My GenCon Schedule

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I'll be heading down to Indianapolis tomorrow for four fun-filled days with all my gamer geeks—peeps! I meant peeps!

Ahem… In any case, here's my schedule for the convention if you happen to be around:


10am — Selling Short Fiction: Selling short fiction can be a long road, especially in a marketplace with dwindling print anthologies and falling magazine sales. But short fiction is still an art worth pursuing. Our panelists discuss markets, techniques, and how penning short stories can improve your chances of publishing novels. 

11am — To Plot or Not: Is it better to write by the proverbial seat of your pants or to painstakingly outline each chapter? Both approaches to writing novels, short stories, and game material work, but is one method better? Our panelists discuss the pros and cons of plotting in advance.

1pm — How Not to be Published: Writers often commit errors that thwart their chances for success and send them down a dead end rather than along the road to publication. Our panelists discuss mistakes writers make and what you can do to increase your chances of catching an editor’s eye. 

2pm — I've Finished a Novel, Now What…: What do you do with your finished novel? Approach an agent? A publisher? Put it on your shelf and admire the stack of papers? Start on the rewrite? We’ll look at the next steps, including how to delve into your second manuscript. After all, the true test of an author is not stopping after the first book. 

4pm — Pick Our Brains:  Once again, the Zombie Apocalypse is happening in Indianapolis. Come listen to me and Dave Gross talk about, well, whatever it is you'd? like to talk about.


11am — Villains as Heroes: Can your main character be something far less than a knight in shining armor? There’s something alluring about a “bad boy,” and if carefully executed, you can make the star of your tale downright dirty. We provide insight into how to handle the anti-protagonist. 

1pm — The Structure of Scenes: Well structured scenes make for compelling story telling. How can you construct powerful scenes for a novel or short story? And how do you string scenes together to create a vivid and stirring piece of writing? Learn everything you need to know about the art of structuring scenes. 

2pm — Signing at Author's Alley: I'll have The Winds of Khalakovo, ready to inscribe with the naught limerick of your choice.


8am — Setting as Character: Where you set your tale can be as important as the characters you populate it with. Crafting a vivid setting that is integral to your plot is an art. Our panelists will discuss how they paint their backdrops and offer suggestions about how you can bring your own settings to life.

9am — Thinking in Threes: Approaching the Trilogy: Writing three books is more work than one, but it goes beyond the mere output of words. Approaching a three-book arc takes a different approach to plotting and research. In a trilogy, the bar is raised by your publisher and readers. We’ll show you how to reach it. 

1pm — Tension and Conflict: How do you build tension? What’s more . . . how can you sustain it and avoid the pitfalls of not having enough in your fiction? Panelists present techniques for turning your work into a page-turner. 

2pm — Signing at Author's Alley: Once more, with gusto… I'll have The Winds of Khalakovo, ready to inscribe with the really naught limerick of your choice.

7pm — Read and Critique: Join me, along with Patrick Tomlinson, Steven Saus, and Maxwell A. Drake, as we listen to portions of writing from budding authors and critique what we've heard. Have your prose critiqued by professionals.  Presenters will have three to five minutes to read their material. They will receive verbal critiques based on the “critique sandwich” method. Attendance is limited to those being critiqued. Pre-registration is required.


9am — Business of Writing: The Basics: Be prepared to take notes. Now that you have your world built, your characters filled with angst, and your plot twisted, we’re going to give you more than a few tips on preparing your manuscript. We’ll also provide sage advice on catching an editor’s eye . . . in a good way. 

10am — The Business of Writing: Agents & Query Letters & Pitches: Writing might be an art, but there’s a side that’s all business. Do you need an agent, and how do you get one? How important is the query letter, and how do you write one? And what about pitches? We’ll offer the tools you’ll need if you want to get serious about the business of writing!