Writercon

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Convention
Name: Writercon
Dates: 2004-2011 (in 2011, it "merged" with Wincon)
Frequency: biannual
Location: varies
Type: media fandom, fan con
Focus: fanfiction
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date: 2003
URL: http://www.writercon.com/
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A convention for media fandom fans, focused on fanfiction. Writercon is for anyone who loves fanfiction: writers, readers, betas, archivists, and so on. It was held in Las Vegas in 2004, in Atlanta in 2006, and in Minneapolis in 2009. In 2011, it canceled and merged with Wincon.

History

Writercon was founded by a group of fanfiction writers in 2003. The initial founders were fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and knew each other through yahoo groups. They met up at a convention called Vulkon in Tampa in late 2003 and ended up ignoring all of the celebrities and autograph sessions in favor of sitting around the pool talking to each other about fanfiction. Thus was born the idea to have a convention entirely focused on fanfiction, where fanfiction writers themselves were the draw.

The first Writercon ("Fanfiction as Literature in the Worlds of Joss Whedon") was hosted in Las Vegas in 2004 and was explicitly focused on the works of Joss Whedon. The guest of honor was screenwriter Jane Espenson (who writes for TV now but started out as a fanfic writer).

The second Writercon ("Craft, Style, Myth: Exploring the Art of Fanfiction") was held in Atlanta in 2006 and was still Jossverse-oriented, but also opened up its focus to include multiple fandoms. A selection of editors, authors, and academics were guests. The second Writercon also generated Writercon Kerfuffle which was a fannish discussion that focused on a con report for Writercon II by a male fan named aadler. In this con report, the fan complained of the slash discussion, what he felt to be an over-emphasis on m/m discussion, and of feeling left out and oppressed. The con report generated 362 comments at the post itself, as well as much discussion in other fan venues.

The third Writercon ("Writing Between the Lines") was held in Minneapolis in 2009 and was officially multi-fandom. See the top "fandoms of interest" among attendees.

Writercon is fan run and not-for-profit.

Programming

Writercon has several tracks of programming. See Writercon's 2009 programming. This allows for a focus on a mix of writing workshops and panel discussions, both for those who are writers and for those who love fanfiction as a genre (readers, archivists, betas, etc.). Panelists and workshop leaders are all fans. Writercon also allows attendees to submit bids for less-formal fan-run events (these are often focused on a specific fandom or ship to allow its members to meet up and discuss their particular obsessions). Writercon also has a big welcoming cocktail party Friday night and social events throughout the weekend at the hospitality suite.

Scholarship Program

Its scholarship program is one of the distinguishing features of Writercon. Before each convention, Writercon raises money so that fans who are struggling financially will be able to attend. Those who apply must be active members of fandom, but are not judged based on perceived quality--anyone who participates in fandom is welcome to apply. In return, scholarship recipients do two sessions of volunteer work at the con. This has been one of Writercon's most successful ways of building and supporting its community.

Spin-offs

There's also WriterCon UK, a UK-based spin-off, details at LJ.

In April 2011, Writercon decided to cancel and merge into Wincon. Affectingly wrote that Wincon was sad to see Writercon suspend operations as it was actually the inspiration for Wincon in the first place.

2004

  • Writercon 2004 took place July 30-August 1, 2004 at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, NV.
  • Writercon 2004 had the focus: Fanfiction as Literature in the Worlds of Joss Whedon
  • Guests of Honor: Jane Espenson, Don H. DeBrandt, Nan Dibble, Dr. David Lavery, Glenn Yeffeth, Jacqueline Lichtenberg
  • see more: Writercon 2004, Archived version

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Friday:

  • Jossed!: How to Deal with a Canon Curveball -- One of the risks of writing current-season fanfic is that your vision will come crossways of canon. Learn to enjoy the thrill ride, and salvage stories when the ME vision diverges from yours. Panelists: Ducks, Rabid, HonorH, Colleen, LJConstantine, Kimi
  • Ready, Set, Go!: Drabble Workshop -- They're called "drabbles". Simple-looking, yet difficult to write. Complete stories in 100 words or less. Come test your mettle in our storytelling challenge. We provide the subject, you provide the talent. Panelists: Colleen, NWHepcat, Dettiot, Gwynnega
  • Homoeroticism, Yay!: Gay Subtext in the Jossverse -- How does subtext shape our perceptions of television shows? How much is intentional? How are characters and story arcs shaped by unspoken assumptions and unwritten rules? When does subtext become text? Read between the lines with a panel of writers and philosophers. Panelists: CN Winters, The Bear, Herself, Mazal Hamidbar, Estepheia
  • Special Guests -- Open discussion panel among our guests. Panelists: Lichtenberg, DeBrandt, Lavery, Dibble
  • Who Are You?: Consistent Characterization -- Discuss how to maintain consistent characterization throughout a story, how to match characterization to canon, and learn the tips and tricks our panelists use to keep their characters in line. Panelists: Barb C, Herself, Don DeBrandt, Nan Dibble, Kalima, Estepheia
  • Tea Time: A Philosophy Summit with the members of Tea at the Ford -- The members of Tea at the Ford will lead a spirited discussion of art, literature, myth, legend, science, and other deep subjects in relation to the Jossverse, with audio-visual aids and perhaps even a spot of tea. Panelists: Plin, Klytaimnestra, Kalima, macha, Cyn Martin, Sylvia Volk, and others
  • Shades of Grey: Morality in the Jossverse -- For worlds based on heroic themes, the Jossverse is an awful ambiguous place. Discuss what constitutes a moral worldview and how the line between good and evil shifts mightily depending on where you stand. Panelists: Dark Rhiannon, Plin, Antonia Levi, David Lavery, Ascian, Cyn Martin

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Saturday:

  • Where Do We Go From Here: Plotting versus Narrative Flow -- Experienced authors discuss the craft of storytelling; when to plan ahead, and when to go with the narrative flow. Panelists: Barb C, Nan Dibble, Don DeBrandt, Caro, Estepheia, LJConstantine
  • Is It Real or Is It Memorex(tm): Fanon versus Canon -- Sometimes a created universe takes on a life of its own. Discuss the detours from canon that have become accepted truths in fanfiction. Panelists: Kimi, Mazal Hamidbar, CN Winters, HonorH
  • I Think This Line's Mostly Filler: Learn to Write Like People Talk -- Learn tips and tricks for creating and sustaining your character's voice, writing dialog that flows, and learning that the spoken and written word don't always match. Panelists: Kalima, Nan Dibble, NWHepcat, Rabid, Herself
  • Since the Beginning: Gender Relations in the Jossverse -- Is "Buffy" a feminist show? Is "Firefly" really a man's universe? Discuss how men, women, and relationships between them are portrayed in Joss Whedon's shows. Panelists: Caro, Antonia Levi, Plin, Ducks, Hecatehatesthat, Mintwitch
  • It's Deja Vu All Over Again: Recurring Themes -- Learn how recurring themes help tell a larger story, how to recognize them in other works and use them more effectively in your own. Panelists: CN Winters, David Lavery, Ascian, Hecatehatesthat
  • One Girl in All the World: Q&A with Jane Espenson -- Come listen as our Guest of Honor tells a few stories, answers a few questions, and reminds us of why we fell in love with these shows and the people who write them.
  • I'm a Slayer, Ask Me How!: Getting Your Original Work Published -- Professional authors and editors offer advice on how to write, market, and sell your original fiction. Panelists: Kalima, Espenson, DeBrandt, Lavery, Lichtenberg, Dibble, Yeffeth
  • Linoleum Makes Us Think About Sex: Writing Effective Erotica Panel and Workshop -- When it's good, it moves us, thrills us, gives us that "down-low tickle" and makes us spend long hours at the computer. When it's bad, it can move us to laughter, make us sick to our stomach, or make us feel dirty (and not in a good way). Between the shiny gauze-and-candle romance and the bow-chica-bow-bow of cheap movies, there's a wide array of quality work. A representative panel of authors discusses what's hot and what's not. (warning: explicit language and adult themes) Panelists: Margot LeFaye, The Bear, Essene, Estepheia, Herself, CN Winters, Kalima, Ducks, Rabid

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Sunday

  • My Champion, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Hero's Journey -- Buffy, Angel, Spike, Mal . . . how do Joss' protagonists fit the traditional notion of heroism? Do their actions reflect the traditional Hero's Journey, or is the mythic category simply the wrong yardstick to be measuring with? Panelists: Klytaimnestra, macha, Cyn Martin, Sylvia Volk
  • How to Be a Better Beta: Workshop -- Learn how to give critique, speak so that authors know what you're saying, and decipher authorial intent. Panelists: Dark Rhiannon, Soundingsea, Dettiot, Mazal Hamidbar, LJConstantine, AllyV
  • Gay Me Up!: Gay Love Scenes for Straight Writers -- Writing what you don't know? Heterosexual slash writers can get the information they need to spice up their storytelling. (warning: explicit language) Panelists: Vicious Wishes, Inobunny, Lar, Tania Lang
  • Don't Taunt the Fear Demon: Overcoming Writer's Block -- It happens to every writer. Learn how to face it down. Panelists: Liz Marcs, Lichtenberg, Essene, Yindagger
  • The Transitive Vampire: How to Prevent the Most Common Grammar Glitches -- Our panel of editors and beta readers will go over the most common grammatical errors, and discuss ways to avoid them. Panelists: Dark Rhiannon, Soundingsea, Mazal Hamidbar, Alicia Rasley
  • Are You Now or Have You Ever Been: The Problem of Vampirism as Metaphor -- Discuss how this metaphor drifted from the simple, black-and-white ethics of Buffy, season 1 to the morally complex world of Angel. Panelists: Plin, Dibble, Lavery, Klytaimnestra, Ascian, Cyn Martin

Con Reports: 2004

2006

  • Writercon 2006: Craft, Style, Myth: Exploring the Art of Fanfiction
  • Writercon 2006 took place July 21-23, 2006 at the Holiday Inn Select (Perimeter) in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Guests of Honor: Anna Louise Genoese, Susan Sizemore, Rhonda V. Wilcox, Rachel Caine
  • included a showing of "Firefly Unzipped: A Fan Movie"
  • there was a casual vid show
  • see more: Writercon 2006, Archived version

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Friday:

  • A Demon-Hunting, Helpless-Helping, Dysfunctional Family: Natural and Chosen Families -- Moderator: Rhonda Wilcox -- Panelists: Crevette, Miss Murchison, NWHepcat, RevDorothyL -- What makes a family? Who’s in (as kin), who’s out, and how can you tell? Is it always about blood? How do the shows portray different kinds of families and family relationships? From kinship to fellowship, let’s talk about families.
  • Calling All Muses: Overcoming Writer’s Block -- Moderator: Yin -- Panelists: Rachel Caine, Essene, Lizbeth Marcs -- This panel reunites the same suckers who did it at WriterCon ’04 – you get to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Expect a spirited discussion of tricks and techniques to help you climb over the barriers that sap your writing mojo. We’ll play around with a couple of writing exercises and discuss ways to boost your creativity as well as your confi dence.
  • The Good Stuff: Selected Authors Read from their Fic -- Moderator: Time of Change -- Come hear your favorite authors read from their work and maybe discover a new favorite in the process.
  • Crossing the Red Sea: Editing, Revision, and Finishing Touches -- Moderator: Spiralleds -- Panelists: Anna Genoese, Gwynnega, Peacockharpy -- After you type that last period and hit save, the fun’s just begun. Whether it’s fixing that pesky plot hole, looking for continuity throughout, or checking details of geography and plausibility, all fiction can use a little work. This panel will cover the topics close to every beta-reader’s heart, and it just might help anyone who uses a beta-reader too.
  • Go With the Narrative Flow: Pace, Rhythm and Flow -- Moderator: Savoy Truffle -- Panelists: Rachel Caine, Byrne, Xanphibian -- While plot will get your story to the dance, it’s style that picks out the perfect dress and shoes. Join our panelists for tips and insights on finding your own style and ways to bend your words to create the pace and rhythm your story demands. From lush, lyrical writing to terse, spare prose, each story demands to be told in the appropriate way – learn to make your action scenes more tense, your love scenes more sensual and your dialogue scenes more realistic.
  • A World Without Shrimp: The Importance of Place -- Moderator: NWHepcat -- Panelists: Susan Sizemore, Ascian3, Avrelia, Mosca -- How much do setting and place affect the rest of the story? Does it make a difference whether you’re in Sunnydale or Neptune or big-city LA? At an evil law firm or in a spaceship? A high school or a magic shop, a hotel or a rented storefront office? And what happens when the usual suspects end up in unusual places? Talk about setting, the extra character.
  • Who Are You People? Characterization -- Moderator: NWHepcat -- Panelists: EntreNous, Herself_nyc, Moosesal, Salieri -- Almost every part of storytelling flows from characterization – if you don’t know your characters, you can’t tell their stories. Our panel of distinguished, award-winning and very cool writers will help you explore your personal connection to your characters as well as the methods of presenting them inside your own story architecture.
  • We Could Make a Collage, or a Mobile: The Mixing and Maxing of Genre Conventions -- Moderator: Kalima -- Panelists: Rachel Caine, Anna Genoese, Ascian3, The Deadly Hook -- In the generically-inclined world of today’s television, do “pure” genres still exist? What sets them apart? How do our favorite shows adhere to and/or twist and combine typical genre conventions? And where does the fan fiction fit in? Talk about categories and classifications and whether they work for what we love and do.
  • Notes From the Ivory Tower: Writing Critical Essays -- Rhonda Wilcox -- The geeky side of fandom: it’s not all about the stories, you know. Sometimes, you need to make an argument, whether it’s an episode analysis or an exploration of a theme or trying to explain to others why your view is, of course, the correct one. What does it take to write a clear and persuasive essay.
  • Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before? Character Archetypes -- Moderator: The Deadly Hook -- Panelists: Susan Sizemore, Ascian3, Avrelia, Denny_dc -- We see them, over and over. Variations on a theme, or classics with a new twist. Who are they, what do they do, and what do they mean? Compare, contrast, and discuss the archetypical characters found in any or all of the shows under consideration, and variations on the archetypical themes.
  • Authorial Support: Recs, Constructive Criticism, Feedback, Archival -- Moderator: Spiralleds -- Panelists: Chrislee, SweptAwayBayou, Laura/drinkthepoison, Viciouswishes -- Fanfic doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There’s a reason to dust off that story languishing on your hard drive, and that is the readership. This panel is devoted to the activities in fandom that support and encourage writers. By drawing attention to fic and giving the authors the input they need, these unsung heroes of fandom keep the stories accessible to readers and keep authors on their toes.
  • Drabblemania! (Or, Short is Good, Too) -- Moderator: Crimsonhue -- Panelists: Colleen, SunnyD_lite, Vampirefever -- Not every story has to be an epic, and there’s a lot to be gained by writing a complete story in 100 words. This session will discuss the battle over terminology, as well as the challenges inherent in conveying story information in the fewest words possible. Our panelists will talk about vignettes, character studies, linked drabbles, and the unending pain of rewriting and revising.
  • Erotica -- Moderator: Viciouswishes -- Panelists: Fer1213, EntreNous, Luvsbitch, Mosca -- We’re just here for the smut, right? Join our panelists for tips on making your writing sizzle. No matter the flavor, your sex scenes can be hot hot hot! Specialized workshops will follow this panel.
  • Erotica Breakout • Kink -- Moderator: Luvsbitch -- Kinky sex can spice up a story and add depth between two characters. But are you falling prey to error and cliché? Find out all about the real deal.
  • Erotica Breakout • How to Write Het -- Moderator: Fer1213 -- Boy meets girl. It’s an old story, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t infuse it with excitement. Het sex is the topic for this session; find out how you can improve your depictions of it.
  • Erotica Breakout • How to Write a Lousy Sex Scene -- Moderator: Yin -- A tongue-in-cheek look at the “don’t”s of writing erotica.
  • Erotica Breakout • How to Write Slash -- Moderator: EntreNous -- If you rearrange “subtext”, it spells buttsex! Hone your slash-writing skills with ideas from this session.
  • Erotica Breakout • How to Write Femslash -- Moderator: Mosca -- Femslash moves beyond the occasional girlkissing in canon to the realm of the erotic and wholly female. Bring the hot to your f/f pairings with these ideas.
  • Erotica Breakout • Gay Sex for Straights -- Moderator: Viciouswishes -- Back by popular demand, this session corrects the misconceptions often held by straight people trying to write Teh Gay. Last time, the explanations included toys and props. This time, who knows?

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Saturday:

  • Bringing the Funny: Writing Humor -- Moderator: Stoney -- Panelists: Crazy Diamond Sue, Crevette, Germaine_pet, Mad Poetess, The Brat Queen -- “Tragedy is easy; comedy is hard.” No kidding. At its core, humor is about truth – that’s what makes it both funny and universal. Our laugh-out-loud troupe of comedians will discuss humor techniques such as shock and surprise, juxtaposition, exaggeration, satire, meta-humor and more, while cracking you up. If not, they’re all fired.
  • Separated at Birth: Collaborative Writing -- Moderator: Xanphibian -- Panelists: Byrne, Ladycat, Wesleysgirl -- What could be more fun than writing fanfic? Why, writing it with your friends! Come chat about co-writing, roleplaying, comment-tagging, and all the places between.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: Submitting Your Work – Tips, Tricks and Tools -- Anna Genoese, Yin -- You will fail to sell 100% of the stories you don’t submit. This workshop will give you tools and techniques for maximizing your submissions. We’ll discuss the personal impact of repeated rejection and how to refine your attitude and thicken up your skin, as well as looking at ways to minimize your submission time in order to maximize your writing time. The importance of writers’ guidelines and knowing your market will also be discussed.
  • Inner Lives Characterization Workshop I -- Herself_nyc -- Discovering who your characters are, and what it is they most want, will unlock the story you’re trying to tell--or the one your characters have in them, that you may not be consciously aware of yet! The Inner Lives exercises, developed by the novelist Regina McBride, will help writers discover ways to create three-dimensional, intriguing, realistic characters by using the five senses to tap the subconscious imagination. Whether you’re writing fanfic or original fiction, Inner Lives will help you access the essence of character, which leads to action and incidence in your story. Please be prepared for the workshop by deciding on a point of view character you will work with during the session. Registration required.
  • Putting Words in Other Peoples’ Mouths: Dialog -- Moderator: Colleen -- Panelists: Susan Sizemore, Kalima, NWHepcat -- Dialog brings your story to life – it reveals characterization and motive, it sets mood, intensifi es conflict and creates tension. Our panel of dialog all-stars will discuss the part dialog plays in their stories, as well as what they’ve learned through years of work. They will discuss using dialog to drive the story, reinforce themes and will discuss craft issues such as making dialog appropriate to the character and avoiding the pitfalls of writing dialog.
  • My Eyes! Read and Fix the Badfic -- Moderator: Soundingsea -- Panelists: Crevette, Fer1213, Yin -- Back by popular demand, this hilarious activity from last WriterCon’s beta workshop will have you in stitches again. Will his orbs be chocolate? Will she smell of vanilla? Will the carpenter and the blond vampire buy curtains together? Try to fix the badfic, if you dare.
  • Writers’ Salon -- Peacockharpy -- If you’ve ever submitted your story to a beta, you know that the critique process can turn a good story into a great one. The Writers’ Salon is like a face-to-face beta session, in which your story will be discussed by a small group of people who are passionate about writing. We’ll give your story an honest critique, and you’ll do the same for our stories, and then we’ll all go home energized and ready to rewrite. We’ll also discuss how to set up your own writing critique groups, whether online or face-to-face. Prior registration required.
  • Drinking from the Well of Souls: Writing Original Fiction -- Moderator: Ethrosdemon -- Panelists: Susan Sizemore, Gwynnega, Herself_nyc -- Fanfic brings us together, but many of us also enjoy writing about our own characters (or want to start). Get the scoop on avoiding the dreaded Mary Sue, building a believable environment for the characters to inhabit, and telling the stories that work best in a world of your own creation.
  • Not Fade Away: Virtual Seasons -- Moderator: The Brat Queen -- Panelists: Barb C, Dragonwriter17, Justhuman, Mad Poetess -- A virtual season aims to handle the ensemble and arcs on the scale of a show itself. Look behind the curtain at the nuts and bolts of this undertaking. How does a virtual season model itself after a TV show’s structure? What are the different approaches to joint authorship and organization? What vision guides the themes and keeps the characters consistent across multiple writers? Panelists from several virtual seasons will answer these questions and more.
  • Underwriting for Tearjerking: Creating Emotion without Sentimentality -- Alicia Rasley -- Using samples from fan fiction, author Alicia Rasley will demonstrate how subtlety can paradoxically create more emotion than overwriting.
  • Cold Dead What? A Lecture on Vampire Physiology -- Irfikos -- It’s tough to be a vampire: foreheads that can go all bumpy at the most inopportune moments, expensive dental bills, a complete inability to get a decent tan and an all-liquid diet. With all the different myths out there, it’s hard to separate the truth about vampires from the rumors we pick up on the streets. Well, now you don’t have to be embarrassed to ask. We’ve got the straight scoop on what goes on in a vampire’s body. We’ll let you know what canon says about it and what experts have to say on the matter. Don’t believe the rumors. Come get the facts!
  • I’ll Just be Over Here Twiddling My Thumbs: Writing Ensemble -- Moderator: Lizbeth_Marcs -- Panelists: Rachel Caine, Barb C, Colleen -- Servicing a large cast of characters requires forethought, organization and stamina. We’ve gathered a group of writers who take on these challenges and make it work; they’ll discuss the pitfalls of ensemble writing, the joys and challenges of group dynamics and the technical details of keeping it all straight during the process.
  • The Gateway for Lost Souls: Fanthropology -- Moderator: Nikitangel -- Panelists: Anna Genoese, Rhonda Wilcox, Laura/drinkthepoison, Scarlettgirl, Sweet_Ali -- Who are we, and what do we do that makes us “fans”? What differentiates a “real” fan from a non-fan? What are the different types of fans, and what do they do? After the curtain closes on a kiss, a smile, a rainy alleyway battle, where do all the fandoms go? What happens to fannish practices once there’s no new canon material to work with? What attracts you to a new fandom? In other words, what are y’all up to these days? This session is an invitation to engage in some unabashed navel-gazing, and have fun thinking and talking about various aspects of fan culture.

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Sunday:

  • Beginnings, Middles and Ends: The Challenges of Longer Forms -- Moderator: Alicia Rasley -- Panelists: Anna Genoese, Susan Sizemore, Gwynnega, Wesleysgirl -- Long, or novel-length, stories carry with them a set of challenges unique to the form – how do you open with a bang, keep the pace tight throughout and end with a satisfying conclusion? Our panel, made up of both writers and editors, will explore the techniques that make beginnings sharp and memorable, keep middles from bogging down and create logical endings that deliver on all their promises.
  • First Church of Joss: Representations of Religion -- Moderator: RevDorothyL -- Panelists: Rhonda Wilcox, Dancetomato, Harmonyfb, Salieri, Spiralleds, Sweet_Ali -- Lots of religions and belief systems are shown, or at least alluded to, on our favorite shows. Christianity, Judaism, Wicca, Atheism—just to name a few. Come talk about the metaphysical and the divine, and how they are portrayed. How important are they to the overall themes of the shows, and how big a deal is accuracy?
  • Proper Comma Placement Saves Lives! Making Grammar Work for You -- Moderator: EntreNous -- Panelists: Agilebrit, Fer1213, Miss Murchison -- Let’s slay Spike! Let’s slay, Spike! What a difference a comma makes! Proper mechanics allow your true meaning to be enjoyed by your readers. This session will offer tips on writing in the correct tense, narrating a story in a consistent person, punctuating for clarity, and keeping those pesky modifiers from dangling.
  • Inner Lives Characterization Workshop II -- Herself_nyc
  • Going Pro: Writing for Money -- Moderator: Harmonyfb -- Panelists: Rachel Caine, Anna Genoese, Susan Sizemore, Rhonda Wilcox -- Ever wondered what was behind the glamorous facade of the full-time writer? How you get started? How you get an agent? What it pays? Whether you write short stories, novels, or academic essays, our panel of distinguished professionals will reveal the ways and means behind writing for money.
  • Mean Girls vs. the Cult of Nice: Concrit in Action -- Moderator: Yin -- Panelists: Barb C, EntreNous, Salieri -- Mean, meaner, meanest! Or not. What’s the best approach to concrit? Which approach do you take? Who will win in the great battle of this panel? Come and take sides!
  • Rabbit Stew: How To Turn Your Plot Bunnies into Something Tasty -- Itsabigrock -- Bring your notebook and pencil along for a Plot Bunny Breeding Fest. Using Whedonverse scenes as inspiration, learn how to pull plot ideas, inspiration and what if scenarios from the shows and turn them into plausible extensions of canon. The panel will also briefly discuss writer’s resources, ways to research your ideas, and how to use ‘Bunny Hunting’ techniques to overcome writer’s block.
  • What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Plot -- Moderator: Barb C -- Panelists: Rachel Caine, Herself_nyc, Itsabigrock, Lizbeth Marcs -- The simple definition of plot is this: what happens in a story. It’s simple, and also not very useful. Plot, more usefully defined, is a structure made up of the significant events in a story and the things that happen because of those events’ significance. This session will explore the causality of plot; discuss what’s at stake and how it forms the story and the importance of making a scene within your work.
  • Crossover Free-for-All: Writing in Multiple Fandoms -- Moderator: Alizarin_nyc -- Panelists: Mosca, Sonyaelflady, Winterlive, Xanphibian -- Many of us write in more than one fandom. This session will cover the challenges and joys of writing in new fandoms, either on their ownor crossing over with previous fandoms. Our panelists will talk about finding your way in that shiny new fandom while keeping your finger on the pulse of a beloved old one.
  • A Purely Scientific Spell: Magic, Science and Technology -- Moderator: Ascian3 -- Panelists: Rhonda Wilcox, Colleen, Kalima, Lostakasha, Salieri -- Does science have consequences? What’s your favorite wiretapping software? And wow, what big fancy weapons you’ve got there! From cutting-edge high-tech to flaboten, all our shows make ample use of advanced means to their ends. How well do they use it, what does it mean, and what difference does it make (if any) which means they pick?
  • The Problem of Evil: Why We Love the Bad Boys/Girls -- Moderator: Barb C -- Panelists: Susan Sizemore, a2zmom, Irfikos -- It’s wrong, and you know it. They’re bad, evil, no-good snakes. Given half a chance, they’ll happily rob you blind, and probably kill all your friends while they’re at it (and your goldfish, too). They really deserve a well-aimed stake or other weapon, or at the very least a pointed quip and disdainful glare. How is it, then, that all they have to do is snap their fingers or give us a come-hither glance, a (literally) devilish grin or a malicious cackle, and we’re upside down and halfway to Happyland without a second thought? Oh, those bad boys and girls. They hurt so good. Let’s figure out what it is we love about ‘em.
  • Dear Sir or Madam: How to Write a Query Letter -- Rachel Caine, Anna Genoese -- The first thing any editor or agent will see of your work is your query. This workshop will help teach you how to write a letter and synopsis that will make editors want to see more.
  • The Good Stuff: Selected Authors Read from their Fic -- Moderator: Time of Change -- Come hear your favorite authors read from their work and maybe discover a new favorite in the process.
  • Turkey Readings (Hospitality) -- Do you have a hideously bad novel stashed on your bookshelf? How about fanfic that elicits tears of blood? One story that makes you want to wash your brain with bleach? Well, we want ‘em all. Bring those turkeys to Caritas, and bring your loose change, too. We’re going to read them to you, and better yet, see if we can get you to act some of them out!
  • Dead Plot Bunny Party: (Hospitality) -- We all survived, but the plot bunny didn’t quite make it. Let’s lift a glass and toast the muse while we discuss how to revive the sodding thing.

Con Reports: 2006

2009

  • Minneapolis, MN, July 31-August 2, 2009
  • Guests of Honor: Kristina Busse, Martha Wells

Writercon Q&A with Debra Doyle, Kristina Busse and Martha Wells prior to the 2009 Con.

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Friday:

  • Discuss! A Round Table Summit -- Moderator: Tania -- Panelists: callaoressene, Elizabeth Scrip, neadods, viciouswishes -- Moderator Tania is also known as itsabigrock. -- Fandom can often be insular, with little interaction between groups. We aim to show just how much we all have in common. Attendees from different fandoms will discuss predetermined themes, directed by a shadowy conspiracy who wants to rule your hearts and minds.
  • It’s a Thing: Choosing the Right Adjective -- Moderator: Rahirah -- Panelists: jinjurly, earlgreytea68, Debra Doyle -- Why say Cyclopean when you can say one-eyed? Is cerulean always better than blue? Our panel discusses how to decide between the dizzying array of descriptives to give your story the punch it needs.
  • Beta Writing Roundtable -- Moderator: michelel72 -- Panelists: yourlibrarian, jlrpuck -- Are you interested in being a beta but not sure what that entails? Are you an experienced beta with knowledge to share -- or a laundry list of things you wish other betas knew? Join this roundtable discussion of the beta process. Topics will include the different types of beta reading, the beta/author relationship, essential resources for the beta reader, common copyediting pitfalls and peeves, questions the beta should consider when analyzing the story, and more.
  • Is Fandom Gonna Have to Choke a Bitch? Language and Gender in Fanfiction -- Moderator: Mosca -- Panelists: Kristina Busse, enigmaticblue, Denny -- Unconscious use of gender-specific pejoratives can speak volumes about both the society the author hails from and the attitudes of that author’s characters. We talk about how to be more conscious of what we’re really saying – and when such language is an effective aid to our storytelling.
  • Tell It Like It Is: Review Writing -- Moderator: neadods -- Reviews can be written by anyone - fans for fans, pros for pros, fans for pros. This workshop will start with the basics, including how to condense a plot without spoilers, grabbing interest with quotes, how to be fair and honest (even if you don't like what you're reviewing), and what warnings reviewers owe readers. From there we will move to how to for different kinds of reviews - fanfic, professional fiction, nonfiction, TV/movies, audio, and books. We'll finish with a discussion of finding markets for these reviews, fannish or professional. Attendees are highly encouraged to bring short stories or plot synopsis of something they want to review for the hands-on portion of the workshop.
  • Making the Leap: Writing as a Career Choice -- Moderator: Martha Wells -- A talk/question and answer session on writing as a career and the basics that people starting out as writers need to know. How to submit stories for publication, how agents work, what the publishing process should be like, scams to avoid, publishing myths and misconceptions, and anything else the participants would like to discuss.
  • Enough Kissing, Get On With the Maiming! Gen-Fic -- Moderator: redeem147 -- Panelists: Debra Doyle, jinjurly, bastardsnow -- Talk about the nuts and bolts of crafting stories of adventure, mystery, horror, and action – without a romantic duo in sight.
  • Science for English Majors -- Moderator: kellyhk -- Panelists: Salieri, justhuman -- Are you a former English major in love with a show heavy on the engineering? We know how frustrating it is to try and write technobabble when you haven’t the foggiest idea of how it really goes. Let our panel of scientists give you the basic information you need to write convincing science fiction.
  • The Big Picture: Writing Larger Story Arcs -- Moderator: anaross -- How to keep your baseline arc steady while writing episodic stories.

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Saturday:

  • Scare Me to Death: Making Old Monsters New Again -- Moderator: gwynnega -- Panelists: Debra Doyle, inkandchocolate, harmonyfb -- The Creature. The Vampire. The Werewolf. Mummy, Zombie, Revenant, Ghost. These days, they’re as likely to be found shilling pizza, breakfast cereal, and beer than starring in our nightmares. How can we make these archetypes – old as imagination – inspire fear instead of nostalgia?
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: How the Internet Builds Communities Around Fanfic -- Moderator: scarlettgirl -- Panelists: Kristina Busse, Shaddyrkali, versaphile -- Blogging sites, message boards, newsletters and comms, you name it. Fanfic is the focal point for community-building world-wide. Come talk with our learned guests about how we find each other, what we get out of it, and whether we're all six degrees of separated from every other fan in existence.
  • Sharks Vs Jets: Writing Fight Scenes -- Moderator: racheline -- Writing action has unusual challenges – how to convey movement through a static medium, how to describe without bogging the action down in endless accounts of fists and fury. Together we’ll learn the rules for writing fights – and when to break them like a cheap stoolie. Let’s get ready to rumble!
  • Inner Lives: Discovering Story Through Exploring Character (1) -- Moderator: Herself_nyc -- In this workshop, we'll do some brief guided-ideation/writing exercises designed to help you learn about the characters you're writing about -- whether in fanfic or original fiction -- by acts of guided imagination with particular attention to sensory details. This is a material-generating workshop, which works well whether you have established characters, or just the merest sense of a person you'd like to explore through writing. Please come prepared with writing materials of your choice, and at least some idea of what character you'd like to work with during the 90 minute session. Between exercises there will be some opportunity to read aloud and hear (positive) feedback about your results.
  • Affect and the Individual Fan -- Moderator: Kristina Busse -- Kristina Busse will focus on tropes and their emotional impact. Tropes, the use of familiar plots, scenarios, and characterization, are a crucial part of fandom. They can be specific to a particular fandom, such as Pon Farr!first times, wishverse!AUs, and sentient!Atlantis fics; more often they transcend fannish boundaries, as in the case of amnesia, curtain!fic, and mpreg. Generic plots and themes are encountered within the shows we watch and books we read, and, in turn, we use them in the stories we write and the art we create. Tropes are a way to organize our fannish experiences: they allow fans to characterize fiction in archives, rec lists, and communities; they offer a shared framework in which to read and write stories; and they provide a vocabulary with which to analyze and talk about fiction. And yet critical fan meta often dismisses tropes as clichéd writing. Fandom thus is a culture torn between valuing originality and loving familiarity. Busse will open up the question of our own emotional investment in fan fiction, and the role fan fiction and their tropes play for us in our engagement with source and fan texts.
  • Expletive Deleted: How Explicit is Too Explicit -- Moderator: soundingsea -- Panelists: Debra Doyle, chicklet73, Tania -- Are fics improved by a little mystery, or should the world be your characters’ gynecologist?
  • The Language of Love: How Sex Scene Descriptives Color the Overall Story -- Moderator: racheline -- Panelists: versaphile, invisible_lift, LadyCat -- Do adjectives in a sex scene change the tenor of the entire story? Can you call it ‘making sweet love’ in a tale of betrayal and revenge, and vice versa? We explore whether sexual scenarios are more or less likely to set the tone for the story you’re trying to tell.
  • Writing Relationships Without Sex -- Moderator: anaross -- Sex seems so omnipresent in fic that it can sometimes overwhelm storytelling. This workshop will show you how to write relationships that don’t require sex to move the narrative along – not just between romantically-involved couples, but including friendships, sibling rivalries, parent-child dynamics, and other non-romantic attachments.
  • Dirty Drabbles -- Moderator: nwhepcat -- It's a late-night titillation sensation! Listen to raunchy drabbles based on the winners of the fundraiser pairings, and offer your own bawdy tales.

Panel and Workshop Descriptions: Sunday:

  • Here Be Pirates: The Thorny Problem of Plagiarism -- Moderator: Spiralleds -- If you love writing and fanfic enough to come to Writercon, it's quite likely you already know that plagiarism is wrong. But it still negatively impacts our fannish experience, particularly if we assume everyone understands it in the same way. Too often our plagiarism definitions are a lot like identifying pornography – we're sure we'll know it when we see it. This program will be a discussion of the gray areas that border plagiarism: homage, satire, popular culture references, hive mind, etc. We'll also discuss what actions we can take as writers, mods, award sites, archivists, etc., to move the implicit fandom norms about plagiarism to more explicit ones.
  • Cage Match: Science vs Magic -- Moderator: dancetomato -- Panelists: justhuman, kali, Martha Wells -- Does magic have any place in a science-driven universe? Can science exist in a magic-driven one? Will they duke it out or can they coexist in your narrative? Our panel discusses past use and future possibilities in a variety of settings.
  • Writer's Salon -- Moderator: Mosca -- If you've ever submitted your story to a beta, you know that the critique process can turn a good story into a great one. The Writers' Salon is like a face-to-face beta session, in which your story will be discussed by a small group of people who are passionate about writing. We'll give your story an honest critique, and you'll do the same for our stories, and then we'll all go home energized and ready to rewrite. We'll also discuss how to set up your own writing critique groups, whether online or face-to-face.
  • Weird Americana: Local History and Folklore as Source and Background Material for Supernatural Fanfic -- Moderator: Debra Doyle -- To quote myself (in "Kansas Burning," a Supernatural meta post I made some time back on LiveJournal): "Let's begin with a position statement: Supernatural isn't just horror/fantasy; it's deeply and specifically American horror/fantasy." As such, some of its most effective monsters-of-the-week have been drawn from regional history and legend; nor have fanfic writers neglected this rich vein of source material. Not every writer, though, has the advantage of physical proximity to all this local color; the workshop, accordingly, will also explore alternate means -- the internet, library research, asking questions of your friends and relatives and the occasional helpful stranger -- of digging it up and transforming it into story."
  • Evil in Our Midst: Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in Fandom -- Moderator: RevDorothyL -- Panelists: kali, invisible_lift, Rahirah -- Fans often fall prey to the notion that we’re better than other people. Unfortunately, prejudices are present in fandom just as in all subcultures. We examine what we can do to make our corner of the world a more tolerant place.
  • Inner Lives: Discovering Story Through Exploring Character (2) -- Moderator: Herself_nyc -- In this workshop, we'll do some brief guided-ideation/writing exercises designed to help you learn about the characters you're writing about -- whether in fanfic or original fiction -- by acts of guided imagination with particular attention to sensory details. This is a material-generating workshop, which works well whether you have established characters, or just the merest sense of a person you'd like to explore through writing. Please come prepared with writing materials of your choice, and at least some idea of what character you'd like to work with during the 90 minute session. Between exercises there will be some opportunity to read aloud and hear (positive) feedback about your results.

Con Reports: 2009

Links

Writercon Official Website

Writercon LiveJournal Community

Writercon100 Drabble Community at LiveJournal

Writercon Story Archive

Convention Fans Blog feature on Writercon

References