Dragon*Con 2012: Monday is calmer

September 6, 2012

I made a particular point of planning to stay in Atlanta through Labor Day so that I could enjoy all of the Monday programming – as well as getting there on Thursday so that I’d be ready to rock first thing Friday. Overall I’m pleased that I did, but Monday was definitely a quieter day on the programming schedule, and I was ready for it after three days of high-energy Con-ning. On my way out of the Westin, I spotted this well-dressed Steampunk couple:

I headed on down to the WeyrFest room first – their first panel was ‘Dreams of Dragons; who else did Anne inspire to write about dragons and dragonriders?’ It’s funny how one of the first names anybody mentioned was Christopher Paolini, but there were some other books discussed; several of them went onto my ‘to be read’ list.

There was also an interesting side note about Ursula LeGuin and Earthsea, although she was admittedly a peer of Anne; the lady in the row behind me admitted that she’d always thought of the speech of the making in ‘Earthsea’ to be telepathic and not verbal, just because that was how people and dragons talked on Pern.

I stayed for a second WeyrFest panel; ‘If I could only…’ about if we could visit one of Anne’s worlds, which I remember being discussed earlier in the weekend as well. This time slot actually turned into a mostly off-topic but hugely enjoyable ramble by Todd, discussing things like his mother’s horse stables and current deliberations of the estate regarding future writings in any of the worlds she created.

Next, I returned to the Writing track homeroom for a talk on ‘Goal, Motivation, and Conflict‘ by the woman who started it all, Debra Dixon. It was great stuff, I feel like I understand GMC and how to apply it to my writing better, and I have a great further reading list, including Debra’s own book, which I hadn’t quite realized existed.

She did an example GMC worksheet for Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, (which she admitted was a basic example, but better to get through in a one-hour talk with questions from the audience,) and I took tons of notes on the Eclypse phone.

Note to self: I still need to find a better text editor or word processing app for that device. I was using Polaris Office, which isn’t too bad, but it scrolls left and right to an imaginary page width instead of wrapping to phone width, and every time I use the FN key to type in a symbol it moves the cursor to the beginning of the line. I was in a hurry, so kept typing periods or commas in place of the punctuation I wanted to use. I hope I’ll be able to read the notes okay.

By this point, most of the tracks were into wrap-up panels. WeyrFest wrap-up was in the same time slot as GMC, but I went to the Whedon Universe wrap-up first, “WU in review”, where people had lots of praise to give the track volunteers, some constructive feedback and some venting about things (like sound and video setup, guest booking) that were completely out of the track staff’s hands.

Then things got side-tracked into a discussion of costume contest standards – apparently there was a blonde Cordelia cosplayer who’d been given a Judge’s Favorite award in the Whedon Universe costume contest, even though the guy in charge of the track had strong feelings that in a costume contest, anybody who didn’t match the character they were coming as in an obvious detail of appearance should be penalized for it – but he couldn’t overrule the judges on that score.

The final wrap-up I went to was the BritTrack, which was much more informal. The staff were reading out feedback cards when I got in, and several of them were teasing and roasting the track director – a charming woman who’s apparently getting married next summer.

And that was it for the organized con. I picked up a soft serve cone, went back to my hotel room, watched some videos on the netbook, and got to bed early.

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Dragon*Con 2012: Day 1

September 3, 2012

So, I finished my Friday post having finished Camp Nanowrimo and just about to rush off for my first day of Dragon*Con panels for this year, right? 🙂

First, a little Dragon*Con 101, to help you understand what I’m talking about, and maybe give you a feel for what going is like. Dragon*Con is organized into dozens of fan tracks like WeyrFest, Whedon Universe, BritTrack, and American Sci-Fi Media – those are the ones that I’ve been mostly following. Each track has a ‘home room’ in one of the hotels, where the smaller panels and events will be held, and will reserve a larger ballroom for bigger events, like when they have a celebrity guest Q&A. Often the larger room will be in the same hotel as the home room.

Whedon Universe and BritTrack are very ‘big’ tracks, with a lot of people attending at least a few of their events; bigger rooms, longer lines, and bigger stars, which often does mean bigger fun. Weyrfest is a lot smaller, and doesn’t often leave the Vinings room on the lowest conference level of the Hyatt hotel.

The second thing you need to understand is about the schedule. Each track sets its own schedule, and though there are exceptions, generally the schedules are synchronized on a pattern of one hour for an event, then half an hour for people to get to their next event. So you have panels from 10am to eleven, and then the next panels start at 11:30, and so on through the day until 8:30pm, and then 10pm. Each track generally runs one item in each time slot, though occasionally they’ll have a gap or two choices at the same time, and they each make their own decisions about how early they start or late they go on a particular day. There are often some late parties that run longer than an hour.

Finally, a map! I never found the maps they have in the DragonCon program to be too easy to understand, and sort of learned the layout by trial and error last year. Here’s my own map, not to scale, but it clearly shows everything important, and also gives a few street names:

 

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