I went to WisCon
last weekend ages ago and it was awesome! The 40th feminist s/f conference in–you guessed it–Madison, Wisconsin, is chock full of amazing panels, really interesting writers, and lots o’ cool hair.
What is WisCon you ask? This woman tells it so much better than me. In fact, it takes her four blog posts to tell it all in glorious detail. Start here and work your way backwards.
That said, I have six reasons why I’m glad I went this year:
#1. I Love the CLEVER READING TITLES people use. My favorite this year:
2. I got to read with some some truly talented writers. Our reading was called “LONELY MONSTERS” Love the title–didn’t come up with it myself. I was over the moon to be invited–a few of the writers I met and tumbled into adoring last year, while some I met and bonded with this year. They were so inspiring!
Our stories were about zombie boyfriends, an apartment that grew hair, a pregnant doppelganger on a greyhound bus–just to name a few.
#2. YOUR SUBLIME READING LIST STARTS HERE:
I go to WisCon not because it’s cheap, but because of the buzz. So many book, TV show, and comics were getting attention at WisCon that I’d never heard of, but that sounded so interesting. I came back with a vast long reading list that I shall now dive into and greedily chew upon until next spring.
The most surprising place to pick up great recs was THE TIPTREE PRIZE panel. This is where Tiptree judges talk with each other for an hour and a half about what stories almost won the prize. The panel really should have been called: Amazing Sh** We Can’t Forget.
While the judges for this prize loved the novella they picked this year (“The New Mother” By Eugene Fischer) and loved Eugene too–who sat there during the panel beaming with joy–there were several books, comics, and TV shows that gripped them by the scruff of the neck and wouldn’t let go. They talked up these works and I definitely gleaned some excellent finds from that panel. Take a look:
3. I LEARNED SH**: The joy and pain of WisCon is that many incredible panels are all at the same time. On top of that, really cool people you just met tempt you to sit and chat with them while panels are going on. Choices, choices, choices. I went to a panel on Sex Robots & Zombies that set me on fire. (I’ve had a sex-robot-zombie story idea for forever.)
I went to an interesting panel on Genre Blending (something I lurv to do). THE BIG TAKE AWAY: Do not start off your story/novel/whatever with the more conventional genre–unless you want to piss your readers off big time.
A really clear but bad example of this would be:
Write a horror story that has a romance development, not a romance that takes a surprise horror story plot twist half way.
See what I mean? One style of genre-blending works, while the other is a bit daffy.
4. I DANCED ABOUT WITH ORGASMIC JOY: Well, almost. Although there is a major dance party called FLOOP at WisCon, I did not attend it, because I am one of those half-introverted people who can talk for hours until I suddenly turn off like a light bulb. Then I must retreat and hide.
Although I did not Floop with the majority of Con folk, I did flutter about feeling drugged with a spirit of joyful rapture in the midst of all these progressive, feminist spirits. My people! If you like intellectual, thoughtful, arty types–many with absolutely incredible hair–you’ll love WisCon.
I semi-wept my way through the big awards & dessert event Sunday night, I was just so moved by it all.
5. MADISON IS COOL: I was staying with Megan Milks and each morning I would run down near the lake. I saw a river otter splashing in the lake one night at twilight. I mean, come on–that’s pretty cool, right? Meanwhile, here’s a young woman with mermaid hair at Monty’s, a local diner (so vegan friendly it hurts), where I relished some rhubarb pie.
6. BUT WAIT–THERE’S MORE! All that for a $50.00 registration fee including free food in the Con Room and a Dessert Awards Ceremony (yes, with lots of vegan desserts.) I feel like I am failing to intelligently convey the awesomeness that is WisCon. This is because I wrote a lot today and wrote well, and that has the effect of leaving me feeling like someone sucked my brain out of my nose with a straw by this time of night. But if you go back and read that blog post I linked to above, you’ll find a much more articulate and thorough reflection of what I experienced.
That said, I think I just need to blog more…Will do a better job at posting weekly from now on. Look for me on Wednesday. My writing goal for the week is to finish up a title story from my collection The Hag Expert. The ending of this story has plagued me, and I’m a-l-m-o-s-t there.
See you next week.