Thursday, August 6, 2015

GenCon 2015, Part Two

Living local to Indianapolis, I had the opportunity most of last week to travel to GenCon, self-described as "the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world!" Over the course of three days, I played a variety of different tabletop games, attended some writing seminars, and got to participate in several sessions of the Dungeon and Dragons Adventurers League. So all this week, I'll be blogging about my experience at GenCon this year. Today, I want to discuss my experience with the GenCon Writer's Symposium.

For over 20 years, the GenCon Writer's Symposium has offered attendees at this event the opportunity to attend seminars hosted by some of the best speculative fiction authors of our time, favoring practical topics designed to help new and aspiring writers the opportunity to grow and hone their craft. This year, the Symposium offered over 140 hours of programming, with more than 75% offered free of charge with admission to GenCon. They featured more than 70 fantastic authors and experts, including 2015 Author Guest of Honor Terry Brooks, Special Guest Chuck Wendig, Bill Willingham, Kameron Hurley, Patrick Rothfuss, and Cat Rambo.

Unfortunately, one of the luminaries who was not in attendance was Mary Robinette Kowal, who was scheduled to teach a seminar on short story writing which I had paid to attend. She ended up having to cancel her appearance for personal reasons, which was quite disappointing, as that seminar was probably what I was looking forward to the most. But between my wife and I, we attended well over 20 hours of lectures over the course of the weekend, and while the quality varied somewhat, a great deal of the material was absolutely fantastic.

The highlight for me, however, was actually getting to attend the live-recording of one of the best writing podcasts ever called Writing Excuses, which I blogged about several years back after my wife was awarded a scholarship to their first ever Writing Excuses Retreat. While neither Mary nor Brandon Sanderson were in attendance, our live audience had a blast listening and even interacting with Howard Taylor and Dan Wells. It will probably be quite some time before those episodes go live, but once they do, I have no doubt you'll be able to hear my wife laughing at several points in at least two of the episodes. In any case, I'll certainly let you know when those episodes are available.

Next time, I'll talk about my experience playing the amazing variety of games.

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