Conventional Wisdom: Programming

Previously I have discussed networking and attending conventions as a way to further your writing career.

I will be attending two Science Fiction conventions as a guest in the near future. My schedules below are for Lunacon (which is held just outside of New York city) and Ravencon (which is held in Richmond). The panels look to be quite interesting, and as I am the panel moderator on a few of these, I have to lead the discussion. (Note: just in case anyone is confused, these are just the panels I am on. There are hundreds of panels at each convention!)

I have also been scheduled for readings of my work and autograph sessions, which can be either great fun or a terrible embarrassment, depending on whether anyone shows up…

The big RUM AND RUNESTONES release party will be at Ravencon. The book is a collection of stories about pirates and magic and features my short story “X Spots the Mark.”

Lunacon will be held the weekend of March 19th and features some great writers: Tanya Huff, Esther Friesner, Peter Heck, Keith DeCandido, Ty Drago, Jonathan Maberry, Gail Z. Martin, Hildy Silverman and many others.

Ravencon will be held the weekend of April 9th and features Rachel Caine, James Enge, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Catherine Asaro, Peter Prellwitz, Bud Sparhawk, Tony Ruggiero, and many others.

If these panels look interesting to you, go to the convention websites and see what else they have scheduled. Attend if you can — even if you’re not a guest, you can make connections and learn more.

Here’s my Lunacon schedule:

Friday 6 pm: Larping for Beginners: What is a LARP, what kind of groups are there, where are they located? (Michael A. Ventrella)

Friday 8 pm: Networking for Writers: Just being a good writer isn’t enough these days — you have to get out there and sell your work. This panel will explain the necessity of good networking for aspiring writers. Lots of practical tips for taking the fear out of networking and making contacts successfully. (Ef Deal, Pamela Scoville, Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella)

Friday 9 pm: Drowning in Ink: With new markets emerging, e-zines and e-publications, small presses, and traditional publishers; writers have more publication options than ever before, not to mention self-publishing fighting for “legitimacy” among them. Is there a place for everything and everything in its place, or does confusion reign supreme? (Michael D’Ambrosio, John Douglas, Teel James Glenn, Neal Levin, Michael A. Ventrella)

Saturday 4 pm: The New Animated Film: Did anyone not cry at the beginning of “Up”? Animated films aren’t just for kids anymore, they’ve hit the mainstream and are starting to blur the lines of what we think of when we think of an animated film. Given how much of a movie now is created in a computer, what isn’t an animated film? Panelists discuss the best new animated films and how they’re changing our perceptions of cinema. (Jim Freund, Glenn Hauman, Daniel Kimmel, Ahlen Moin, Michael A. Ventrella)

Saturday 5 pm: Anybody Wanna Have Sects Tonight?: In many sci-fi and fantasy works, the author will invent entire religions for the purpose of plot or flavor. How do we go about creating gods and rites of worship that seem believable to the reader? What doesn’t work? (Alma Alexander, Sam Butler, Louis Epstein, Jane T. Sibley, Michael A. Ventrella)

Saturday 6:30 pm: Reading: Michael A. Ventrella

Sunday 12 pm: Basing Your Fiction on an RPG: It’s always tempting to take a gaming experience and turn that into a piece of fiction, but few can do so successfully. How do you avoid the problems with doing so? (Leigh Grossman, Mike McPhail, KT Pinto, Michael A. Ventrella)

Sunday 2 pm: Autographing: Michael A. Ventrella

Here’s my Ravencon schedule:

Friday 9 pm: Autographing: Michael A. Ventrella

Saturday 1:30 pm: Koffee Klatch

Saturday 2:00 pm: Don’t Give Up Your Day Job: Writers discuss criticism they have received from readers, reviewers and even family members. How do they deal with it and why it should be a positive and not a negative experience. How can you offer criticism to a writing friend in a constructive manner? (Iver Cooper, Lawrence Schoen, Rick Stratton, Michael A. Ventrella, Lawrence Watt-Evans)

Saturday 3:00 pm: The Best Way for a Writer/Artist to Avoid Being Sued: How do writers and artists get into trouble? How can these expensive and embarrassing pitfalls be avoided along with any jail time. Come and hear about experiences and what you need to know to stay out of trouble. (Mitchell Bentley, Dave Christman, Michael A. Ventrella)

Saturday 5:00 pm: Basing Your Fiction On a Game (Rob Balder, Steve Long, Michael A. Ventrella)

Saturday 8:00 pm: Using Real Life Events In Your Story: Good Idea or Not? (Andrew Fox, Peter Prellwitz, Michael A. Ventrella, Allen Wold)

Saturday 9:00 pm: Going it On Your Own? How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Self-Publishing: Traditional publishing is not for everyone but that does not mean it is simple. This workshop explores what goes into the making a book. Participants will walk through the steps of designing, refining, and promoting a good book. (Denise Ackley-McPhail, Chris Impink, Michael A. Ventrella)

Saturday 11:00 pm: Vampires — drawing fiction from real life: With books, movies and television depicting modern day vampires and how they exist, how did they get their ideas? Some authors such as Konstantinos and Katherine Ramsland have actually delved into the world of vampire clubs and organizations of London, Paris, New York and LA. Some authors have based their modern fictions on this world of night. What are these places and groups like? Come and find out! (Patrick Vanner, Michael A. Ventrella)

Sunday 11:00 am: I Double Dare You to Write! If I were to write the one story I always wanted, but didn’t dare, it would be about the … (insert topic here.) Many writers have always wanted to write a type of story or a story about a taboo subject but didn’t. Or maybe they did and published it under another name? Let’s ask them and see what they say. (Malcolm Deeley, Pam Kinney, Michael A. Ventrella)

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