What is DetCon1?
The simple answer is the DetCon1 is the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC). But for those, like I used to be, who are not sure what that means, let me clarify. WorldCon, to me, is the grand daddy of all Science Fiction conventions. Well, when WorldCon is going to be outside North America (this year it is in London), there is also a NASFiC.
This year, DetCon1 is being held in Detroit at the Marriott Renaissance Center from July 17-20th. If you have not thought about going, it is not too late. I strongly encourage any author, publisher, or fan of Science Fiction to attend.
Why should I go?
Last year I finally made it to my first convention. I went to Lone Star Con 3, last year’s WorldCon. I figured I’d go big or go home. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. I walked away with a wealth of knowledge for my writing, my business, and my reading list. It was an entire weekend of fun and it cost me almost nothing. A small membership fee (way less than $100), hotel and a flight. But the things I learned made it all worth it.
Anyway, I made up my mind that I was going to go to every WorldCon I could attend. There are two reasons this is a good idea. First, it makes me get away once a year. Second, WorldCon always moves around. Thus making it a great way to see new places. I really loved San Antonio, and I would never have thought to go there if it wasn’t for the WorldCon.
Well, as I mentioned above, this year it is in London. And my move to Washington made it just financially impossible to go. But even if you are going to London this year, you should also go to Detroit. The conventions are at different times, just so those that can attend both have that ability.
But here is why you should go:
Panels: DetCon1 will have four days full of panels. What are panels? A group, typically 2-6 people, discuss a assigned topic for about an hour. The topics at DetCon1 are very vast. They range from Literary to Scientific, Music and Art, and on and on. You get to hear experts, novices, publishers, artists, doctors, and other qualified individuals discuss these topics and offer their advice. Sometimes, if time permits, you even get to ask a few questions. And many panelists are willing to talk to you after the panel, if their schedule permits.
I went to so many panels at WorldCon. And one thing I knew I wanted to do was to speak on a panel. Why? Well, like this blog, I like to help people, and I do that with my ideas and thoughts. Panels are a great way for me to share those. And, I applied to be a panelist at DetCon1 and they said yes! (more on that soon).
Workshops: Where panels are more of a one way communication, a lot like a lecture, workshops are more of a two way street. You work with others to develop a certain skill or item. There are a number of these and they vary in type and style. While you learn a ton of stuff from panels, you practice a lot in Workshops. These are often intense periods since time is limited. But I love the fast learning method.
Film Festival: I wish I had known about these earlier when I was at Lone Star Con, because I missed some good ones. Film Festivals show short films made by talented folks. The one I attended showed ten different short films in about an hour and half. They were amazing! This is a great way to take a break from the hustle of the convention and see some excellent media art.
Art Show: I could have gone broke at the Lone Star Con art show. And Detroit has some awesome artists. The Artist guest of honor is one of my favorites, John Picacio. My hope is to get a chance to meet him and maybe (finances permitting) pick up something of his. But even if you can only look, I can assure you you will fall in love with the art at the convention.
Kids Programs: This year I am going alone. But last year I went with my whole family and the Kids programming was a life saver for my young kids. DetCon1’s programming appears to be the same way. Kids can only take so much adult stuff before they go nuts. Kids programming is built just for them and includes a number of crafts.
Dealers: Merchants of as much variety as you can imagine come to the convention to show and sell their stuff. Of course you won’t leave without a book or two, but there are also shirts, comics, patches, jewelry, and other great things to buy. I don’t know what dealers will be at DetCon1, but my wallet is already opening.
Also, I discovered some great writers by browsing the Dealer room. The books are excellent and I wound up grabbing a few new names because that was the point. To experience something new.
So much more: Exhibits, Parties, Masquerade, Gaming, and so much more. DetCon1 is certain to have some great exhibits to check out. I missed the Masquerade at Lone Star, so I hope to attend this one (but I have a busy schedule already). I also missed out on a lot of parties last time. I didn’t find out about them until late Saturday. So I hope that I can attend a lot more this time.
So you see, there are more than enough reasons to to go to DetCon1. You can register online for the full four days for just $75 for adults, $25 for kids (4 and under are free!). So if you can get to Detroit, you see the value is there. Not sure if you want to register online, you can do so at the door too. They also have one day memberships that vary in price based on the day. So please, go check it out!
I almost forgot the biggest reason you all should go!
I’ll be there. I applied to be a participant this year, and was so honored when the programming staff selected me as one of their participants. I am even more honored by how many panels they have have assigned me to. So it would be great if a few of my fans, and fans of Plasma Frequency could come out and see me.
Please note, the below list of panels is not final. Although the programming staff say it is “done” (their quotes, not mine), these things are always subject to change. You’ll want to check the program when you check in.
Of course when I am not on a panel I will be attending them, and also I will be around looking at all there is to see.
So here is where they have me scheduled (*again subject to change so check the final program).
The Very First Thing: Story Titles
Description: How do writers choose story titles? What makes a good title? Who gets to decide what the title will be? And which comes first, the story or the title?
My thoughts: I am lousy at titles, and I have had to adapt to that failing. So I hope to get a chance to discuss how I break down my title block and finally put a title on my stories.
Time: 7pm in the Nicolet A Room*
Iron Author Detroit – Late Night Edition
Description: Watch four authors compete for the title of Iron Author Detroit! Witness their efforts at turning the Mystery Ingredient Word into an SF/F short story in five minutes or less. Judge the resulting tales through the magic of the Audience Applause-O-Meter. Who will reign supreme?
My thoughts: I am the Moderator or Emcee for this one. I am excited about this one too. I love short fiction, which is why I publish them. So, getting to see four authors write a story in five minutes or less… oh man this is going to be great.
Time: 10pm in the Nicolet B Room*
What am I Looking For?
Description: Agents and editors talk about the sorts of projects that interest them individually and answer general publishing questions.
My Thoughts: I am so honored and so excited for this panel. Obviously I will be representing Plasma Frequency on this panel. But,as of right now the other panelists are Diana Pho of Tor books, Kate Baker and Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld, and Sam Morgan who is an Agent. Now, Clarkesworld has always been a publication I have admired and has been what I aspired for by opening Plasma Frequency. So to sit on a panel with Neil Clarke and Kate Baker. Man, I really hope they are there and that aspect doesn’t change. However, I am also excited to represent the semi-pro market on this panel. This is a good one to attend if you’ve wanted to know what it is we are publishing and why.
Time: 1pm in the Mackinac East room*
+/- a Shirt: Starting a Business
Description: How to lose your shirt (or maybe get rich) in starting a business.
My Thoughts: This one wasn’t on my initial itinerary, but I am glad they added me. Plasma Spyglass, my company, is my second business. So I am excited to talk about what I learned from my first failure, and what I know from Plasma Spyglass to be successful.
Time: 3:00pm in the Ambassador Salon 1*
Description: Richard Flores IV, Michael Haynes, and Daniel O’Riordan read from their work.
My Thoughts: Of all the items on my list, this one I am the most nervous about. I don’t know which novel I will read from, but I am leaning towards my most recent one, Broken Trust. Readings are a great way to hear a book in the author’s voice. That was how I discovered the Split Worlds Series by Emma Newman.
Time: 6pm in the Joliet A room*
Hobbies as Research
Description: The best way to write about something is by attempting to do it. But the problem with doing this is that it can be easy to let the research take over the story. How do we balance the story with the fun factoids and tidbits we learn while doing things we plan to incorporate into our novels? How does doing it ourselves lend authenticity and credibility to the story?
My Thoughts: This is a subject about balance. Obviously research is a big part of writing. But knowing what parts to share and what to leave out is a difficult thing. This will be a great knowledge builder for new and experienced writers.
Time: 11:00am in the Mackinac East room*
*Remember these are the times and rooms as they are scheduled today. DetCon1 can change these, so please check your programs. And please come see me.