Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Report from the Three-Day Geek Party

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 28, 2015

CC2015_AwesomeGlen_640Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…

Well, okay, it does come to an end, or at least a hiatus. Although between FanX, Comic Con, the new Salt lake Gaming Con, Steamfest, Winter Faire, Anime Banzai and the like, geek partying in Utah is a pretty regular event.

Meanwhile, I try to sell books and games. Although at Salt Lake Comic Con this year, the selling books thing was what happened in-between panels and talking to people. I guess I could call this “networking,” and in a few cases that really is what it was. But these kinds of shows might be great for meeting people, but not so great for in-depth conversations. Other folks have books and games to sell as well, and hundreds of other people to say.

So I had fun. I sold books. I attended panels. I saw a few celebrities, although the need to hang out by our booth kept me from attending the some of the really big stars where you needed to get in line a half-hour or more in advance.

I did get to see Jenna Coleman, which was pretty cool. That’s three of the actresses who have played the Doctor’s companions that I’ve been able to see at Salt Lake Comic Con or FanX. Unfortunately, she needed to be pretty cagey about what happens this season, especially of her barely-announced departure from the show. Someone asked if she’d be willing to make another appearance in the show at a later date as Clara, and she slyly answered, “Well, that just depends on how Clara leaves, now, doesn’t it?” and refused to reveal anything else. Of course. She explained that when she played Oswin Oswald in Asylum of the Daleks, the script was originally written for just a temporary, throw-away character, but then Steven Moffat decided, “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if it was actually the Doctor’s upcoming new companion?” and ran with it. Coleman had already been cast as the new companion, and so it was no surprise to her.

CC2015_FantasyPanel3_640Most of the panels I attended were about writing. Go figure. We had a bunch of big authors this year, and so you’d better believe I was there soaking up whatever writing advice I could grab. The picture to the right is of the fantasy writing panel, consisting of James Owen, Jim Butcher, David Farland, RA Salvatore, Shawn Speakman, Jessica Day George, and Terry Brooks. How’s that for high-powered. Other panels mixed ’em up more with local best-selling writers like Michaelbrent Collings, Larry Correia, and Tracy Hickman, plus many more up-and-comers. While the panels weren’t geared for advanced writers, but they were full of advice and anecdotes.

I took tons of notes. Much of the advice was stuff that I’d heard before, but when a best-selling author suggests it, it holds a bit more weight. That, and there’s tons of advice and it’s easy to forget the more important stuff in the day-to-day tasks. The panels covered subjects like writing fantasy, writing urban fantasy, characters, handling violence in stories, writing horror, and how to grip the reader in the first five pages.

And don’t imagine that this advice doesn’t apply to other media, especially games.

CC2015_JimButcher_640Jim Butcher was full of a lot of amusing anecdotes, including how he wrote Harry Dresden to prove his writing teacher wrong. He was doing graduate work and had an English Literature degree, so he thought he knew everything, while his teacher had “merely” sold 40 novels or so. What did she know? He got tired of her criticisms, and in full-of-himself college student confidence that he knew everything, he tried to prove her wrong by deliberately implementing every single piece of her advice into one book, just to show her what a soulless piece of unsellable pablum it would be. That was the first Harry Dresden novel. Obviously, he lost that argument. He also spoke about how the Codex Alera series began as an Internet argument.  And BTW, he is definitely an extremely cool, sincere, humble, entertaining author that seems like an all-around nice guy.

Then of course, there was the costumes.

CC2015_Jane_640Sometimes I think half the entertainment at these cons are the other attendees. Some were absolutely amazing. Some were incredibly imaginative. Some, like Jane from Disney’s Tarzan on the right, seemed spot-on for all practical purposes. Others were inventive takes on favorite characters, like gender-swapped heroes or heroes transported into other eras or genres (like steampunk, etc.).

Our booth was right next to Ron Simmons, who was taking pictures and signing autographs. He had an almost constant influx of people coming to visit him, but he was a lot of fun to sit next to. He was funny and friendly the whole time.

With smaller cons, I run into the same people a lot – we joke that it feels like a family reunion more than a con. With something this size, though, we might run into people we know occasionally (it helps to have a lot of friends), or we have to hunt them down. It’s a challenge. Still, I managed to run into a lot of old friends – some of whom sought me out at my booth, some of whom I sought out at theirs. Friendly faces help make it a good time.

I left with half of a new wardrobe (helpful when I can keep wearing t-shirts to work), and I ended up buying as many new books as I sold. Ah, well. Maybe one day I’ll be in a position where I can make money at a con. Today is not that day, but that’s not a problem.


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