Monday, September 26, 2011

FenCon 2011

Last weekend was FenCon VIII/DeepSouthCon 49, a magnificent convention held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in North Dallas/Addison, Texas from September 23-25. I was privileged to be a special guest of the convention, as I was teaching my very first Writers' Workshop.

The Writers' Workshop kicked off Thursday the 22nd, and included three 3-hour sessions of critics and two presentations, across four days. The focus I had chosen was on "creating novel openings," essentially talking about whether, as an editor viewing a submission, a student's first chapter would have me reading on to chapter two. I had 19 students, and the workshop was organized expertly by Debbie Waller. I found it exhausting but very, very fulfilling, a wonderful time, and I thank you all for having me. (And thank you Heidi Berthiaume for the Dark Truth Stout!)

As for the rest of the con - I was delighted that my good friends Stephan Martiniere, Madelynn Martiniere, Vincent Villafranca, and Michelle Villafranca were there, as well as new friends (and in the latter case new Pyr author) Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine. And though I see them more here than I did there, it was also great to hang with Julie and Steve from my local book club!

Friday after the workshop was the guest of honor lunch at El Fenix, where I got to meet Gail Carriger, who was wonderful. Later that evening Bradley Denton did a magnificent job with Opening Ceremonies, running it Late Night With David Letterman style, right down to having a band and a couch. And musical guest Joe Bethancourt has made me a serious banjo fan!

Vincent is a tremendous sculpture and the pieces he had in the art show were amazing. I'm in love with the Ghoul Gun, but one of the most amazing things I saw was the working "Monkey Canon" that he brought in the trunk of his car to show me. We dragged Baen books publisher (and weapons aficionado) Toni Weisskopf out to see it to, and she asked many intelligent questions I wouldn't begin to know how to ask while I practiced shooting imaginary armies of intelligent gorillas.

Saturday night, Stephan & Madelynn Martiniere, Vincent and Michelle Villafranca, workshop participant Lucien Rene Nanton, and I headed out to the Queen of Sheba for Ethiopian food. It's a fun experience, if not my favorite cuisine (the spongy bread is very tasty but tends to expand in the stomach), but the company was delightful. This was followed by a private tasting of Dark Truth Stout in my very large suite, and then the DeepSouthCon 50 party, equally great.

Sunday I concluded the Writers' Workshop with a screenwriting presentation (the same one I gave in Austin at ArmdilloCon when I sat in on that workshop, now refined). I've been interested for a while now on how "the Hollywood screenplay formula" that I learned from my great guru Dan Decker can be applied to novel writing. Then it was time for my only actual panel, "The Economics of Fantasy," and closing ceremonies. I had a final meal with two of my workshop students (you were all great), said my goodbyes, and headed home.

A huge thanks to Julie Barrett, Russ Miller, Tim Miller, Tim Morgan, Jimmy Simpson, Rhonda Eudaly (my wonderful Guest Liaison), Bobb Waller, Debbie Waller, and everyone who worked so hard to make this such an amazing weekend! You are a great bunch of people and FenCon is a great con!

Now, here's the Ghoul Gun! This thing SHOOTS GHOULS! I mean, the ghouls are the projectiles. You shoot them AT ghosts. Because--Doh!--what else do you shoot ghosts with?


AVDutson said...

Those are awesome guns! I'm hearing all kinds of 'boom-stick' references.

Tim Morgan said...

Thanks so much Lou. We are very pleased you had a good time. You were a fantastic Writer's Workshop instructor and a great FenCon guest. You are welcome back to FenCon any time.

-Tim Morgan

Lou Anders said...

Thank you very much Tim. I'd love to come back!