Back from Balticon 47 – Part 4

by Doc Coleman on June 12, 2013 · 0 comments

in Balticon

Time to bring Back from Balticon to an end. This is part 4, the Final Installment. (cue dramatic music) Time to take a look at Memorial Day Monday. A day to do more than franticly pack up your hotel room and say teary good-byes to friends old and new in the lobby (although that happens too). It is a day to take some time to remember those men and women who gave their all to establish and defend America, and be grateful for the things that their sacrifice has brought us. It’s also the last day of con; there are still panels going on, and some of the coolest stuff is saved for last.


Despite being up very, very, very, very late on Sunday night, I was up early for the last day of Balticon. I needed to be! I had a 10 AM panel. This was the only panel I had on the Reader’s track and it was actually an unusual panel in and of itself. The Panel was Plotters vs. Pantsers. What made this panel so unusual was the fact that so many of the guests of the con wanted to be on this panel, they actually split off a second session of the same panel. The first session was held on Saturday at 9 PM. This was the second session. For those who may not be familiar with the terms, Plotters vs. Pantsers refers to the ways that writers organize their stories. The theory goes that writers are divided into two camps: Outliners and Discovery writers. Outliners, aka plotters, create a detailed outline of their story, mapping out all the action, the twists, and the reveals so that they know when everything should happen. They also have a very good idea before they even start writing how long their story will be. Discovery writers don’t bother with an outline. They just sit down and start writing at the beginning of the story and discover what happens as they go along. As the saying goes, they write by the seat of their pants. So, pantsers.

We did have a pretty diverse panel of writers on the panel, and a good distribution of writing styles, ranging from one author who just sits down with an idea and writes to find out what happens to another who outlines everything out in great detail has just about every detail worked out before he ever writes the opening line. The rest of us were pretty much hybrid writers, outlining, or, as I prefer to describe it, “milestoning”, to some degree, but letting the story change and evolve as we write. One cool concept that came out during the panel was the idea that it doesn’t matter how you prepare for writing your first draft, what will make your story tight and readable is how diligently you do your revision passes and apply the additional research you identify as needed from your first draft. The first draft is very important, but not enough is said about how revisions are responsible to take a story and make it a great story.

MultiCreativesAfter talking with some departing friends in the lobby, and receiving a bottle of scotch that he couldn’t take home on the plane from Scott Sigler, I hurried off to the Multi-Creatives panel to support friends P.C. Haring and Starla Huchton. A couple of the scheduled panelists had already left the con for the trip home, so moderator Starla Huchton pulled Christiana Ellis and myself up out of the crowd and made us part of the panel. This finally gave me a chance to be on a panel with Renée Chambliss, whom I’ve heard great things about, but never got a chance to meet before. I haven’t really had a chance to get to know Renée very well, but I hope to see more of her in the future.

The Multi-Creatives panel addressed why some authors aren’t just authors. Why do they work in other media? Why do they write, and podcast, or voice act, or do graphics? And because I was sitting next to Starla at the end of the table, I got thrown under the bus a lot. No problem. I’m used to that on Galley Table. I did get some relief from Christiana and the others on some of the questions. This was a very fun discussion with an amazing group of talented people. And for some reason they had me along. A lot of it had to do with dealing with multiple projects, how to keep from being distracted by those pesky squirrels, and how to juggle them. My only regret is that Abigail Hilton couldn’t be there with us.  I do have the recording for this panel, and it will be in the Balticon 47 Wrap up eventually. I think you’ll enjoy listening to the conversation, and it will help this paragraph make more sense.

IMG_0978Afterwards, it was time for the traditional unofficial New Media farewell lunch at Noodles & Co. We had a huge group and took up the whole front of the restaurant. As always, it was a lot of fun and a great chance to spend a last few moments with friends before everyone had to head home.

And all too soon, Balticon was over. The burgeoning hotel full of friends, old and new, quickly became a vast empty maze. It was now time to head home, filled with great memories, new ideas, and new inspirations. It was a great Balticon, and I can’t wait until next year.

If you’ve missed Balticon, or you went, but want to relive some of those moments, please subscribe to my Balticon feed for the Balticon 47 Wrap up podcast. It isn’t as comprehensive as the Balticon Podcast, but while they are reorganizing, it is a good source for Balticon content. I’m planning on doing more with Balticon 48 and trying to lend a hand helping organize the New Media Track, if they’ll have me. I may also find myself helping out with the Balticon Podcast before then. I’ll definitely be making my audio available to the official podcast, and I look forward to seeing the Balticon Podcast get back up and running.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my four-part Balticon retrospective, and that you’ll listen to the Balticon 47 Wrap up. And I hope I’ll see you there at Balticon 48!

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