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CON Talk: Panels
The Dime
wilowisp
A small review of the panels I attended at this year’s CONvergence

Friday, Writing Craft: World and Creatures
My first panel, so no expectations. Was there with seimaisin and carleton97 all the way at the top floor of the Sheraton. The room was a big small, so it felt a little cramped. While most ideas were well presented, I didn’t necessarily feel like anything super new was communicated to me. I wanted to bite into a big old discussion on unheimlich and the uncanny, and how to make a creature feel alien and yet cohesive and consistent with the world created.

Friday, The Steampunk Panel
Phenomenal. leighblack, seimaisin and carleton97 took the front row in a rather daring move on my part. Not only does steampunk really turn my crank on a normal day, the panel was very well put together and the synergy was awesome. People were there who had experience in the literature, in the music, the gaming, makers, fashionistas, enthusiasts abounded. I really felt like not only was I excited about the genre, but like there was true scholarship capable of examining the movement. The two basic questions on my mind: Why now and why then? What about his day in age had led us to a re-examination of the Victorian era?

Friday, Graphic Novels as Literature
Rounding out the experience of panels, carleton97 and I braved this discussion. I went into it expecting a panel on why graphic novels should be accepted as having the potential to be Great Works and why some should be included in the canon of human culture. Instead, I got a semantic jerk-off contest. While there was a nice intellectual banter going on, there was too much emotion and not enough clarity on why everyone was talking. And ma’am, I still don’t understand your equine metaphor. At least carleton97 and I were on the same page – both on the topic and on the crazies.

Saturday, Meet the Wyrdsmiths
Went this one alone. I know lyda222 as my teacher from my Loft class last fall, and she talked a great deal about her writer group. This panel was five of the Wyrdsmiths discussing their processes, their views, and why the group is important to their work. It could have been a self-aggrandizing love fest, or a panel on ‘why you should get your own group’, but it delightfully avoided either extreme. Instead, it was insightful into the work of other writers, encouraging without demeaning their own special dynamic, but also very personal without alienating those attending. Kudos to the group for that.

Saturday, In the Palm of Your Hand
This divination panel had some interesting tidbits, but it suffered from some major drawbacks: First, the organizer of the panel did not show, leaving everyone without much structure. Second, the other two members of the panel were incredibly soft-spoken. Not shy or timid, but their volume is turned down way low. It tried to reach for a more general discussion but always ended up in the mire of ‘personal experience’ which makes it difficult for a full group to come along for the ride. A few more obscure divination techniques were discussed, and that was interesting.

Overall, I need to plan my panel schedule better next year to fully take advantage of the offerings, and maybe do a compare so I can ensure I go to panels that have the members I appreciate more.

Oh, and to some audience members: If you wanted to talk about this topic so much, maybe you should have signed up for the panel yourself.
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Loved every minute you managed to spend with us!

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