This weekend I had another good time at Foolscap XIII. This was my second year attending, and it was interesting to note the differences from the year before. I won’t do a blow by blow, but I’ll at least cover the high points.
This year I only attended Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t take time off to attend the all-day writing workshop on Friday, and remembered Friday evening from last year being a bust, so after considering options for panels this year, I decided I’d rather just stay home Friday night. I’m sorry if the con-com radically changed Friday night based off of my comments from last year, but I opted to err on the side of caution and just spend the evening with the wife.
My favorite panel that I attended, hands down, was the panel on “Monster Self Actualization,” a discussion of what makes monsters tick, how that affects stories, etc. The panelists were Jason Wodicka, Torrey Podmajersky and Matt Youngmark. Torrey set the bar high when she brought in a whiteboard with a chart of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which was annotated for different monsters as they went along. And the awesome just escalated. The conversation was sharp and there were lots of really interesting ideas bandied back and forth about all sorts of monsters, human or otherwise, and the role that Maslow’s hierarchy can be used in fiction.
You’ll often get people making a token thank you after a panel, but for this one people stopped the panelists in the hall and gushed about how much they enjoyed it. It was just so much fun. Because of this panel, I also registered a domain name, madscientistjournal.org, with the vague idea of doing an online zine of fake essays by mad scientiests.
I won’t say what my worst panel was, nor who was behind it being my worst. I will just say that if you sign up to be on a panel on the basis of, “I like to argue,” it is against your best interests to let the rest of the people know that after you’ve been arguing with them for most of the slot. They basically shut him out after he revealed that, and I’m pretty grateful for that.
The main thing I was disappointed with overall was that there were no readings by writers this year. I really enjoyed that last year and got to encounter some really awesome writers that way. This year the absence was a huge bummer. Nathan Crowder and I joked about doing guerilla readings in the lobby, but
Otherwise I got to meet a lot of really great people, many of whom do not have Web sites. Those who do have Web sites include Folly Blaine, Yasmine Galenorn, Eliza Hirsh, Manny Frishberg (who I’ve seen at many other cons, and I recently learned is a fellow Young Gunn) and Danika Dinsmore. I had previously encountered Yasmine at the PNWA Conference. I found that I vastly preferred seeing her talk in a more casual environment than from across a large room. I didn’t recognize Danika’s name until I realized I had pseudonymously reviewed her book several months ago. So I was delighted to say, “Hi! I’m Angela!”
I didn’t really take much in the way of notes, because this wasn’t that sort of convention. But I did jot down notes about things I wanted to look into getting. Here’s what I jotted down:
Movies: Blood & Donuts
Apps: Epic Win