Tag Archives: LTUE

Con Report: FyreCon 2018

This was my first year attending FyreCon and the second year of this new convention overall. After LTUE in February, I was looking for other writing conventions where I could potentially make a splash as a presenter, and a couple of friends pointed me to FyreCon.

So, here is Drew Gerken with the participants from our Lean Worldbuilding Workshop. This was the final hour of the final day (and also my 7th hour in front of folks talking about gaming and writing in some capacity).

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FyreCon was a fun, if modestly-attended, event. I’m considering attending again next year. But first–

The Bad

The trouble with tacking on gaming at a writing con: it feels like gaming has been tacked on to a writing con.

Yes, there is a ton of overlap.

Yes, FyreCon is focused on genres like sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writing and these are very common in gaming.

It doesn’t mean the majority of attendees are there to talk/learn about writing for games and game design in general.

Also, most of the game sessions were in random rooms in a separate building from registration and the dealer hall. I felt like they might have garnered better attendance if it weren’t a hike/scavenger hunt to get to them.

Finally, Layton is a long drive for me personally. I had to sport for a hotel.

The Ugly

Similar to LTUE earlier this year, The game track needed a boost. Unlike LTUE, there were quite a few excellent panels and workshops lined up, just not enough folks there to attend. Marvelous game designers and writers like Shawn Carman, Alan Bahr, Charles Gannon, and more came to talk, and I frequently saw audiences ranging from 2-5 attendees. Great for those 2-5 people! It’s worth debating if the time special guests spent was a waste.

The Good

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There are a lot of things to like about FyreCon.

The facilities are roomy and well laid out. They were also convenient except for the sessions in the far building. The dealer hall was quite spacious. Common areas were pretty nice with lots of seating.

The sessions I attended were informative and worth going to. I particularly enjoyed Chuck, Shawn, and Alan and the information they provided and the good conversations we had. It almost felt like I had them all to myself at times.

I enormously enjoyed the ability to participate as a moderator, a panelist, and a presenter. The Lean Worldbuilding Workshop Drew and I ran was not only a complete blast to run, but it was also well attended, and everyone enjoyed it. We had such a great time, we’ve submitted a proposal to rerun it at LTUE in 2019, and we may or may not be in the early stages of developing a game around the concept.

Before and during FyreCon, I had some opportunity to converse with one of the excellent organizers, DawnRay Ammon. Her willingness to hear my thoughts and share thoughts with me about how the organizers are considering improvements for the game track next year impressed me.

I suspect that next year will be even better for FyreCon as this is a convention just getting started (remember, it’s only in its second year). Thanks so much for having me!

The real thing I always love about these events is the people. I hung out and talked and played games with many good friends and brand-new ones. We’ll go alphabetically: Alan, Chuck, Drew, JC, Larry, Michael, Natasha, Patrick, Rock, Shawn, Steve, and the people I inevitably forgot (dumb brain), you made this con for me. Thank you!

Moment of the Con

For after-hours gaming at Alan’s house, he ran the original Tomb of Horrors D&D module. I’ve seldom had such a blast or laughed so hard. Shawn Carman manufactured a background for his monk that had folks blushing and howling with laughter simultaneously. We also saw the advent of the great and mighty professional henchman Bronar who in many ways stole the show. Patrick Tracy’s creation spawned an entire series of flash fiction bits you can find here.

For my character’s part, the erstwhile fighter had something in the neighborhood of 4 wisdom (them’s the rolls) and eventually ended up teleported to the opening of the tomb naked and penniless without a sword in his hand.

Oops.

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All in all, I had a great time, maybe helped some budding writers, and met some people I hope to see again. See you next year, FyreCon?

Con Report: LTUE 2018

This was my fourth year attending the Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium. Per LTUE.net, this is the purpose of the event:

LTUE is a symposium on science fiction and fantasy, centered around writing, art, literature, film, gaming and other facets of speculative fiction.

I’ll admit, after last year I came close to skipping the con in 2018. I’ll say Meri talked me into it.

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I’m glad we attended for many reasons, and I’ll get into some more detail on that momentarily. First–

The Bad

I’m a writer of speculative fiction both in standard prose formats and for role-playing games. You’d think this con would be right up my alley, and the first year I attended, you’d be right. I was very new to the world of writing, and EVERYTHING was relevant. Over the years, I’ve learned more, and less of the information was relevant. A shrinking amount, really. There were still nuggets, quite a few, but as a more experienced writer with published work and a group of experienced writer friends, they were much fewer and farther between (at least in the formal sessions and panels).

As Stephen King says in On Writing:

“You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

I buy this line more every day.

The Ugly

The game track needed a boost. No. It needed resuscitation. There were only SIXTEEN game-related sessions out of 294 total sessions. Many hours there were no game-related sessions at all. Also, some game panels were woefully underpopulated. Several only had two panelists.

There is a ton of potential for crossover between game design and fiction and art, and those topics were barely touched.

I could go on.

The art room was sad and small. I don’t know if the con didn’t market appropriately to get the art room filled up or what happened there.

The Good

I’ll end with the good because I have sincere hopes that LTUE will return to form and keep the things that worked well.

All the brilliant and friendly creators and authors who attended and lent their talents and knowledge to folks in attendance.

Jo Walton’s keynote. Fantastic.

The Writing Fantastical Fantasy panel.

Two-thirds of the Board Game Recommendations panel.

Everything I attended that my writing group buddy Richie Franklin was involved in: the poetry panel and the Method Acting and Character Creation sessions in particular.

Meeting many wonderful people in person for the first time: Ben, Dan, Brian “Fitz”, Jim, Dan, Martin, Natasha, Rock, JC, and probably a couple I’m forgetting.

Seeing and hanging out with folks I already know: Alan, Richie, Steve, Dan, Drew, Shannon, Scott, Eliza, Emily, Dan, Angie, Michael, Yoxani, Rachael, Meri, Robin, Kassie, Emma and the rest of y’all. Ya animals.

Many of the art sessions my girls attended. They were delighted with their experience. My youngest also got a “best friends” picture with her favorite author, Brandon Mull.
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Playtesting Old West with Ben Woener was phenomenal. Super fun game. You’ll want to watch for his Kickstarter next month. This game is amazing.

That’s it, folks. I’ll probably be attending FyreCon in Layton, UT on June 21-23. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be on some panels or teach a class. Hope to see some of you there!

Friday Link Pack 2/26/2016

It’s Friday! Link pack time. Lucky you, I recently attended LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium) and I’m flush with links on diverse topics. I attended sessions with various panelists such as Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Larry Correia, Steve Diamond, Kevin J. Anderson, Shannon Hale, Alan Bahr, David Farland, Peter Orullian, and the list could go on. You’re jealous. I understand.

Also, remember I’m collaborating on #FLP posts with Drew Gerken, and he had a great one last week. Check it out on his blog.

WRITE-ING (Note to self.)

William Gibson – How I Wrote Neuromancer
This is a slightly older, yet still relevant article by William Gibson on the genesis of Neuromancer. The book is one of my favorites, so this story resonates with me as a writer. You won’t be disappointed by it, I think.

The Popcorn Theory of Success
Kevin J. Anderson gave a brilliant, articulate, funny, and inspiring keynote address at LTUE. Lucky you, he gave it once late last year, and it’s on YouTube. Do not delay, my writerly friends. Watch this video.

TOOLS

Spritz For Speedreading Without Loss of Comprehension
Cool new technology I learned about recently. If you wonder how you’ll ever get through that backlog of books on writing you’ve wanted to read, try Spritz. Their technology can let even typically slow readers read up to 700 wpm and more. Of course, I haven’t tried it with fiction, because I like to savor my novels.

SCIENCEY

The Death Knell of Moore’s Law
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Guess they shouldn’t have called it a law, right? Anyway, the gist is this: computing power has been advancing at a highly predictable pace for a long time. Like 50+ years long. Yeah. So that’s over now (or very soon, rather). Computing power has virtually doubled every two years for decades, and it’s about to come to a screeching halt thanks to physics. Read the article if you want more detail. I could explain most of this, but they already did, and I don’t call this a Link Pack for nuthin’!

THINGS I LOVE

Galavant
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching both seasons of Galavant recently (thanks, Alan!). I’m going to try anyway! I’ll start by warning you; the show is the funniest twenty minutes of musical heroic, comedic fantasy you will ever watch. Yes. Musical. Don’t let that dissuade you — you would regret that. In summary, regret is bad — watch Galavant.

GIF OF THE WEEK

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OH. YOU’RE STILL HERE. AWKWARD.

Psssst… since you stuck around, I’ll taunt you. Part 5 of Rue From Ruin is currently out to my critique group. You’ll get it next Friday.

I’m Registering For LTUE February 2016; So Should You

LTUE 2016

If you’ve talked to me about writing this year, it should come as no surprise that I’ll be returning to LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium) in 2016. In February 2015, I attended LTUE for the first time, and I loved every minute.

If I haven’t already, let me tell you why YOU want to attend LTUE in 2016 if you are a writer (aspiring or otherwise).

  1. Fantastic Writing Panels – panelists ranging from newcomers to international bestsellers talk every writing topic under the sun. Topics range from the science in sci-fi to worldbuilding to plot to editing to promotion to publishing (indie and traditional).
  2. Accessible speakers and panelists – this isn’t a huge convention, and there are plenty of opportunities to chat with experts (writers, editors, games designers) about their take on your questions.
  3. Meet delightful people – plenty of opportunities to connect with others with similar goals. Talk to people from all over the industry.
  4. Pitch or Crit sessions – have a chance to see what an editor thinks of your book or concept.
  5. Affordably priced – the 3-day symposium is only $45 and free for students. I don’t care who you are, that’s a steal.
Anyway, come on down. LTUE is going to be fantastic in 2016. If you should happen to attend, look for me and say hi! I’d love to share thoughts and ideas with fellow writers and readers.
I also found this delightful graphic as a result of attending a Dune panel last February. Enjoy, Dune fans.
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