Still can't wait. I just made hotel reservations for the trip along the way, and so now we have somewhere to sleep from Thursday evening to the next Tuesday evening as we make our way from Memphis, TN, to Richmond, VA, and back again.
There is, however, one thing to note. I was wrong about the number of sessions I was in. I know, I know--I was the one who asked for them, so what am I doing forgetting, right? But I did forget, until a good friend (who I'm looking forward to seeing once again in Richmond!) pointed out to me that yes, I'm on the schedule for Friday evening as well. So here, and in a little bit fuller format than the previous message, are all of the days/times/rooms where I'll be part of a panel pretending to be an expert on the associated topics.
6:00 pm Friday in Bon Air: Online Reviews: The Good and The Bad
(to me, this should be titled "...and The Ugly." Not so much because it needs a tie in to Clint Eastwood, but because it's pretty much the truth. I've written reviews, and I've received reviews, and though I cherish knowing what my readers have to say about my writing, sometimes the review doesn't give me much in the way of useful--well, anything. Can't wait for this panel, mostly because I can't wait to interact with the other--really interesting!--guys on it.)
Synopsis: Panelists discuss online reviews: Reviewers stealing other peoples' reviews and calling them their own (this is a thing!), pro and cons, brave new world where everyone’s opinions count, and how to write a good review.
10:00 am Saturday in Anna is Creating Believable Magic Systems.
(this is going to be a fun panel. I love seeing how other authors do their magic systems, from the general "swish and flick" method to the very specific "each color has its powers" type of thing. If you're looking at the programming schedule you'll see that this is a tough time slot to compete in, but I'm thinking it'll be well-attended regardless.)
Synopsis: What makes a good magic system in fantasy? How much detail is too much detail?
8:00 pm Saturday in Anna is Princess Culture Pros/Cons.
(not sure this doesn't belong in the "what the heck was I thinking?" category, as I'm the only guy on the panel with a couple of gals with some serious street cred. Still, it's an interesting topic to me, both in terms of the current state of fiction and with my own writing. Unfortunately the timing is up against the second half of the masquerade, the charity auction, and one of Allen Wold's writer workshops, so I'm predicting that we guests might just end up chatting with each other.)
Synopsis: It seems like everywhere you look, everyone is a princess, regardless of age. What does this obsession with the ideal "princess" mean for girls coming of age and grown women? Our panelists will discuss the implications of the princess culture, its causes, and if and how it can be changed.
Noon on Sunday in Anna is Fanfic
(this one is interesting because I've written a little bit of it, plus I've studied the tale of Shades of Grey. I'm on a panel with a couple of authors who're also published outside of the fanfic realm, so everybody's take on this should be very interesting)
Synopsis: Fanfic has become more and more public - to the point one newspaper called it the “fantasy football of the literary world” Come listen to our panelists talk about the long history and the continued popularity of this favorite fan activity.
1:00 pm on Sunday in Room E is Xenolinguistics.
(this. This one you've got to be at. I can't wait. You know as well as I do somebody's going to bring up the Babelfish as a ridiculous device, at which point someone else--likely me--will counter that it's far more interesting in its ridiculousness than 'translator microbes'--aka the blow job that lets Crichton understand everybody else. Still, xenolinguistics is a recent passion of mine, as you've likely read right here on this blog, and I'm going to be seated beside some folks with some serious credentials, including a Ph.D. in it.)
Synopsis: Panelists discuss how alien languages are used in SF, some simple tips for would-be writers to make their aliens sound...alien, general complaints about the use of "universal translators,” and more
So, knowing all that, I can't wait even more than I couldn't wait before--or, um, something. Whatever. I'm just plain ole' super-excited; are you?