Convention Report: Ravencon 2012

Purple robot is horrifiedLast weekend, I visited my second science fiction convention of the year, Ravencon, which was in North Chesterfield, Virginia.  It was chaos getting out the door and on the road.  I nearly forgot to pack underwear, and I did forget my camera (sorry, no photos.  I promise to be better next time.).

I arrived a day early to explore the area, but didn’t like the location much.  North Chesterfield wasn’t pedestrian or car friendly.  There were lots of restaurants but no easy way to get to them.  No sidewalks!  I visited the Science Museum of Virginia, a hands-on, interactive museum that was a lot of fun.  I hovered in the beach exhibit for a while, and I’m sure people must have wondered why I was scribbling notes, which I could barely read later.

The con started at 3:00 on Friday, and I jumped into three writing workshops: Writing Action Scenes, Building Suspense, and Creating a Timeline.  The organizers were generous with the writers at times — some of the panels had so many writers there wasn’t enough room at the table.  But it was made for a good mix of writers.  We had indie and traditionally published writers, and short story and novel writers, so there was a lot of different perspectives.

In the evening I attended the 2 hour A Different Kind of POV Workshop, which included writing based on a prompt.  That one was a little disappointing — all the writers said omniscient viewpoint isn’t used any more, and then later brought up examples in omniscient.  I dunno — maybe everyone is thinking of the 19th century version of omniscient?

Saturday is the big day of any con.  Ravencon had an astounding sixteen hours of workshops, on seven different tracks.  That was over 100 workshops!  I felt like there wasn’t enough time to take everything in!

First up was What Harry Potter Did Right, a fascinating discussion that delved into the themes of the story.   Other workshops I attended included Self-Publishing 101, Professional Self-Publishing, and Rooting for the Bad Guy.  On social media:  Macroblogging in the Microblogging Era and Self-Promotion and Social Anxiety Disorder.  Hated the title of the last one — it sounded like writers had mental problems — but it was an informative discussion with different perspectives.  Leona Wisoker mentioned how hard it was  for her to just to participate on a panel.

Saturday night must have had a lot of late partying because when I came for the Write What You Know Workshop, there were six writers on the panel and audience of one: Me.  Day (from my critique group), moderator for the workshop, sat in the audience, and Bud Sparhawk hopped into the audience as well to at least look like people were there.  About 2-3 more came in late.  Bud commented that anyone dealing with guns in their books should carry a gun around in their pocket for a while and see how dirty it is. (* Furtively writes information down. *)

Con highlights:

A 12-inch Col Jack O’Neill teddy bear.  Full camouflage uniform, and a Stargate SG-1 badge.

A kid in the con suite making popcorn sandwiches.

A waiter who was shocked at my magazine reading choice.  The gun ad on the back gave it away.  But honestly, how could I pass up articles called “Dealing with Multiple Attackers” and “How to Stop a Gunfight Fast” with a gun and magic fight in my book? (If you’re interested, these are in Shooting Illustrated.)

Attending Ravencon was empowering and exhausting, overwhelming and fun.  I’m looking forward to my next convention!

We’re getting into the season of vacation travel.  What are you planning to do — exotic trips, family visits, or just plain fun stuff like a good con?  I’d love to hear about your coming adventures!

7 thoughts on “Convention Report: Ravencon 2012

  1. Margaret April 22, 2012 / 8:45 am

    I’m jealous! We don’t have too many conventions/writers festivals to choose from over here. Never mind. I’d be interested in hearing more about the macro/micro blogging ideas if you’re willing to share some time. Our summer is quietly departing which means I’m beginning to dream about winter escapes to the mainland. It rarely happens but can be quite diverting. Alice Springs in central Australia has an annual “beanie festival” which I’ve wanted to go to, probably not this year. Google it-it’s quite amazing.


    • Linda Adams April 22, 2012 / 10:26 am

      I’ll do a blog post in more detail on Microblogging/Macroblogging. Across the board, they did mention: Don’t blog about writing, which is what Kristian Lamb also says. One of the writers mentioned that he had a lot of success with the interactions with Facebook and recommended getting involved with book groups (though he was already published). He was not having much success with a blog.

      The most notable thing though occurred afterward. I went on to search for these writers, figuring I’d follow them on Twitter and see what they’re doing. I was surprised to see that my blog is doing better than theirs, and that most of them did not have that many followers on Twitter!


      • Margaret April 22, 2012 / 8:59 pm

        Very interesting – I’m trying not to jump to conclusions about why – except that we know Kristen is onto something good with her advice/method. I hope they got into more than what shouldn’t be done. I will wait patiently.


  2. Janice Heck April 24, 2012 / 2:01 am

    I like to go to writing conferences, but you’re right, some sessions are packed while others languish…especially the early morning ones. I find conferences energizing. I get so many ideas and want to get back home to get to work. I wanted to go the DFW conference to meet Kristin Lamb, but my schedule is just too packed right now.


    • Linda Adams April 24, 2012 / 5:20 pm

      I’ve been settling for more local conferences. Much easier time wise and cost wise.


  3. Reetta Raitanen April 25, 2012 / 6:22 pm

    RavenCon sounds like an awesome conference. 100 hours of workshops. Wow! I’d love to hear more about Microblogging/Macroblogging. Also, the Harry Potter lessons interest me. And “Dealing with Multiple Attackers” and “How to Stop a Gunfight Fast” could totally be blog posts too.

    And shame you didn’t have your camera with you. I would have loved to see a picture of the Jack O’Neill teddy 😀


    • Linda Adams April 25, 2012 / 6:45 pm

      Looks like I have lots of interesting blog topics to do!


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