Now that I’ve had some time to process** the events of last weekend, I thought I’d put together a recap of the weekend.
First off: RavenCon was a great time. I got to catch up with friends that I only get to see at events like this, and I made some new friends.
I had a great time at the panels, and I even had the opportunity to sign up for some extras that needed additional panelists. This is something that I enjoy doing. First, because it helps out the con. Second, because you might discover something new.***
This weekend was also my first opportunity to moderate a panel (more on that later).
By way of something new, I figured that I’d break my recap of the weekend into three categories: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Damn near everything. I appreciated that the rooms were close together despite being on two different floors.
The Con Suite and the Green Room were right next to each other, and (more or less) centrally located. That means that I could pop into the con suite for a bottle of water (I went through so much water), and a snack, and if I needed it, I could go next door for a bit of quiet if I needed it.
The Panels. There was no shortage of good discussion going on about a wide variety of subjects. You can’t help but learn something new when you’re a panelist for a given topic, but I’ve kinda reached the point where, if I’m going to a panel as an audience member, I don’t usually walk away with anything new. There were a couple of panels that I sat in on where I came away with new ideas.
More on Panels. This year, I reached at least one person. Let me explain that. Unless you get any kind of feedback when the panel ends, you never know if folk in the audience just go on to the next thing and forget about you. Last year, at Balticon, I shared a taxi with someone on the way back to the airport and they mentioned that they remembered me from a panel that weekend. That was pretty mind-blowing. I am still a very tiny fish in a massive pond. This year, as a result of a panel that I wasn’t originally assigned, but that I signed up for, someone came to my website. Actually posted a comment. I’ve got no way of knowing if it went beyond that, but that is still pretty cool.
Catching up with friends. Like I said above, there are a lot of folk that I only see at these events, and it was good to catch up with them in person.
Making new friends. I met some new people, made some new friends, and…
I got to meet one of my Agent-Siblings!! This was a total first for me. I met up with the awesome Karen Osborne and we talked for a while about books, editing, being out on Submission, etc. It was a great time.
The Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading! I’m a Broad. The Broad Universe is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres. This year was my first opportunity to read with the Broads. There were heaps of good stories in bite-sized chunks that left you wanting more. And there was chocolate. If you find yourself with the opportunity to sit in on a Rapid-Fire Reading (Hint: There’ll be one at Balticon, in May), do yourself a favor and attend. You’ll be glad you did.
My second ever time moderating a panel went really well. It might have been a little rushed at the end – totally my fault. There was just enough of a mix of deeper questions and more purely entertaining questions to carry us through. Folk seemed to be pretty into it.
The Bad for this con goes to my in-person networking skills, which really need some work. Part of this is likely a bit of social anxiety talking, second-guessing things I said, etc. But more of it is objectivity on my part. I mentioned that I did meet people, but there were folks that I wanted to meet, but didn’t.
I’m not going to say that the con was a wash, but I know that it could have been better.
The reading that never happened. I had a reading with another panelist and…nobody else showed up. As far as “Bad” goes, there are much worse things that could have happened. We sat and talked for about 30 minutes, then gave up.
6 hours of back-to-back programming. Full disclosure: This was totally my fault. I really enjoy participating on panels, and I signed up for anything that sounded interesting that needed an extra person. I may have overextended myself, mentally. Which leads us to…
My first time moderating a panel was kinda a trash fire. At least I thought it was. Partly this was because it was my first time moderating. Partly it was because this panel was the last of 6 hours of back-to-back programming. Partly it was because the panel description didn’t fit the title. Mostly, because of this difference, the panelists and a good chunk of the audience came in aiming to talk about the title and not the description.
It went off the rails pretty quickly, and I’m sure that there are techniques out there that I could have used to shoe-horn the discussion back on track, but here’s the thing – well things:
- I don’t have those skills. I’ve seen “Moderator class” panels at some cons, but not every con. I can’t remember if there was one here. I didn’t look. Primarily because I hadn’t signed up to moderate any panels. I had been assigned a couple and I thought, “What the hell, let’s do this.”
- The audience was engaged. Ultimately, this isn’t about me, or any of the panelists, really. It’s about the folk that paid good coin to show up (on a Saturday Night, no less). I distinctly remember thinking at one point that if I somehow managed to force the discussion back on topic, I’d be doing the audience a disservice. So I rolled with it. I didn’t have any questions prepared, so it was really more of a free flowing dialogue between the audience and the panelists, and I injected ideas as they came.
At the end of the panel we all walked away from it, so I’ll call it a learning experience and leave it at that.
So there you have it: Ravencon in under 2000 words. I’m happy to say that there was vastly more Good than there was Bad or Ugly.
If you get the chance, you should check it out.
Speaking of checking things out:
Also check out the Freebies page for story excerpts.
Be safe Y’All
Time: 12:31 pm – ish
Music: Demons and Wizards – Lunar Lament
*He says while typing this up at 10:36 Am, having no idea where the bulk of the morning went…
***Cut-throat Flash Fiction, anyone?