Publishing · writing

Fun for Fantasy and SciFi Authors: 2016’s Dragon Con

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The great gathering of science fiction and fantasy nerds is upon us once more. That’s right; it’s time for 2016’s Dragon Con.

For the uninitiated, Dragon Con is a convention in Atlanta, GA for people who enjoy some aspect of fantasy and science fiction. It includes events about books, movies, comics, art, games, and a dozen other things I am overlooking. Since its founding in 1987, Dragon Con has grown tremendously, and organizers anticipate that over 75,000 people will journey to Atlanta this year to attend it. Though Dragon Con is a great convention for fans of all varieties, it also has elements that make it a fabulous place for authors to hone their craft, hobnob with bigwigs, and meet other writers.

Because there are so many things to do at Dragon Con, I’m highlighting just a few that I think writers would enjoy.

Writer’s Workshops – Dragon Con offers multiple writer’s workshops. These can be as short as an hour or as long as two days and cover a variety of topics including epublishing, characterization, young adult fiction, world building, and even intensive manuscript reviews.

Panels – The conference hosts dozens of panels suited for writers. Some of this year’s panels that interest me are ‘Author Roundtable: Avoiding Historical Mistakes’, ‘Shannara Chronicles: Ellcrys Visions’, ‘Self-Publishing’ with Todd McCaffrey, ‘Magical Tropes’ featuring Mercedes Lackey and George R.R. Martin, ‘History of SciFi’, and ‘An Hour with Patricia Briggs’ among others. There are also less writerly panels about science, costuming, film analysis, and music.

Readings – In addition to panels, attendees can also hear authors do readings of their works. Patricia Briggs, James A. Moore, Mercedes Lackey, S.M. Stirling, Faith Hunter, Eric Flint, and more will perform readings. (Readings are fascinating to me just because of the sheer diversity in how people read their own works.)

Networking – Hundreds of professionals from the publishing and entertainment industries attend this event every year. This makes Dragon Con a great place to make connections. This year attendees include authors Mario Acevedo, Lou Anders, Julie Kenner, Michael Martinez, Andi O’Connor, and hundreds more.

To be clear, Dragon Con isn’t specifically intended for writers; first and foremost it is a convention for fans of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, young adult literature, and dystopian novels. Despite this, I do believe that writers can gain a lot by going to it, especially if they write in one of the preceding genres. You can see a PDF of the program if you want to learn more.

If you have ever been to Dragon Con or are attending this year, I’d love to hear about your experience, and if you haven’t been before, you may want to consider going in the future. Once you’ve maneuvered through Atlanta’s traffic, it is a wonderful event. I also suggest you explore the some of the myriad blog posts that are popping up this weekend. There are some great people posting exciting updates about their trips.

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