This is day two of the Can-Con 2015 and today I'm talking about what it's like to be a panellist at this convention.
Okay that's it. End of today's post. Good talk, everyone.
- But seriously. panelling.
My first ever panel was at Can-Con. I volunteered precisely because the idea of being in front of people and talking about things terrified the spirit out of me.
But here's the thing, I planned (and still do) on making a living writing fiction. In order to do that, I needed to get myself out there and, in truth, speaking engagements are now and have always been part of book selling. I volunteered because I lacked the skill to speak well before large groups of people, and it was something I really needed to rectify.
I had a blast! It was so much fun to sit beside people and geek out over the same things in a way the audience appreciated... or at least they appeared to.
Now, that once again boils down to the people, and I've already waxed lyrical about how wonderful the people in and around Can-Con are, so I'll lay that to rest for now...
... But they are really awesome...
Panelling is still ridiculous fun, and the programming at Can-Con is genuinely spectacular. Honestly, I have such a hard time picking panels I want to view when I'm there. Naturally, it means that this year I didn't get to see any panels (except the panel on how to pitch on Friday night). My schedule this year was not as busy with panels as it was last year, for which I am very grateful, for many reasons - I was pitching, had a reading, I had family commitments and so forth.
Because I couldn't go to all of them, I'll only briefly recap the ones I do know something about.
Backstories and the Development of Villians or The Panel in Which I Make My Disdain of One Dimensional Characters Known
This panel was fantastic. I got to geek out over my favourite characters with my fellow panellists, Timothy Carter, Max Turner, Nicole Lavigne (who moderated beautifully), brought up the issue of perspective in deciding villainy, and even managed to sneak in some references to video games. I talked a bit about Joel from The Last of Us and how, depending on your perspective, he's either a hero or the worst of villains. It was a wonderful panel and everyone had something amazing to bring to the table.
Preparing to Pitch Novels
I was not on the panel here. I was in the audience. The marvellous Marie Bilodeau moderated a spectacular panel of publishers and editors - Hayden Trenholm, Gabrielle Harbowy, Robert Runté and Elizabeth Hirst - in which they talked at length about how to pitch and what publishers really are looking for. Here are some things to keep in mind for when you're ready to pitch:
- Small presses especially are looking as much at the writer as the writing. How you present yourself is incredibly important (more on that in my post about pitching).
- Know your themes. It was acknowledged that this is extremely difficult for writers, but it helps.
- Really pay attention to what the publishers are looking for, but a lot of them are open to letting you practice pitching even if you don't have something they want. WHAT ABSOLUTE SWEETHEARTS!
- Dance. Okay this one wasn't said, but there's a lot of nervous energy before, during and after pitching. Dancing helps.
Naming Exoworlds: Why Call it “Fomalhaut b” Instead of “Leisurely Fish”? or The "Why Am I Here Again? I'm Not An Astronomer" Panel
I sat on a fantastic panel with really knowledgeable people (Christina Vasilevski, Gillian Clinton, and Andrew Barton (who moderated so well)) and talked about naming planets both in real life and in fiction. Good grief was this a fascinating panel. Even just sitting on the panel, I learnt so very much, and it was a great discussion about naming conventions and astronomy, science and opening it up to the average lay person. Good grief was it ever good!
Portraying the Past or The "I Geek Out About Archaeology Stuff" Panel
Myself, Ariel Bolton, Cenk Gokce, and Jean-Louis Trudel had a lengthy chat about how to balance portraying the past and telling a great tale. This was such a fascinating panel. And I geeked out. A lot. And when I geek out, I tend to talk without cease. I hope I wasn't overbearing, but OMG GUYS THIS STUFF IS SOOOOOO COOOOOOOOOOL! Ahem. A great panel with fantastic panellists again. How did I find myself in the company of such amazing people?
Fantasy Novels: A Readers' Panel or The "I Fangirl Over Steven Erikson... Again." Panel
Well, you all know what happened. I ranted about how brilliant I find Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. So many great recommendations coming from all of the panellists (Jonathan Crowe, Peter Halasz, and Nicole Lavigne, with Linda Poitevin moderating brilliantly). It was so much fun talking books with people who love them as much as I do (though I did mix up a new release with a much older release... so, there was that).
Transport and Armament in the Ancient and Medieval World or The "I Geek Out Over Celtic Studies Stuff... Again" Panel
I moderated this one, so I will discuss it more in length tomorrow. I did want to take this opportunity to thank the panellists Ariel Bolton, Evan May, and Jean-Louis Trudel for such a fiercely interesting, really brilliant panel. I hope I wasn't a terrible moderator.
So this is all the programming I was privy to, because scheduling and whatnot. Honestly, the programming this year was fabulous. I am so excited about next year's programming. For now, however, I have to go Work and stuff.
That's the technical word. "Stuff."
Reminder: Human was released on Hallowe'en. Those of you who have pre-ordered the eBook should have had it delivered to your devices already. Paperbacks are on their way. If you missed out on the pre-order but want a copy, click HERE for your purchase options.