The Great Penguicon Brain Dump!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Penguicon, an open source convention in Southfield, Michigan. It was great to go home, and to see friends (and family!) there. New people, too! Here’s a rundown of the panels I was on, and the takeaways from each.

Social Media for Writers

A lively discussion about our most popular means of communication – not just for fans, but fellow authors, agents, and even publishers! We came to the consensus that Twitter was the most popular, a “watercooler” of sorts for writers. Plus, as I’ve mentioned on my blog before, a GREAT resource for authors ready to submit their work! We also discussed  how NOT to behave on social media (i.e. constant self promotion but no substance, harrassing agents/publishers/other authors, etc.).

Screenwriting Tips

Oh, this was a doozy! I haven’t worked on a screenplay in some time. My panel partner, David Kilgore, wasn’t as seasoned. Imagine our dread when our third, and FAR more experienced co-panelist didn’t show up! We held our own for the first of the two hour block, and our third panelist came in for the second (he’d been caught in traffic thanks to a car accident). We discussed different screenwriting software, formatting, and even a bit about legal matters.

One audience member, a writer, was very reserved at first. When he started explaining his book, he lit up! He got so excited. I loved seeing that. That’s the magic. Always keep the magic!

My Reading/Book Signing!

Jen Haeger and I had a full room! The brand, spankin’ new Writer’s Block was awesome. The reading room was small, but comfortable. The “bookstore” was amazing. All the attending authors had their work on the shelves. Made some sales for The Maiden’s Courage! Cha-ching! I also gave the audience a taste of the soon-to-be re-released Jericho Rising, which was very well received. I’m excited to see it go to a better home. The only problem was that I almost lost my voice. Having a two hour panel just beforehand was rough on my throat! But I powered through it. Glad I had the opportunity!

Character Problems

This panel discussed the not-so-nice traits of our characters, and how far is *too* far when it comes to writing them. We also touched on characters from different television shows, and how they change for better (or worse) to illustrate our points. Also discussed were redeeming…and not so redeeming…qualities in characters, and how they might advance the story.

Finding an Agent

My favorite panel! The ladies were wonderful! We had two agented authors (Merrie Haskell and Ann Leckie), and two unagented-but-with-full-manuscripts out (myself and Christine Daigle). We discussed how NOT to approach agents, how TO connect with agents, our experiences, and what to do about rejections. Several audience members came up to thank us, with one telling us she, too, was waiting with a full out! She had been feeling down, and we reminded her (and ourselves!) how she’d beaten the odds by having full manuscript requests. She left beaming! That’s one of the best parts about being on panels at conventions: helping and encouraging people.

It was a pretty good year for Penguicon. 🙂