Wednesday, July 16, 2014

GenCon Bound

I had never heard of GenCon before my husband and I began dating. This is kind of funny when you consider how close I lived to one of the largest gaming conventions in the country during long portions of my life. Of course, before my husband came into my life, I was a girl who enjoyed games, not a gamer girl. Even now, compared to hard-core gamers, I have barely put my toes into the water.

The year we married, T and I went to GenCon. In fact, we joke that we brought our daughter home with us as GenCon swag (the timing almost works).

That first year, I was startled, to say the least. This is a HUGE event. Overstimulating doesn't begin to cover it. The dealer's hall alone can take an entire day to fully explore. It's visually overwhelming, too, with cosplayers and demonstrators everywhere. Luckily, I had a great tour guide, who set me up with a tourney to enjoy (Dreamblade!) and understood that I'd need to retreat to our room from time to time to read in the quiet.

We've only been back once so far. (Children are expensive and take up a lot of time.) But the second time we went, I learned about the Writer's Symposium, sort of an event within an event there at the con.  It features seminars and workshops for writers. Of course, it concentrates on genre writers . . . after all, it is a gaming con. But the advice is applicable to any kind of writing. I attended a few sessions that year. There was one about writing physical combat scenes (the session was called Mano a Mano) that proved invaluable to me two years later, when I was writing the final battle scene in my superhero novel. I can't wait to see what I can learn this year!

The best part is the price. Most writing conferences are too rich for my blood. It's a catch-22 in that I don't feel I can justify the expense when I'm not yet making money on my writing, even if that's a good way to learn how to make money from my writing.

But, I can go to the Writer's Symposium for the cost of my $80 pass, and little else.  Most of the
Writer's Symposium events are free. The few I chose that did cost, were $8 each. Now, that fits my budget. Plus, now I have a cousin in Indianapolis. She'll let me crash with her and save me the hotel monies as well.

So this year, I'm in an odd spot, heading to the Best Four Days in Gaming, without my gamer guy. I'll be spending most of my time in the Writer's Symposium, learning about the business of writing from writers who are maybe just a little ahead of me in this venture, and from bigger names in the field. I'll get three days of focus on writing in an environment full of my potential readers. I'm one lucky girl.

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