Monday, October 20, 2008

Capclave Recap

Just got back from Capclave. Here are my thoughts on the science fiction and fantasy literary convention.

First of all, I want to thank all of a the wonderful people at The Washington Science Fiction Association, the panelists and speakers, the other attendees, and all the volunteers who made the convention a reality. A convention is a lot of hard work, and the organizers even stuck around at the end to hear people (constructively) complain!

And now, a breakdown.

Panels: Excellent! Great information, well-delivered, and good audience participation. I attended panels on YA Science Fiction, working on your fiction-writing career, working in a writing-related field while trying to launch your fiction-writing career, and magic in a mundane world (among other things). I think they're planning on increasing the amount of time between panels next year, which was the only qualm I had. I liked how they had three to five panelists at each talk so that we got to listen to some great discussions. The panelists all played off of each other well, and the talks were never dull.

Workshops: I attended the writing workshop moderated by Allen Wold. Allen is quite a force to be reckoned with! I received some great insight into my writing.

Socialization: I felt a little more comfortable meeting people at the GLVWG writers' conference I went to last March, mainly because the meals were in the hotel and shared by most of the conference attendees and speakers. But I did get to talk to some wonderful people at Capclave, including editors, gamers, authors, and librarians (librarians are quickly becoming one of my favorite types of people!). I only wish that I had known that the parties written on the board were "open parties" - I probably would have met even more interesting people!

Here are some of the people I did meet, in no particular order:

Allen Wold - Author, panelist, moderator, taskmaster. A man deft and encouraging in his criticisms who left the writers with the feeling they could make something good out of their writing. If you ever get a chance to take a class with him (he teaches at conferences and cons all throughout the year) I strongly suggest you take it. Allen is a multi-published science fiction and non-fiction author.

Edmund R. Schubert - Now, here's an interesting story. I found out that Edmund was editor for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, which sounded familiar. I realized that I had heard about that magazine through my interview with Jason Sanford, and I asked Edmund if he knew Jason. He said yes, then I said I'd interviewed Jason, and THEN Edmund said he'd read my interview! I checked my blog later, and I realized that, in his interview, Jason actually recommended Edmund highly. Talk about coming full circle! Anyway, Edmund was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the subject at hand and all things science fiction. I'm very lucky to have met him in person. Check out his website to see his new book!

Larry Hodges - Now here's a guy who would make a great character in a story. Larry is working on is first science fiction novel. He also maintains a blog about politics, AND he's a retired table-tennis coach. Which is actually turns out to be a fairly lucrative profession. Did you know that table-tennis players in Europe can make more than a million dollars a year? Larry is the only person I know who can write, coach table-tennis, and recite the histories of every single president complete with terms of office. His frequent participation in workshops and overall enthusiasm about the writing industry make him a great resource.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail - Danielle is a woman who knows a lot about creative promotion! Her launch parties are apparently legendary in this part of the industry, and she gives away great candy. She's a fantasy author and an anthologist. She's also a great person to know, who really, truly gets joy out of her work.

Danny Birt - Danny is trying to single-handedly destroy the fantasy formula of 1.) person meets sage 2.) person quests for magical object 3.) person destroys the Great Evil. He's also a composer of both classical and filk music (a type of science fiction folk music), and an adept manuscript critiquer.

Davey Beauchamp - Davey likes to use his art for a good cause. He's an anthologist who has compiled science fiction stories to provide relief from natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Davey is also a YA librarian, and he provided some great insight into the kind of styles that would interest a younger audience.

Conclusion: Terrific convention. Great information. Beautiful location. Very accepting of and willing to help newbies, once they figured out I was one. :) If you're in the MD/DC/VA area, and you're at all interested in reading, writing, or learning more about science fiction and fantasy, put Capclave 2009 on your calendar!

Update: I also wanted to mention Darcy, who was one of the leaders of the writing workshop, and gave me excellent advice about dancing. She didn't have a nametag, but I'm guessing that she's Darcy Wold, Allen Wold's daughter. Thanks Darcy for your help!

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