OsFest 5 has become one of my favorite conventions to date. It was an eight-hour drive to get there and back. Guy De Marco, Peter J. Wacks and I managed to slip in a dozen panels each over the weekend (okay, so Peter got in one more—overachieving bastard that he is), and from my side of the audience demarcation line, each and every one of them seemed to go exceedingly well. In fact, I walked away from this particular convention feeling more satisfied and productive than I have thus far.
I suppose I’m starting to get into the convention groove. However, there’s more to it than that. The panels at this convention were a mixed breed of writer’s seminars and fan-fic discussions, and both were jam-packed with useful and often entertaining information. I think part of the reason for that is the group I’ve sort of hitched my wagon to. We’re becoming a consortium of sorts, and we laughingly refer to ourselves as “The Handsome Authors Society.” And YES, that is a tongue-in-cheek appellation. In fact, the name is probably going to become even more of a misnomer as our next probably addition to the group is likely to be a woman we met at the convention. Time will tell on that one, but I have a pretty good feeling about her inclusion.
But I digress.
Most of the satisfaction of this convention came not from me and my literary compatriot’s discussions about writing fiction. It was derived from three panels in particular. The panels were “Writing Groups,” “eBook Publishing” and “Make a Plot in an Hour.”
I’ll be honest with you. Most fan-fic panels are designed to show that authors know what they’re writing about and to give them exposure. Sure, it’s great for the fans (and potential fans) to meet and greet their favorite writers, but the bottom line is that it’s an opportunity for writers to strut a little and promote their work.
In the three panels I’m talking about, however, we didn’t even introduce ourselves. There was no “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I have this book or anthology or whatever” at the beginning. These three panels were all about the audience… and it felt great to contribute something to a group of aspiring writers. It was like paying something forward, or back, or sideways, however you want to look at it.
When I was younger, I spent a couple of years teaching at the University of Northern Colorado. I have to admit, that was some of my favorite time spent at University. There’s a passion we all share, and that’s a passion for the written word. When I was up in front of these three panels, the old teacher in me stood up and jumped back into shoes that hadn’t seen him in a very long time, and it felt great.
I’m hoping that as I get better at my craft this time spent teaching at conventions prepares me for the writing camp (in Louisiana—I already have the place picked out) that I someday hope to run.
That’s the takeaway for me here. There’s a facet of my future whose seed may rest squarely in the soil of OsFest 5.