Can-Con 2015 has come and gone in a whirlwind of fun, friends and creativity. It was an exhausting weekend but in the most fun and positive way possible.
I saw less panels this year and spent a chunk of the weekend running around helping out with organization. Though it’s a strange blur; looking back now I’m not quite certain how all that time was filled up so readily. Time does not flow the same at a convention I suppose. 😉 But though the weekend was definitely of the go-go-go variety for me, it was not in a stressful way. I found last year was more stressful for me with mostly setting up for the caffeine and candy party by myself and then immediately running down to pitch a novel and then dashing back up to the party.
I started off the weekend with workshops. First I attended Derek Newman-Stille‘s “Perceptions, Senses, and Exploring Your Character’s Sensory Environment and Setting” workshop. It was absolutely fabulous and I am so glad I signed up for this one. Throughout the workshop we would put on blindfolds and Derek would play a short soundscape (restaurant, nature, etc), or put a container of something to smell (spices, potpourri, etc), or an object to touch. We’d get a couple minutes to explore that sensory experience and then share some of the descriptors, images and memories they brought to mind. Finally, objects and blindfolds removed, we would have a couple of minutes to write whatever was inspired by the experience. I know I have a tendency to focus on visual description in my stories and have to remind myself to incorporate other senses and this exercise was a great way to really focus on other senses. It also made for interesting writing prompts. This is definitely something I plan on saving in my back pocket to take out again and use both for writing inspiration and to help me bring other senses into my writing. If he offers this workshop again next year or elsewhere, I highly encourage you to take it. I’d be tempted to take it again myself because I enjoyed it so much and there is a layer to the exercises that you can get from having someone else prepare objects and scents for you without you knowing what you are getting, rather than setting it up for yourself.
The second workshop of the afternoon was Matt Moore‘s “Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats“. Matt had tried to run this as a full day workshop last year but due to time of year there wasn’t enough interest. So I have been waiting to be able to attend this for a while. The only downside was that he really did have a full day’s worth of material so there were places where he touched on a topic/aspect briefly but didn’t have time to fully delve in and explore. Even with the much trimmed material there was still a lot of excellent information and tips about increasing tension and also varying the types of tension and I know I will be making use of it as I plot my next novel. Hopefully at some point Matt will have the opportunity to run this as a full day workshop and I will be signing up.
And then the convention began in earnest. The panels I was on were filled with great people with lots of things to share and so many interesting discussions were had. Friday night was the Bundoran Press launch party for Falcon’s Egg by Ed Willett (Writer Guest of Honour) and Second Contacts, which is now available directly from Bundoran in print or ebook, and can also be ordered from Amazon, Indigo and Kobo. And there was a nice little turn out on Sunday for my reading alongside the lovely S.M. Carrière. I’d chatted with her briefly at previous conventions but am happy I finally got a chance to talk to and get to know her better over the convention and a Can-Con prep and writing marathon party we had over the Thanksgiving weekend.
I also got to have a couple of exciting new authors experiences this weekend. Robert J. Sawyer was in attendance again this year and asked for my signature in his copy of Second Contacts at the launch party on Friday. I was also stopped in the hallway on Sunday as I was dashing from one panel to the next so that I could sign a copy of Second Contacts belonging to another attendee that I don’t personally know. 🙂