WorldCon 75 summary post

It seems we’ve exchanged hurricanes and mass shootings for wildfires and floods. Wherever you are, whatever has come your way, please find safety.


Welcome back to the ongoing tale of my European adventure 🙂

This instalment will be the penultimate one. Next week, I’ll cover my takeaways from the trip.

Since I’d made the decision earlier in the year to stop blogging my session notes … I didn’t take any during the whole of WorldCon (!) It was very freeing. I relaxed and enjoyed.

Something I forgot to mention in my last post is that I also enjoyed the hotel’s Sauna on Tuesday night. I had a nice, naked conversation with some Finnish ladies who were curious about all the Americans in town … but it was helpful for the cruise crud.

Wednesday, August 9, was the first day of WorldCon, and at breakfast that morning, I met up again with the Tracy’s, Heather and Bill, and their mom, Becky, who’d been my roommate on the WXR cruise. Bill was also attending WorldCon, while Heather and Becky did the tourist thing in Helsinki.

After breakfast, I strolled down the pedestrian underpass to the train station, bought my ticket at the kiosk, and caught the train to Pasila.

I want to take a moment here to express just how fabulous the Helsinki trains were. Clean, spacious, and efficient. My registration for the con included a train pass for the week, because they knew most of us would be staying in the downtown area. There are a couple of hotels in Pasila, but they were booked quickly, and blocks of rooms were reserved for those who needed accommodation (or so I understand).

The only other city train I’ve been on that comes close is Vancouver’s, but at the time I travelled on it, the number of passengers made the journey (with luggage) uncomfortable. In Helsinki, there were two main lines, the K and the I (though there were more) that ran north and between the two, one left every ten minutes.

The first day of WorldCon was a bit disappointing, to be honest, because I think the organizers underestimated the interest of casual attendance (day passes). Except for the academic stream session I attended, nearly every room was full and they were very strict about the numbers because fire regulations. I don’t blame the organizers, but it was a frustrating first day.

The convention centre did have a great food court, however, and I ended up meeting a couple of friends of fellow Sudbury Writers’ Guild member Andy Taylor at the cafe. Tim Boerger and Nina Niskanen had both attended Viable Paradise with Andy and he wanted me to connect with them. I’d actually seen Nina at WorldCon last year, but I didn’t know who she was until after her steampunk panel was over 😦

While there, I also met Lara Elena Donnelly, author of Amberlough 🙂

I also saw a number of WXR cruise mates, and fellow member of SF Canada, Su Sokol.

That evening, I met up with a group of Canadian SF fans and writers, including Su, Eric Choi, and Jane Ann McLachlan, to have dinner at Zetor.

Thursday was a more productive day. I attended sessions on the Kalevala (which I was geeky enough to be reading at the time), Nalo Hopkinson’s Guest of Honour interview (I kind of stalked her sessions throughout—I’m a fan), a presentation on the sauna, the live taping of the Coode Street podcast with Kelly Robson and Walter Jon Williams, a panel on secrets in SF that Jane Ann McLachlan was on, how to start a podcast with Howard Tayler, and the live Ditch Diggers taping.

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That night was a meet up with Writing the Other alumni and K. Tempest Bradford. We went to a Nepalese buffet that was only a block or so from the convention centre called Mero-Himal. A number of alumni had also been on the cruise, and so it was a very enjoyable evening.

Friday’s WorldCon line up included a panel on artificial intelligence, one called Building Resistance, on which where Nina Niskanen and Kameron Hurley, one on female friendship in fiction with Navah Wolfe and Amal El-Motar, another Nalo Hopkinson GoH presentation, a panel on Austalian fantasy with Juliet Marillier, more Nalo Hopkinson (I said I was stalking her), a panel on how science really happens with Eric Choi, one on weird fiction with Helen Marshal, and one on alien language in SF with David J. Peterson, creator of the languages for the Game of Thrones series.

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Friday night was the night of the Hugo Awards Ceremonies and, still suffering from cruise crud (it didn’t completely clear until I was back home), I thought I’d catch the ceremonies on YouTube from the comfort of my hotel room. They were supposed to be webcast.

As I headed out on the train, the skies grew ominously dark and by the time the train arrived back in Helsinki, it was a full-on torrential downpour. The forecast had said that the weather would hold until evening … and so I’d left my umbrella in my hotel room.

While I waited some time at the station for the rain to stop, I eventually had to make it back to the hotel and got completely soaked. I got in and changed clothes, waited until the weather cleared a bit, and then strolled around the block—with my umbrella—to a little sushi restaurant for supper.

When it was time for the Hugos webcast … I was unable to connect. When I hopped on social media to see what I could find out, it turned out that there were technical difficulties and the webcast was a no go. I watched the Twitter feed for a while and ended up calling it an early night.

Saturday began with a science panel on planets beyond the Goldilocks zone, a panel on worldbuilding without ableism with Fran Wilde and Nalo Hopkinson (yes, I know), one on maintaining your scientist character’s credibility with Karen Lord, a panel on Octavia Butler (with you-know-who), I checked out the author signings where Mary Robinette Kowal and Margaret Dunlap were at side-by-side tables, a panel on fairy tale retellings with Navah Wolfe and Karen Lord, one on bad-ass female leads in young adult, and one on crafting a fantasy tale from mythology with Juliet Marillier.

I decided to call it an early night because I’d be heading for the airport in the morning for my flight home. I had supper at a sports bar, packed, and got a good night’s sleep.

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My flight left just after 8 am. I watched the sun rise on the train (at—bleargh—5:30 am) and, after a three hour flight to Iceland, watched the sun rise again 😉 Because I was travelling back through time zones, another five and a half hour fight brought me to Toronto before noon (!)

I hung out in Toronto for five more hours as my flight home was delayed, but I was home in time to watch that night’s Game of Thrones episode and then crawl into my own lovely bed.

I spent the next day resting and catching up on the television I’d missed during the trip. I could have used the rest of the week off to resent my internal clock and fully recover from the cruise crud, but it was back to the grind on Tuesday.

And that was how my European adventure ended.

Thanks for hanging with me on this journey!

As I mentioned off the top, next week will be my lessons learned/takeaway post but, because next Saturday is the launch of Kim Fahner’s latest poetry collection, Some Other Sky, I may not get the post up until Sunday. The next week, I’ll probably dedicate some time to writerly events (including the launch) and other happenings in this writer’s life, and then I’ll be on my annual blogging hiatus for NaNoWriMo!

Holy cow! This year is disappearing!

In the meantime, dear friends, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 13-19, 2017

The triumphant return of Tipsday includes lots of informal writerly learning for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares four ways to write a thought-provoking mentor character. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Alida Winternheimer helps you choose the right POV. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sara Letourneau visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: struggling with (and regaining) confidence in your writing.

Dave King explores unspoken dialogue. Writer Unboxed

Kathleen McCleary: non-advice for writers. Writer Unboxed

Sorry I’ve missed a couple, but I’m picking up Janice Hardy’s birth of a book series with this instalment: writing the first draft. Fiction University

Monica Alvarado Frazier: when you need a kick in the writing butt.

Abigail K. Perry discusses the merits of writing back cover copy. DIY MFA

Irina Brignull shares five tips for creating characters readers will connect with. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle outlines the five essentials of omniscient narration. Mythcreants

Suzanne Purvis helps you get your fabulous characters into your synopsis. Writers in the Storm

Tasha Seegmiller: so you want to write an outline … Writers in the Storm

I’m so excited about this, I can’t even. Laurie Schnebly Campbell unpacks Kim Hudson’s heroine’s journey. Writers in the Storm

And, related: Rachael Stephen digs in and explains how Harmon’s plot embryo can be used to plot novels 🙂

 

Oren Ashkenazi lists six signs your story may be queerphobic. Mythcreants

Lynne M. Thomas visits Terribleminds to talk about Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction: fight on, space unicorns!

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry: I built my own goddamn castle. Tor.com

And though this is older, it’s still thought-provoking: a year of diverse authors (cue literary frenzy) (February 2015). Chris Brecheen

Nate Hoffelder guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: six common sense steps to securing a WordPress website.

Tim Ferriss visits Nathan Bransford’s blog: the definitive guide to SEO for authors.

E Ce Miller lists 23 words that every booklover (ahem, bibliophile) should incorporate into their vocabulary. Bustle

Amanda Morris reports on how fused imaging has revealed sixth-century writing hidden in a book’s binding. Northwestern University

Where did English come from? Claire Bowern for Ted-Ed.

 

Kristopher Jansma says, now, more than ever, we wish we had these lost Octavia Butler novels. Electric Lit

Dominic Patten: Ava DuVernay is part of the creative team bringing Octavia Butler’s Dawn to television. Deadline Hollywood

Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” defies genre. Gabrielle Bellot for Tor.com.

And that’s it until next Tipsday.

Be well. Good words at y’all 😉

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 9-15, 2017

And here we go with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Sophie Masson expounds on the joys of writing in an unfamiliar setting. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft says you need to earn the backstory by raising a question. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi teaches subterfuge in dialogue. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen shares … a story of balls. Writers in the Storm

Chuck Wendig: so, you’re having a bad writing day. Terribleminds

Roz Morris stops by Writers Helping Writers to improve your suspense in stories with … the big tease.

Angela Ackerman looks back: why we must invest if we want a writing career. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series: creating the characters. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb explores the creative benefits of being bored.

Terri Frank joins the DIY MFA team: five ways to use the library to nurture your reading life.

Gabriela Pereira stops by Jerry Jenkins’ blog to teach us how to write dazzling dialogue.

Then, Gabriela interviews Ann Kidd Taylor for DIY MFA radio.

Gary Zenker returns to DIY MFA: how to get the most out of a critique.

Elise Holland offers five poetic tools to enhance your prose. DIY MFA

Jane Friedman explains how to pitch agents at a writers’ conference.

Chris Winkle lists seven ways to bring characters together. Mythcreants

Nancy Kress looks at the science in science fiction: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tor.com

Richard G. Lowe Jr.: how better world building will keep you out of trouble. AutoCrit

Brandon Taylor: who cares what white people think? Literary Hub

Emily Van Duyne wonders why we’re so reluctant to take Sylvia Plath at her word? Literary Hub

Jane Austen comments on love and happiness. Oxford University Press.

 

David Barnett: how traditional British folklore is benefiting from modern culture. The Independent

Emma Watson interviews Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale. Entertainment Weekly

Nancy Kress shares seven things she’s learned so far … Writer’s Digest

Karen Grigsby Bates: how Octavia Butler wrote herself into the story. NPR

Charles Pulliam-Moore reports that after four years in negotiation, HBO and George R.R. Martin are producing Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death as a series! i09

Marc Snetiker gives us a first look at A Wrinkle in Time. Entertainment Weekly

Charles Pulliam-Moore: the reason publishers rejected A Wrinkle in Time is the same reason Ava DuVernay is making the movie. i09

And Cheryl Eddy shares the A Wrinkle in Time trailer! i09

It’s been an exciting week for series and movies. So looking forward.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Until then, be well.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 12-18, 2017

All rightie, then! Let’s get to the writerly goodness.

K.M. Weiland shares eight ways to troubleshoot your scenes and five ways to make them fabulous. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jami Gold explores the different ways in which you might approach story structure for a trilogy. Later in the week, Shaila Patel guest posts: creating the right first impression.

Sharon Bially writes about galleys: what are they and why you need them. Writer Unboxed

Leanne Sowul stresses the positive: what stress can do for you. DIYMFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Dr. Sally Parry, Executive Director of the Sinclair Lewis Society, for DIYMFA radio.

Oh! And lookie, lookie, who’s joining the DIYMFA team? Why me and three other awesome genre columnists! Now it can be told!

Joel Eisenberg guest posts on Kristen Lamb’s blog: you’re too smart to go down stupid.

Chuck Wendig wonders, is it time, dear writer, to ditch your literary agent? Terribleminds

Then, he trots over to Writer’s Digest to post 15 ways to earn your audience as a writer.

Becca Puglisi makes another entry in the character motivation thesaurus: realizing a dream. Writers Helping Writers

Oren Ashkenazi examines five cases of unfulfilled foreshadowing. Mythcreants

Andrew Falconer explains why fantasy writers should embrace their heritage. Mythcreants

Jennifer Schaeffer compiles 51 of the most beautiful sentences in literature for Buzzfeed.

How Shakespeare invented thinking on the page. Oxford Handbooks Online

 

Marie Howe: protecting your inner life in times of political turmoil. Literary Hub

Taylor Jones: linguists have been discussing “shit gibbon.” I argue it’s not entirely about gibbons. Hilarious. Insightful. Creative. Inspiring. I now have a new lexicon of swearage to draw upon 😀

Nnedi Okorafor states that The Parable of the Sower is the dystopia for our age, not Nineteen Eighty-Four. Modern Ghana

Philip Pullman announces a companion trilogy for His Dark Materials. NPR

The Legend of Korra continues in Dark Horse comics. James Whitbrook for i09.

Phil Plait writes a not really Bad Astronomy review of Arrival. Blastr

And that was your informal writerly learnings for the week.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Be well until then.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 18-24, 2016

It’s a week full of informal writerly learnings. My seasonal gift to you, dear reader 🙂

K.M. Weiland offers us the number one way to write intense story conflict. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jamie Raintree wonders, what lights your creative fire? Writers in the Storm

James Preston guest posts on Writers in the Storm: believe in your work—it’s more important than you think.

Laura Drake offers some advanced craft tips on Writers in the Storm.

Becca Puglisi helps us find the sweet spot in which to start. Writers Helping Writers

Dave King dives into writer’s block. Writer Unboxed

Lance Schaubert shares some tips on how to find your working title. Writer Unboxed

Kathleen McCleary guides us back to our story. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb discovers the power of stepping out, stepping in, and bringing the light. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank encourages you to be more like yourself. Writer Unboxed

Marcy Kennedy explores how our characters’ apologetic language creates and resolves tension.

Chris Winkle shares some tips on depicting child characters. Mythcreants

Constance Renfrow explains how to streamline your editing experience. DIYMFA

Kristen Lamb tells us the hard truth about publishing.

Chuck Wendig: the key is always hope. Terribleminds

Kameron Hurley speculates about Christmas and the future.

Are those speculative fiction titles on the 2017 Canada Reads Longlist? Oh, yes. They are! CBC

Octavia Butler tried to warn us about politicians who “want to make America great again.” Wired

When David Brin shared this, I thought … woah, Nausica! And these paintings by Jakub Rozalski really do evoke that aesthetic. He’s a little bit steampunk, and a little bit Akira? Design you can trust

Jeff LaSala resolves the eagle conundrum in Lord of the Rings. Tor.com

Remember that piece I shared last week about the Swinton/Cho email exchange? Well, Gene Demby unpacks the kerfuffle for NPR.

Jeanette Ng introduces us to Imagined Cities/Ice Fantasy, the Chinese take on western epic fantasy. Medium

Ooh! And here’s an early look at Blade Runner 2049. Wired

Lynette Rice has an Outlander sneak peek to help see you through droughtlander. Entertainment Weekly

Be well until Thursday, when you can come on back for your weekly dose of thoughty!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 11-17, 2016

Holy cannoli, your informal writerly learnings are back on track this week 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares another way to look at scene structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Wordplayer Liberty Speidel guest posts on Kate’s blog later in the week: five steps to a thorough book edit.

Jami Gold is now a writing coach on Writers Helping Writers! The revision circle: does my story have too many problems?

Chris Winkle helps us master evocative telling. Mythcreants

Alex Limberg guest posts on Kristen Lamb’s blog. Finish that novel: tips to help you go the distance.

Angela Ackerman explains how to use symbolism to elevate your storytelling. Writers in the Storm

Piper Bayard offers some guidance about what to do after NaNoWriMo. Writers in the Storm

Chuck Wendig, as always, has thoughts on how to create art and make cool stuff in times of trouble. Terribleminds

Andrea Phillips guest posts on Terribleminds: the high goddamned responsibility of fiction.

Orly Konig-Lopez shares her thoughts on Writers in the Storm: why it’s not always about the writing.

Janice Hardy offers five tips to fight your end-of-year writer’s fatigue. Fiction University

Sara Letourneau examines fate versus free will as a literary theme. DIYMFA

Now y’all know, if you’ve been following me for a while, what I think about resolutions, but Bess Cozby shares five strategies you can implement to rock your resolutions in 2017. DIYMFA

Oren Ashkenazi reviews five failed animal companions in science fiction and fantasy. Mythcreants

Devon Murphy interviews Madeleine Thien about her process. Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

The Globe and Mail interviews A.M. Dellamonica on occasion of the publication of her latest novel.

Scott Dadich announces Wired science fiction dedicated issue 🙂

The changing faces of science fiction and fantasy. The New Inquiry

Sheila Liming shares her memories of Octavia Butler, neighbour. Public Books

Martin Shaw shares his midwinter night’s dream. Medium

Maria Alexander introduces us to the witches of winter. Tor.com

James Whitbrook has this breaking news: David Tennant is the voice of Scrooge McDuck in the rebooted Ducktales. i09

Tilda Swinton sent Jezebel the unedited email exchange between her and Margaret Cho about Doctor Strange, diversity, and whitewashing. Rich Juzwiak reports.

Evan Narcisse: the Sense8 Christmas special says, “happy fucking New Year.” Phil and I are FURIOUSLY HAPPY! i09

Happy holidays to everyone!

We’ll see you back here, next week, for more writerly goodness 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 3-9, 2016

Some very interesting posts and articles this week 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes series with part 52: stagnant story conflict. Helping writers become authors. Becca Puglisi guest posts later in the week with four ways to choose the right story setting. Kate returns with more lessons from Marvel: how to transform your story with a moment of truth.

Must you have conflict in every scene, disaster in every act? Roz Morris says, yes, and no. Nail your novel.

Kathryn Craft shares ten ways to add a spark of fire to your fiction. Writer Unboxed.

Donald Maass explores how to stay ahead of yourself . . . and your reader. Writer Unboxed.

Heather Bouwman writes (in the) happy middles. Writer Unboxed.

Annie Neugebauer begins a new series for Writer Unboxed. The query letter, part one: the pitch.

Sara Letourneau looks at the protagonist-antagonist relationship in DIYMFA’s developing themes in your stories series.

Data mining reveals the six basic emotional arcs of storytelling. MIT Technology Review.

“The six basic emotional arcs are these:

A steady, ongoing rise in emotional valence, as in a rags-to-riches story such as Alice’s Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll. A steady ongoing fall in emotional valence, as in a tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet. A fall then a rise, such as the man-in-a-hole story, discussed by Vonnegut. A rise then a fall, such as the Greek myth of Icarus. Rise-fall-rise, such as Cinderella. Fall-rise-fall, such as Oedipus.

Susan Spann busts some popular copyright myths. Writers in the storm.

Hugh Howey writes about an idea, broken. The Wayfarer.

Shakespeare and music.

 

Underwritten female character: the movie. (Bwahahahaha!)

 

What Mallory Ortberg learned about heterosexual female desire from decades of reading. The Toast.

Ted Ed: What makes something Kafkaesque?

 

Airship Ambassador interviews Colleen Anderson in four parts: part one, part two, part three, and part four.

Jen Doll explains how A Wrinkle in Time changed science fiction forever. One of my formative reads. Who’d a thunk it? Mental Floss.

Shawn Taylor wonders why Hollywood is ignoring Octavia Butler. Fusion.

The New York Times called this guy daring for “daring” to tackle slavery through science fiction. (Includes the author’s response.) J. Hotham for Slate.

Jonathan Barkan celebrates 30 years of Big Trouble in Little China. Bloody Disgusting.

Emily Asher-Perrin: Jupiter Ascending is a chilling look at our future, in more ways than one. Tor.com

Phil and I are looking forward to checking this one out. Netflix’s 1980’s science fiction throwback Stranger Things is must (binge) watch TV. i09

Until thoughty Thursday!

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