Mark Your Calendar for WisCon

I am pleased to announce that my next convention will be WisCon at the end of May. The guests of honor are Amal El-Mohtar and Kelly Sue DeConnick. I am participating and moderating several panels, and I am anxious to hear what this year’s stellar speakers have to say. Hope to see you at the show!

Tropes In SF Novels, Comics, and Video Games
Sat, 1:00–2:15 pm Location: Conference 1
Kate M Lansky (M), Jake Casella, Monica Valentinelli
SF is a genre that crosses media — novels, poetry, comics, video games, movies, and TV. How do SF stories differ from medium to medium? What tropes does each medium use and why? What kinds of stories are in vogue in each medium? Are there SF tropes that are better used in novels? In games? And why?

Portraying Resistance: Fiction Media and News Media
Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Location: Assembly
Monica Valentinelli (M), Nino Cipri, Ian K. Hagemann
How are resistance movements portrayed in speculative fiction? While some forms of fiction glamorize resistance movements (Star Wars comes to mind) there is a wide gap between this and how news media portrays, for example, the Ferguson movement. Are the only safe resistances fictional (or historical) ones? How do we get from “riots” to “heroic uprisings”? Fictional resistances are also able to gloss over the problematic details of committee meetings, arguments between members, lack of funds, trying to feed crowds, unequal division of labor, and trying to come to consensus. Are there fictional resistances that deal with these details and with sexism, racism, homophobia? Can we learn from fiction how to portray real resistance movements as heroic?

Why Is “Casual” a Dirty Word in Gaming?
Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm Location: University C
Monica Valentinelli (M), Katherine Cross, Ann Lemay, Katherine Olson (Kayjayoh), Beth Plutchak, Katie Sapede
Video gaming is set to become a 99.6 billion dollar industry and is cemented into the mainstream. Why are “casual gamers” still a hated group? Why do we need to separate them from “hard-core gamers”? Let’s explore why some in the gaming community hold on tightly to excluding “casual gamers.”

Worldbuilding Through Profanity
Sun, 4:00–5:15 pm Location: Caucus
Monica Valentinelli (M), Dylan Edwards, Benjamin Rosenbaum
Swearing is something that comes naturally to people. Swearing is also highly cultural. ‘Damn!’ only works if a culture has the concept of damnation. Short versus long invocations, it all goes together. How do you construct a swearing culture for a new people? How does it vary by social class? Let’s find out.

Registration is capped, so if you’re interested in attending be sure to visit the WisCon website.

On Outlines and Distractions

You're An Idiot, Starscream

I fell off the proverbial horse yesterday, because I made the mistake of going down the rabbit hole of politics. (Two cliches in one sentence!) A lot has happened, and it feels weird. On the one hand, we have politicians who are blatantly lying; on the other, life marches on regardless. At a bare minimum: bills still come every month, meals still need cooked, house still needs to be cleaned, cats still need to be fed. In my case, I have to be vigilant about how I use my time; I’ve long since learned why it’s important to know how fast I write, how deadlines are crucial to my sanity, and how calendars aren’t just this pretty, little grid with pictures hanging on the wall.

Except, it’s an inevitable truth that shit happens. I get sick, company drops in, the internet goes down, I get distracted by politics (as I did yesterday), I lose a file, a deadline shifts, etc. All the planning and organizing in the world doesn’t get words down on the page, but what it does do it help mitigate disasters.

Take, for example, a novel. If I don’t work on the manuscript every day, which is not realistic for me to do, then a natural gap occurs from when I last worked on it. When I pick it back up again, I have to remind myself where I’m at in the work. That creates lost time that I’ll never get back. If I could, I would shut everything down and pound out a novel in a month or two. But, my reality doesn’t allow me to do that(1), at least right now.

Enter outlining as a solution. I’ve already been using them for bigger projects like non-fiction books and tabletop games, but I haven’t been drawn to them for fiction because they seem too mechanical. Once I’m immersed in writing a story, it’s impossible for me to get out of that mindset. I don’t have to think about what I’m writing, because I’m in that character’s head and thinking about the story from their POV.

The only problem with being resistant to outlines is that if I get interrupted–which is almost a certainty–then I lose that momentum. I cannot control that natural “flow”, but I can plan for distractions. Now, I’m starting to embrace outlining as a solution, because it allows me to jump back in faster than if I were to re-read everything I wrote.

I haven’t quite sorted out which outlining method I want to use and adapt to my own needs yet. LitReactor has a neat little article called 8 Ways to Outline a Novel that collates some of my thoughts on this. Right now, I’m neck deep in getting everything organized and setting aside time to, uh, track my worldbuilding efforts and read more.

I’m not sure if this would be a solution for you, but some form of tracking is definitely something to think about–especially if you are interrupted umpteen million times throughout the day like I am.

(1) That’s part of the reason why I cannot afford to go to long workshops like Clarion. Besides the cost of attendance, it’s time away from work that I desperately need right now.

    Mood: Winter is still here.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Quadruple
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Half an hour
    In My Ears: DREDD soundtrack
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Inquisition
    Book Last Read: Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Pacific Rim
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!



Save the Date! Reddit Fantasy AYA for Worldbuilders Charity

reddit-logo
I am happy to announce that I will be participating in an “Ask You Anything” on Reddit to support awareness for Pat Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders charity fundraiser on Tuesday, November 29th.

What is the Worldbuilders mission?

From the website: “Worldbuilders is a charity founded by author Pat Rothfuss in order to use the collective power of readers, fellow authors and book lovers to make the world a better place. During the Worldbuilders fundraiser, Pat blogs about the cool book donations we receive from authors and publishers (and all the other cool swag from artists, webcomics, etc.) Everyone who donates to Heifer International through our Team Heifer page is eligible to receive one or more of those cool books and swag at the end of the fundraiser.”

Although I am only participating on Tuesday, this event will take place each day from Monday, November 28th through Friday, December 2nd and will include several other authors, artists, editors, and publishers. It will be hosted by the r/Fantasy community over at www.reddit.com/r/fantasy to support awareness of Worldbuilders. Hop on over each day and see what questions we have to ask you. Then, let’s kick some ass and raise some funds for an awesome charity!

My Geek*Kon Schedule

Geek Kon 2016

I’m headed to Geek*Kon tomorrow, and am on quite a few panels. This year’s line up includes a stellar list of guests for 2016, which you can find here along with their bios. I’m pretty sure this is my last convention for the year, and I’m excited to see some friends before I get a touch anti-social to write and focus more on my blog here. Hope to see you at the show!

Friday, August 26
6:00pm – 7:00pm Shattering Female Stereotypes in Comics (Geneva Room)

Saturday, August 27
10:00am – 11:00am Are Agents Still Necessary? (Salon F)
5:00pm – 6:00pm Worldbuilding: Types and Techniques (Salon G)

Sunday, August 28
12:00pm – 1:00pm Processing Your Emotions Like a Pro (Mendota Room)
2:00pm – 3:00pm The Feedback Loop (Salon F & G)

My World Con 2016 Schedule

Here are the panels and events I’ll be participating in at the show.

Launch Pad

Thursday, August 18 15:00 – 16:00, 2210 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Launch Pad is an annual event whereby a group of invited writers, editors, and creatives learn about modern science, specifically astronomy, so that they can in turn use it in their work and inspire others. Members who have attended Launch Pad discuss how it has affected their writing and ideas.

Changing the Medium

Friday, August 19 14:00 – 15:00, 2206 (Kansas City Convention Center)

A look at what is involved when adapting a property from its original medium to another. How does a movie become a game or a book turn into a television show? What artistic licenses must be taken and how do you remain true to the spirit of the original?

The Golden Age of Firefly

Friday, August 19 18:00 – 19:00, 2206 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Although there hasn’t been a new episode in 13 years or a movie in 11, Firefly fandom is going strong with comics and a myriad games ranging from Fluxx to Tall Card to Firefly: The Boardgame and more. Is this fandom even more stubborn than Mal Reynolds and the Browncoats?

The Build-A-World Game Show

Friday, August 19 21:00 – 22:00, 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center)

The Build-a-World Game Show is a live action worldbuilding game designed and run by Monica Valentinelli. Two teams of panelists compete to build a fantastic world in under an hour for fun and prizes. The Build-a-World Game Show incorporates audience participation, takes place in three rounds, and results in a fan-voted winner!

Developing a Tabletop Roleplaying Game

Saturday, August 20 13:00 – 14:00, 3501D (Kansas City Convention Center)

Monica Valentinelli discusses how RPG games are developed, examining some of the processes and differences in making a roleplaying game. Come along and find out about the process, from pre-production to playtesting!

Game World, Fictional World: RPGs and Authorship

Saturday, August 20 14:00 – 15:00, 2504B (Kansas City Convention Center)

In Roleplaying Games, things don’t always go to plan. What happens when our games become fiction? Authors who love RPGs, have used them as a basis for their work, or have had their work made into RPGs discuss how roleplaying can help the creative process…or make it go horribly, horribly wrong.

RPG: Firefly

Sunday, August 21 11:00 – 14:00, Gaming (Kansas City Convention Center)

Come and learn how to play the story-centric Firefly RPG with developer/lead writer Monica Valentinelli. Players will play as the main cast; materials will be provided. Please sign up for this event in advance at the Games area or online on the MAC2 Warhorn page.

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