Con Season Crunch Time

I suddenly realized that it had been a few weeks since I went all goofy talking about conventions, so I thought I had better sit down and bang out a post before you all got withdrawals.1

I received the Sneak Peek version of the
Penguicon schedule. As it is not finalized, I am not going to list times or places or anything.2 However, I can let you know what panels I am tentatively scheduled to be on and what they are going to be about.

Where Do The Ideas Come From?
This is one of my favorite topics, as far as answering questions from people who are not writers. I especially like answering this question if the person asking it has read something of mine and was creeped out about it.
3 I think story generation is absolutely fascinating. Hopefully I can get across my big point which is that one cool idea is not a whole novel. There should be a lot of stuff in there working together.

Writer’s Groups and Networking
A few years ago I was on a panel about writers groups. I was in an interesting position, as the
Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers is more like a professional organization with a dash of fandom thrown in. We are not what people traditionally think of as a writers group. We don’t meet once a month to critique each others work. I have participated in those types of organizations, though. I also know of a number of on-line groups that function well in this capacity. Given the location and time of this panel, it may be more of a networking type get together. I’m totally cool with that.

You’ve Written It, Now What?
I’ve already started jotting down notes for this one. I hope I can stem the tide of would be authors who feel that once the book is written their work is done and all they have to do is pass it off to someone else who does all the heavy lifting in terms of editing (or worse, they just publish it digitally without so much as a spell check). That may have been the case in the past, but not any more.

Are We Sick of the Undead Yet?
Of course we aren’t! What a stupid question! Why would you even ask that? All kidding aside, there has been a metric ass-load of zombie stuff over the past decade or so and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. There is a similar amount of glittery, emo vampire stuff as well. It would seem that society would be getting to the point where it is ready to leave the undead behind (for crying out loud, zombies are being used as stand ins for natural disasters for first responders). Have we reached the tipping point? Why are the undead so prevalent and popular? I have been on panels discussing this in the past. It’s another favorite topic of mine.

Who Is Your Monster?
This is the panel I am most concerned about. It (like all of the ones I am on this year) was something I suggested. My plan was to take a poll of the room to find out which monsters people most identified with, then discuss the possible psychological ramifications of these choices. What does each of the classic monster archetypes represent?

Make ‘Em Laugh
Comedy in genre fiction, how is it used? I have the occasional funny piece. I hope to have a discussion about using humor to relieve tension, ridiculous topics as the centerpiece of fiction, etc. This is another panel I have been on before.

Genre-Crossing: The Peanut Butter Cup of the Literary World
You got your magic in my detective story! Well you got your science fiction trope in my fantasy story! The once firm lines of genre fiction are becoming increasingly blurry (see: my undead lover). Another crowd favorite.

Genre v Mainstream/Lit Fic: Are We Still Debating This?
I suggested this one because I am really interested in what other people think on the subject. There was a time not so long ago that genre fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy, were looked at as books for adolescents and those stuck in adolescence. The last thing an author wanted to be was labeled a genre fiction writer (and there were those who fought against these labels). What does this mean for the gajillion people who read the Harry Potter series? Then there is the snooty factor. If a book is popular, it can’t be any good. “I only read things by starving authors...” I think I have a unique perspective on this one, as horror is the red headed step child of genre fiction. Hell, we don’t even get a section in Barnes and Noble (but there is still a Western section because
that is such a booming category).5

If you have been keeping count, the answer is yes, I am on EIGHT panels this year. Holy crap what was I thinking? While this means that I am going to be totally wiped come the end of the weekend, my schedule doesn’t look that bad. Without going into detail
6, I may be able to jet out on Saturday to attend Motor City Nightmares instead of going on Sunday. Or maybe I will go both days. We’ll see. There is also the chance that I may sign up to do a reading at Penguicon. Who knows?

As far as other prep goes, tomorrow I plan on putting together all of the things I want to get signed at MCN. The thing at the top of the list is to get my copy of
Behind the Mask of the Horror Actor signed by Doug Bradley (PINHEAD HIMSELF!). Of course I also want my copy of Hellraiser signed too. If I can, I will have Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss sign my copy of Nightmare on Elm Street. I also want to get Michael Rooker’s autograph. Maybe on Slither? I am hoping he has a picture of himself as Merle next to Daryll from The Walking Dead. Seeing as Norman Reedus will be at Motor City Comic Con, if I could get both Dixon boys on one photo...

Oooooo, maybe the new Walking Dead video game...

Ahem. Sorry about that.

Tomorrow I am going to spend some time getting my one costume ready for MCCC. I am no where near as far along as I had hoped to be by this point. I’ve also ordered a few things on-line which will be making appearances at MCCC, but I’m keeping those a surprise for now.

1 Actually, that’s not true at all. Well, the not writing about Con stuff is, but not the other part. I had planned on making this a skip day as far as writing was concerned, but The Mrs was not able to sleep at all last night so she crashed early. I found myself with a few hours of awake time and no idea what to do with them, so I figured I should get some writing in.

2 As soon as the final schedule is posted I will let you know where I will be and when.

3 That changes where the emphasis is placed on the sentence “How do you come up with the stuff you write?”

4 The first panel I was ever on discussed this topic. That was four or five years ago. I introduced myself as a horror writer whose first published short story was about zombies, whose first paid submission was about zombies, and who had zombie poetry including a zombie haiku published.

5 No, I’m not bitter.

6 More on that after it’s finalized, remember?