Tuesday, August 4, 2015

GenCon 2015 Report Part 1 - Day 0 and Day 1

Day 0 - Road Trip Wednesday!
Despite a rough night's sleep as I was excited and anxious to attend GenCon, we left Toronto around 10am and crossed over the border at Detroit. We got lost for about half in hour in the Detroit suburbs before we got an internet connection that helped us get back on the right road.

After about a 9 hour drive through 2 states and constructions delays, we arrived in Indianapolis. It was easy to find street parking and we joined the long line at Will Call to pick up our tickets and badge. The line moved quickly and smoothly.

Outside at the Sun King Brewery tent, I snagged a cup of The Froth of Khan from the last keg of last year's Gen Con Official beer and after that drive, it went down smoothly. We had a nice Italian dinner at the Palomino restaurant.

The Froth of Khan!

Our hotel was near the airport and the drive out there was relatively easy. We settle down for the evening and planned for our first day at GenCon!

Day 1 - Thursday

We got up early, drove downtown to find some parking. Traffic was a bit crazy in the downtown core, but we fought our way through and found parking less than a mile away from the convention center. I checked in at the Press Room and got my badge with ease. The Press Room was a pleasant Oasis in the madness of the Con. The delightful staff there were friendly and welcoming and kept the refreshments stocked.

I skipped my first seminar to spend a bit of time getting my bearings and to taking it all in. The masses were assembling at the entrance to the Exhibit Hall as the door opened at 10am.

Attended the second part of Alexander Drake's "Anatomy of a Fight Scene" at 10am, which had some solid practical advice on how to write up a good fight scene. I couldn't resist the lure of the Exhibit Hall and snuck downstairs after 11am to see what was going on. And it was crazy insane! I spent the next hour just walking around, overwhelmed by all the exhibitors and boardgames. 

I headed back up to the Symposium for my noon class, "Tension on Every Page", by author Brad Beaulieu. Using the Hunger Games as a guide, Beaulieu walked us through the techniques to establish and harvest conflict through a novel. Lots of great advice. Will have to re-read the Hunger Games with more of an eye to see how it was done so effectively.

My first panel of the symposium was "Character Craft - Common People in Epic Conflict". Lots of great debates and discussion on character requirements for an epic story and how to craft them. "When to Show, When to Tell" was next and focused on how you can provide maximum impact with minimal words. A great tip was to pay attention when you're reading and when a particular emotion is stirred, invest the time to look back and see how the author made you feel that way.

The last seminar for the day was Michael Stackpole's "Badass Badguys". Stackpole broke down badguys into categories, highlighting the differences and how you can use them in your fiction. I'm particularly interested in serial fiction, so it was great to see how you could evolve your antagonists from category to category. I learned a lot from this class and will be keen on reshaping my novel's antagonists.

Wrapped up the day by doing another tour of the Exhibit Hall and had dinner at California Pizza.

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