My Capclave 2021 schedule

So after a year and a half of avoiding conventions, I’m venturing out for one. I think I’ll take the risk, as they are requiring everyone to be fully vaccinated and masked at all times during programming.

Capclave is a fun small convention for literary science fiction and fantasy fans. (It’s where I met George R.R. Martin all those years ago and had my 15 minutes of fame for predicting the Hodor plot).

This is taking place near Washington DC on October 1 – 3. If you go, you’ll probably find me hanging out at the Fantastic Books table where you can also find my books (what a coincidence!).

I’ll be on the following panels:

Friday 5:30 pm: Author Reading — Michael A. Ventrella: Author Michael A. Ventrella reads from their recent and upcoming work.

Friday 7:00 pm: Writing YA for Two Audiences (Martin Berman-Gorvine, Mary Fan, Mary G. Thompson, Michael Alan Ventrella): Adults comprise a large percentage of the audience for YA, and are almost all the gatekeepers-editors, publicists, librarians and book buyers. How do writers write for both audiences? Are adult readers of YA looking for different things from younger readers? What makes some books effective at satisfying both audiences?

Friday 9:00 pm: So You Want to Edit an Anthology (Neil Clarke, Mary Fan, Kristin Janz, Michael Alan Ventrella): How do you edit your own anthology? How do you decide what holds the book together – a theme, a date, a concept? How do you come up with a theme? What sells and what doesn’t? How do you get the rights to stories for reprint anthologies? If you pick the contributors, how do you decide who to include and avoid getting repetitious stories? How do authors produce varied fiction within the limits of a theme anthology? How do you find a publisher willing to print it? Do you do a Kickstarter or not?

Saturday 4:00 pm: Near Future Collisions (David Bartell, Martin Berman-Gorvine, Sarah Pinsker, Michael A. Ventrella, Ted Weber): Sarah Pinsker wrote a novel that predicted many aspects of reaction to COVID, before COVID even happened. What do writers do when their fiction turns real? How do writers keep ahead of changes in the rapidly moving real world? What do you do when new discoveries/political changes invalidate your planned novel or worse, a published one?

Saturday 6:00 pm: For The Love of Evil: Making Compelling Villains (Marilyn Brahen, Charles Gannon, Aliza Greenblatt, Karlo Yeager Rodriguez, Michael A. Ventrella): How do you creating an opponent to your hero with believable motivations yet not ones with which the readers might agree? How do you keep the villain interesting without overshadowing the hero? Is it better to show some chapters from the villain’s viewpoint or keep the villain mysterious in the background? Do you kill off your villain or keep the villain around for the sequel? What works have the best villains and what makes them attractive?

Saturday 11:00 pm: Eye of Argon (Walter H. Hunt, Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella): Our panelists read the worst fantasy story ever written, mistakes and all, and if they laugh or read it incorrectly, they are forced to act out the story. Just try not to fall over laughing! At some point, volunteers from the audience can participate and discover firsthand the author’s contentious relationship with spelling, capitalization and punctuation.


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