March 27, 2005

   Con Report: MiniCon

Woohoo I just got home from MiniCon - and wow what a weekend.

First of all, MiniCon finally managed to get back into the Sheridan (well it used to be the Radison). Unfortunately, MiniCon is still just a little small to fill that hotel - so if felt just a bit deserted. It was also strange to be going to the Sheridan for MiniCon - that's where we go for CONvergence. Not to mention there was a mundane conference in the hotel with us so there were too many mundanes wandering around for my taste.

Second Andy wasn't there. This is the first time that I have truly missed him since he went off on his trip around the world. I've been keeping up with his travels so it's felt like he's been around. But this weekend, he wasn't there to clue me into the good parties or fun events. He didn't tell us about the nifty games that get started in Con-suite at 2am. So it was the first time that I really felt the hole that he left behind in my life. I hope he gets back in time to go to next year's MiniCon becuase it just isn't MiniCon without him.

Other than that I had a smashing good time listening to Terry Pratchett and Jane Yolan tell us about the craft of writing. There were plenty of other good panels as well, and good parties and fascinating conversations.

A panel by panel description of the weekend

Friday at 4pm Wee Folk Good Folk
a wonderful discussion of fairy and other mythical creatures. Here is where we got our first taste of Terry Pratchett on a pannel. We arrived a little late so missed the introductions. Still we managed to hear many a good story about how the wee folk in the UK are treated, thought of and respected. Including a story about how the planning commission will come up with many an reason to bend a road around a fairy mound or knarled tree just so that they don't have to say that they are doing so to respect the fairies that live there (but that's really why they do it according to Mr. Prachett).

Friday at 5pm Reading by Adam Stemple.
Here we ran off to catch one of our favorite musicians indulging in his other art. Adam is coming out with 2 books and a short story all this summer (I'm going to have my nose burried in book all summer). One of the books - Pay the Piper - and the short story - Little Red - are in collaboration with his mother Jane Yolan. The other Novel is his solo effort - Soul Singer. He got Big Johnny to read from Soul Singer while he played his guitar. I managed to fall in love with all three of the stories so I'm going to have to pick up the books and anthology as soon as I can.

Friday at 6:30 Opening Ceremonies
Nothing much to say. There were introductions, a short "radio" play and announcements

Friday following Opening Ceremonies - Ask Dr Mike
The usual funness of letting someone bullshit their way through a question and and answer session. There were many laughs but we left before it was over (my butt was tired of sitting)

We wandered on over to the Con-suite and found it well stocked. There were some brief conversations. We learned that Erin McKee is going to Georgia for a Ren Fest in about a week and will stay there for the next 8 weeks. She's both excited and nervous about doing so. We also made a brief stop in at the Art show where we saw some of Erin's latest works. She's having fun with her digital cameral and photoshop (and when she has fun it's worth hanging on your wall).

Friday at 8:30 - The Year in Science: Part 1
I slipped in late to this panel just to see what's up. I didn't take notes, and nothing really struck me hard enough to stick.

Friday 10:00 - Nanny Ogg's potluck
Back to the con-suite for strange foods inspired by Terry Pratchett's cookbook and strange conversation. It's fun to talk to people you don't know about deep subjects late at night when no-one is really thinking all that well, then sleep afterward.

Saturday 10:00 - Curse words and other ways to tell it isn't a children's book
A fun way to start a Saturday morning listening to panel of prolific artists tell you about how to get curse words past the censors and into kids books. Jane Yolen told about how she used the term "fumits" to mean Dragon droppings in one of her books and later heard that kids were going around using "fumits" when they could have been using "shit" and not getting in trouble for it. And Terry Pratchett telling about using old scots words when some of his characters needed "colorful laguage"

Saturday 11:00 - Ask a Kid
A pourly organized panel of kid readers telling about what they are reading and why they like it. It was lots of fun and made us decide to go get out librarty cards renewed so that we could read some of those books.

Saturday 12:00 - Turtles All the way down - creation stories
A fun panel exploring the need for creation stories as well as the specifics of some well known ones. I got a little frustrated with an audience member who was getting upset by the inclusion of the Big Bang and Evolution as creation stories. Then the authors on the panel brought it back to writing by saying that it's important to know the creation stories of the cultures you are writing about. It makes sense. People base alot of thier culture on their creation stories so you need to know what that is.

Saturday 2:00 - Jim Young interviews Terry Pratchett
Much fun and story telling by Terry. We learned about his childhood and how that influenced his creation of DiscWorld.

Saturday 3:00 - When writers colaborate.
The only absolute this panel produced was that each team of writers needs to figure it out for themselves. All the writers on the panel described a different way that they dealt with the colaboration (the funniest part was that Adam Stemple and Jane Yolan described their work together entirely differently).

Saturday 4:00 - Working on your craft part 1
Mostly stuff I've heard before but needed to hear again. Like: practice, just keep writing, the more you do the better you will become; listen to your critics, you don't have to agree with them but you should listen to them; that kind of stuff. Intersperced with funny stories by both Terry Pratchett and Jane Yolan.

Saturday 5:00 - a field guide to Genre Writing
This could have been interesting if I hadn't been so tired and if the panel had decided right away what they meant by Genre - Most of them meant the category that the publisher sticks a book in so they know how to market it. But on panelist insisted that Genre didn't matter because it was all about good writing. I got tired of it and left early.

Saturday 8:00 - Publishing 101
This panel with Jim Frenkel, would have been informative if Jim hadn't been in such a foul mood. Don't know what that was about, but he was snappish at everyone and very discouraging about new writers getting in print. Most of what I got out of it was stuff that I'd heard before but needed to hear again. Work on your craft and send it out. Address it to the top editor, just in case she actually reads it. follow the guidelines.

Saturday 9:00 - the ball
The Tim Malloys made a surprise appearance here so we danced along to their music for a while. a cute little kid brought a balloon into it and managed to keep the attention of all the adutls. After we wore ourselves out we moved to the side and just enjoyed some of our favorite music.

Saturday 10:00 - revenge
A cool panel about revenge as motivation and the difference between revenge and justice. The panelists kept it fun as well as informative, but I still lost interest and left early, heading back to the ball for a while.

Saturday - late night (maybe Sunday early morning)
After a bit more dancing this time to the music of the Folk Underground, I made my way back to the Con-suite where I fell into a philosophy discussion. I don't remember all of the points that were made, but religion and research thereof were part of it. It finally ended when a friend noticed that she was too tired to drive but didn't have a hotel room. I offered her the extra bed in our room and then it was time to sleep again.

Sunday morning
A brief stop at Con-suite for breakfast and some good morning conversation. Though we didn't have to, we packed early and loaded the car. Used automatic check-out and were ready for a short day of panels.

Suday 11:00 - Schools of magic
Jane Yolan, Terry Pratchett and Caroline Stevermer talked about how they had developed schools of magic (before Harry Potter) and what they based those on and how their schools influenced the way that magic worked in their worlds. The laughter kept me awake to soak in the wisdom.

There were other panels scheduled for Sunday, but I didn't have the stamina to stick around. So it was off to Hudson to pick up the puppy and home. Now I think I'm going to go to bed... soon... maybe after a little bit of Sims...

Posted by Becca at March 27, 2005 06:23 PM

Well if it’s any consolation, it just isn’t Easter with out MiniCon and all the people I see there.

Posted by: Andy Kedl at March 28, 2005 05:04 PM