We attended Can*Con, the Aurora Award winning Speculative Fiction convention in Ottawa, Canada.
There, we spotted the Aurora Award winning author, Kate Heartfield, and managed to get a photo-op with the TARDIS.
So I went to Can-Con this weekend and it was wonderful. Kate Heartfield described it as feeling like a family reunion. That is the perfect description of Can-Con.
I’d rather not write a play by play of everything I saw but I’ll give you some highlights.
One of the things I love most about Can-Con are the Panels. They are informative and entertaining.
There are three kinds of panels at Can-Con; Educational, Presentational, and Entertainment.
When I really care about something or know a lot about something I can be a little bit of a loudmouth. This means that I have less fun in educational panels were I know the subject matter really well. It makes me want to add information, interrupt the panelists and generally be rude. Thankfully my area of knowledge in writing is relatively small, for now, and limited.
This makes me seek out panels that are of interest to me but I know nothing about. It also forces me to learn more and hopefully apply it to my own writing.
The standout educational panels for me this year were on Romance, and Advice to Aspiring Authors.
The Romance panel had Marie Bilodeau as moderator, Linda Poitevin, Coreene Callahan, Leslie Brown, and Lynne MacLean. I’m not sure what others got out of the panel but as someone who worries about adding romance to his novels, it was insightful. I think Jen would have loved this panel.
I did however get a few tricks to ramp up the romance or tension. The most important is to really get into the characters thoughts and emotions. Also it’s important to consider why your characters are interested in the romance.
The Advice to Aspiring Authors had a superstar lineup. Julie Czerneda was the moderator and on the panel was Jay Odjick, Erik Buchanan, Mike Rimar, and as a surprise panelist there was Charles de Lint.
This panel was amazing, great honest and straightforward answers on the craft of writing. I was mildly intimidated by the impressive panel but managed to ask a few questions. Mostly dealing with editing.
I’ve had the overwhelming feeling that I was doing it wrong. I was treating editing like if I was Beta-reading someone else work and turns out that’s ok.
Some great pieces of advice were to always push through the 2/3 mark blues and makes sure to finish. Never throw out or give up on a manuscript, you’ve written it and now it’s someone else’s turn to look at it. If you get rid of it you’re not even giving it a chance.
Another piece of advice that shocked me in its simplicity was to stop your day of writing mid-sentence or mid-idea. That way you know what you’re going to write tomorrow. Everyone I’ve told has looked at me like it was the most obvious idea ever but I had never thought of it. I will now make sure to implement it and avoid the morning blocks that have slowed me down so often.
I could go on and on about the awesome panels. There was one presentation that hit me as particularly awesome. Jay Odjick, the media guest of honour, present the premier of Kagagi an awesome new Canadian superhero cartoon. My biggest complaint about it was that it was too short, I can’t wait to sit down and binge-watch the show.
Seriously go check it out.
The genre writing community in Ottawa is way bigger than I ever expected but it’s still small. Any group that is that supportive gets to know each other really well and tend to act and react like family.
This intimidated the crap out of me last year and gave me a few sleepless nights last week. When it comes to social interactions I’m a little bit of a pessimist. I basically assume no one knows who I am and if they do they don’t really like me.
The people of Can-Con aren’t like that; they are warm, friendly, and awesome. I was surprised multiple times that people who I respect and look up too remembered me. I even had the chance to talk to Julie Czerneda, one of my favourite authors, before one of her panels.
There is something surreal meeting authors whom I studied during my university English classes. Can-Con has given me the chance to meet three of them. I’m amazed that I’ve had my writing questions answered by Robert J. Sawyer, Julie Czerneda, and Charles de Lint.
Darn life rocks!
There are several things I learned and discussed with people during Can-Con. This lead to a large boost to my ego. There are four announcements I hope to make in the next six months. Two are so tentative it’s not worth mentioning yet and a third isn’t mine to announce.
The fourth I’m free to say, JenEric Designs will be selling at Ottawa PopExpo. For Geek Market, I designed some buttons and they sold well enough that I will be doubling our variety for PopExpo. Future designs will include Torchwood, Supernatural, SuperWhoLock, Hydra, and Stargate Atlantis.
I’m also going to be experimenting with creating Custom Roasted Geek Coffee. If it works I plan on having several flavours to sell at the event.
Happy Tuesday! Unless you’re reading this on another day, in which case, Happy [Somethign]day.