Got back last night from the marvelous World Fantasy held this year in Columbus. I had heard this is a very special con, and I heard right. For meeting new people, immersing yourself in the fantasy zeitgeist, and just having fun, nothing is quite like WFC. I’ve heard it referred to as Bar Con, and that is the perfect way to describe it: the con is set up so that you have lots of time to meet people and enjoy. So energizing — highly recommend!
I usually give a shout out to new people I meet but this time there were so many that I know I will inadvertently leave too many out. And I didn’t take any pictures (bad writer!), though I will update this post with some pictures as soon as I can find some that I can steal from other, more organized people :)
So, instead I will give you some general impressions that I got from hanging out with all these folks, from my perspective as a relative newb:
(1) Epub revolution: We spent a lot of time in the bar swilling beverages and envisioning what the future — a.k.a. the next six months — is going to look like for writers. I shared what I know from my days in the romance epub world, and we talked about challenges and opportunities for new writers. General mood about self-epublishing was both excited and scared. And there was a lot of speculation of where editors will fit into this new world — general consensus was that there was definitely a place for skilled editing here. But a number of different writers talked about how the leverage was shifting, for the first time to the author, and how this is going to change how we reach our readers. Wished there were a formal panel scheduled on this topic, but Bar Con was definitely featuring it.
(2) Young bloods. One of the many things I adore about the SFF community are the immersive courses: Clarion, Clarion West, Viable Paradise, and the like. I was impressed to meet a lot of newer writers who are bonded with their fellow graduates, and who, years later, have a network of writers in their “graduating class.” Those bonds seem to last forever, and as a lone wolf writer I’m a little jealous sometimes of the built-in camaraderie and the huge learning curve on site programs like Clarion offer. I met so many new writers at WFC, each running with their own free pack and helping each other to grow in their craft. Rock on, y’all. Wish we had something like this in the romance world…hmm.
(3) The generosity of greatness. One of the highlights of WFC for me was to meet Kat Richardson, of Greywalker fame, to thank her in person for the wonderful quote that she gave LADY LAZARUS. (I wish I could meet every single generous author who took the time to read and quote for LADY LAZARUS and thank them just the same way). What a great-hearted writer and person — it was an absolute pleasure to meet her. So many legendary authors were hanging out at the bar and during the book signing/meet and greet thingie. We younglings had many opportunities to bask in the light of our heroines and heroes. It was truly amazing…though I did goggle a bit when the incredible Gene Wolfe asked us a question about female vampires at the Urban Fantasy panel :)
(4) SFWA. I had the chance to attend the SFWA annual meeting, and was quite impressed to see the awesome John Scalzi in action as president. Got to meet him too, and he is hilarious and personable, even more so in person than on the interwebs. The SFWA board did a great job — well done, elected leaders of the SFWA. I’m a new member and looking forward to learning more about the organization.
So that was WFC. I had a stupendous time and hope to go next year if my schedule allows. I also had the chance to spend some time with both my wonderful editor and agent, and am revved up for the next year or so of writing — much is afoot. Also interviewed by the amazing Brent Bowen for the podcast Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing. More will be revealed.
Today, I was groggily schlepping around town, catching up on daily life, and Queen’s anthem blasted through my car, waking me up. Every single person I met at WFC was there in search of their greatness, of the beauty of their dreams, reaching. No matter published author, editor, agent, artist, publisher, fan, writer, we all fought the good fight together. Champions, all — “We are the Champions” could have been the theme song for the people of the WFC. I, for one, am totally inspired. Excelsior!