Continuing my World Con 76 show floor and Masquerade experience, I was very happy to attend a number of interesting panels over the weekend at World Con. I’ve made a short summary of each panel that most interested me. Check it out below:
Historical Swordfighting and Weapons Demo
Demo presented by Tony Barajas, Lincoln Peters, Sydney Thompson and Tina Ponzetti
I started my World Con panel experience with a clang! 😉 This panel consisted of real world Swordfighting demo from the St. Michael’s Salle d’Armes. Although the swords were thankfully blunted and everyone was wearing protective gear, the presented matches were not scripted and professionally executed done. To my inexperienced eyes, it felt like a mix of fencing with often larger and heavier weapons, along with some side arms like bucklers and daggers. Definitely a highlight of my World Con experience! Be sure to look up St. Michael’s Salle d’Armes for more on the study of medieval and renaissance fighting.
Wound Patterns and Survivability in Preindustrial War – Implications for Classic Fantasy
From left: Sydney Thomson (St. Michael’s Salle d’Armes), JM Landels (Allaigna’s Song trilogy), Bandon Sanderson (Mistborn, Stormlight Archive series), Bruce Davis (MD, science fiction, fantasy and creative nonfiction author) and Richard Dutton (Trauma Anesthesiologist, futurist and game designer)
One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed about World Con was how much you could learn just by sitting in a panel. For instance, if you were planning on writing a preindustrial war fiction, non-fiction or a classic based fantasy, this certainly was the panel for you. Although, not for the faint at heart, as the topics discussed here were about the many ways of inflicting harm or dealing with bodily harm. Some of my key takeaways were:
When writing about historical war wounds or bodily harm (e.g., cuts, stabs, punctures, etc.) and how to deal with them:
- Do your research! Trust us, your editors will know!
- If you’re writing fiction, you just need to write enough to be accurate but you don’t have to write in too much detail
- Use the correct terms! For example, using suturing vs sewing in regard to treating a battle wound.
Reading Hugo Finalists for Best Series: Martha Wells, Marie Brennan and Brandon Sanderson
From left: Martha Wells (The Books of the Raksura, All Systems Red) Marie Brennan (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, A Natural History of Dragons) and Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, Stormlight Archive series)
Next up I was able to listen to Hugo Finalists for Best Series Martha Wells, Marie Brennan and Brandon Sanderson read from their work. After attending my fare share of book/author related events, author book readings have not yet lost their novelty. For example, the audience for this panel, myself included, were extremely entertained to hear Marie Brennan read, with an impeccable English accent, from The Memoirs of Lady Trent. It was equally entertaining to hear from Martha Wells read from one of the Books of Raksura. Brandon Sanderson chose to read from his yet to be released (at the time of this writing) Young Adult Novel: Skyward. Brandon’s charismatic charm and the pacing of Skyward, kept the audience fully engaged and wanting more. For me, these were certainly more than enough reasons to come to a World Con!
In for the Long Haul: The Ups and Downs of Writing a Long Series
Form Left: Marie Brennan (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, A Natural History of Dragons) Seanan McGuire (Ghost-Spider, Marvel Comics), L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Saga of Recluce, Imager Portfolio), PC Hodgell (God Stalk, Demons Possessed) and Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, Stormlight Archive series)
This panel focused on writing Books Series. Each of the panelists were very expereince in writing longer narratives, so it was very interesting to hear each of the panelists perspective on writing for “the long haul”. TBH, this was certainly one of the most interesting panels I had ever attended.
The discussions ranged from: how great it is that we don’t have to tell the origin story anymore (e.g., citing Sony/Marvel’s most recent Spider-Man movie) to how you manage each underlying story while a wider, greater, over arching story drives the plot of a Book Series as a whole. Although there was so much discussed, here are a few of my takeaways from the panel:
Panelists Thoughts on Book Series:
- Book series probably work because readers can relate with, and become committed to, characters so they want to how they overcome whatever the writers throw at them
- Regarding avoiding “series fatigue”, it helps to determine where your characters are and where their skills stop. Or how you can take advantage of their weaknesses to keeps your audience interested. There must be some sort of learning or improvement for your character which will help keep your audience engaged.
- 2 Times is repetition, 3 times is Fatigue.
- Think of writing a series like going to Disneyland: You know which smaller rides you’d like to ride (supporting stories) but you also know which rides or attractions you went to Disneyland for in the first place (over arching series story). So in general, you know which stories are essential vs which stories you can skip. Pretty neat trick!
- Finally, think of a book series like a sonata:
- First key sets the tone or the adventure, think Star Wars
- Second key is the cliff hanger, Empire Strikes Back
- Third key restates the first key but more elaborately, Return of the Jedi
There was so much to learn and take in from World Con. I certainly had a blast. If World Con ever visits your city, and you’re as much a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy as I am, I highly recommend it.
I have one more World Con post to go, until then, thanks for following!