to admit I was afraid at first of going to this convention alone. Sure, I can be social when I need to, but I’m not great at breaking in to groups of strangers.
Fortunately, I was only a stranger for about 24 hours. After that, the warm, wonderful family of writers and fans drew me in and it kept getting better from there.
Every convention has its own personality, shaped by the committee that puts the event together, the people who go, even the venue where it takes place. I found WFC to be, in some ways, the most welcoming and accessible (socially) con I’ve ever attended.
First of all, Saratoga Springs is off-the-hook adorable, a quaint little postcard of a town. That image was accentuated by the season: gorgeous, sunny weather that highlighted the gold, red and orange of the autumn trees. Cute shops everywhere, fun restaurants, everything within walking distance of everything else.
Because this is a fantasy-focused con, and I write mostly fantasy, I found a panel to address every story issue I’m currently facing. The fey? Check. Power, politics and economics in a fantasy world? Check. Magic in epic fantasy? Check. Ghosts? Check. Each panel had a diverse range of folks to bring expert perspectives to every topic. I couldn’t get enough.
And then there were the parties. To many, this con is a social event, a chance to reconnect with friends that only cons bring together. The writers I met in the bar – even writers who had not purchased passes – almost made me squee, fanboy style, at levels only dogs can hear. Seriously. I mean, Gail Carriger. Take that in for a moment. She’s just as sweet and stylish as you’d ever want her to be. I met so many amazing people at the bar or at parties sponsored by Asimov’s, ChiZine Publications, Tremontaine (a new web-serial from SerialBox.com – check it out!) and Altered Fluid (a professional writing group based in NYC) that was worth the price of admission alone.
Best of all, the icing on the cake, if not the cake itself, were the friendships and connections I made. I had conversations ranging from fun to deep, and left the convention feeling both personally and creatively revitalized. I’m already furiously typing away at new stories, and looking forward to seeing new friends at WFC2016 in Columbus, OH.