My GenCon Seminar Schedule

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GenCon is really just around the corner. It runs August 4th – 7th in Indianapolis. It’s my favorite con, mostly because I grew up with it, and because it has a bajillion gaming-related things, but it’s also had an authors’ track for years called the Writer’s Symposium that has turned into something really special.

Once upon a time, it was a pretty small group of authors, and we had a loyal following that would come and check out our panels. But Marc Tassin has really taken it up a notch, growing along with GenCon, to become one of the most comprehensive conventions for aspiring writers and game designers.

It has tracks that range from the nuts and bolts of writing to the business side to how to talks on realistic fighting from people who actually fight for a living. And on the game design side, it has a host of topics for those looking to break into writing or designing games.

As I have for the past many years, I’ll be giving a number of seminars on the craft of writing. I’ve started to gravitate more to these because, while I like the back and forth and free-flowing nature of the panel talks, I find that I can really dig into topics in a more structured manner by giving focused seminars, and if the feedback I’ve received on them is any indication, young writers like them as well.

I have six seminars this year. If you’re coming to GenCon, I’d love to see you there! Do keep in mind that the seats are limited. Each of my seminars listed below have 60 seats total, and nearly a third have been sold in each already.

Thursday at 9:00 – 10:00 AM – Mastering Fiction – Creating Compelling Stories by Setting & Breaking Expectations

The ability to recognize patterns is a basic human trait. We use it over and over in our fiction. This seminar discusses how to use patterns to your benefit by both setting and breaking expectations. Various techniques such as character building, plot progression, plot twists and setbacks, and world building will be discussed.

Thursday at 3:00 – 4:00 PM – Mastering Fiction – Tension on Every Page

Tension is one of the basic building blocks of modern day fiction. If you know how to lay the seeds of tension, and how to coax them, you can transform your fiction from merely noteworthy to exceptional. In this seminar, the different types of tension are discussed, as well as ways to maximize them to keep your reader glued to the page.

Thursday at 4:00 – 5:00 PM – Mastering Fiction – The Structure of Scenes

Well-structured scenes make for compelling storytelling. How can you construct powerful scenes? And how do you string scenes together to create a vivid and stirring piece of writing? In this seminar, you’ll learn how to structure scenes that work, whether you’re writing a short story or the next breakout novel.

Friday at Noon – 1:00 PM – Book Signing in Author’s Alley

Join me! Bring snacks! Bring books! They don’t even have to be mine! I’m happy to sign Scott Lynch’s or Sam Sykes’ books as well as my own!

Friday at 3:00 – 4:00 PM – Mastering Fiction – Plotting Techniques of the Professional Writer

Plotting is one of the more difficult disciplines to master in writing. Some writers have an innate sense of what makes a story work, but most writers, particularly those early in their apprenticeships, will benefit from plotting. This seminar focuses on various plotting techniques, from basic structural concepts, initial plotting and eventual refinement, how to break the dreaded writer’s block and how to avoid it in the first place.

Friday at 4:00 – 5:00 PM – Mastering Fiction – Vibrant Writing Through Connective Tissue

In writing, there are many different techniques that are rarely discussed together. Foreshadowing, parallel threads, theme, tone, character building, and more. In this seminar, these topics are discussed from the viewpoint of strengthening the story as a whole, taking a story that feels loose and directionless and working with the material that’s already there to make it strong and vibrant.

Saturday at 4:00 – 5:00 PM – Mastering Fiction – Brainstorming Your Way to a Breakout Novel

Novels begin with an idea, and the bigger the idea, the more likely you are to attract the notice of agents, editors, and readers. In this seminar, learn techniques that can help you generate your Big Idea from the start, which will help to guide you to writing a novel that will stand out from the crowd.


  1. Julie Hall

    August 4, 2016 at 7:51 am

    I attended your Gencon panels last year, and again this year, but my pen couldn’t take notes fast enough. Could I have a copy of your presentations please?

    • Brad

      August 8, 2016 at 8:50 am

      Email sent. Let me know if you didn’t receive it, Julie.