Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Life, the Universe, and Everything 2017 Report

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 21, 2017

One of these days, I’m going to take some vacation time where I actually, you know, REST and vacation. Instead, I spent 12+ hours per day at a conference. Still, it was totally worth it! The Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium was a lot of fun this year, and I learned a lot.

I attended panels on such topics as planetary geology, outlining a novel in 30 minutes, urban fantasy vs. horror, improving the elevator pitch, writing action sequences, launching an indie book, creating a story idea that works, writing part-time vs. full-time, writing romance (something I really suck at, so I had a lot to learn), pulp fiction, and more. I missed the academic paper presentations, but my wife got to hit a couple of them presented by Jonathan Langford and Michaelbrent Collings, and they sounded like her favorite part of the entire weekend. Really great stuff.

Normally, I call a panel a success if I can pull out two or three useful tidbits that I can apply, and I think this was true of most panels I attended. I filled up many, many pages in my notebook that I need to remember to review soon. The 30-minute outline technique was actually pretty cool. The presenter, Rebecca Rhode, had created a variation of Susan Kaye Quinn’s brainstorming-to-outline technique, and had successfully used it for three published books and one work-in-progress. I tried it when I got home, and was impressed with the results. Now I just have to write the dang thing…

I also got to play in a demo game of the new(er) Star Wars game system by Fantasy Flight Games. Even better, I got to play it alongside my daughter (I think this was the first time we were both players, instead of me being the GM), I finally got to play in a game with Bob Defendi, and I got to learn what I did wrong when I ran a beginner game one-shot at Thanksgiving.

Friday night, I attended a meet & greet party for Immortal Works Press. I already knew about a third of the people there, and it was a fun chance to mingle and to partake of doughnuts at the end of the second day of the symposium. I didn’t have much of a voice by that time (largely due to a lingering cough from a cold I’d had THREE WEEKS earlier… dang why do those things take forever to go away?!?!?), but I had a good time.

Sadly, my tablet started freezing every time I tried to take a picture, so… I have no pics this year. Bummer.

Besides panels and gaming and parties, I also spent a little bit of time socializing. Er, I mean, networking. Yeah. But really… that’s often how things get done. I’ve talked with indie game developers about the advantages of networking, and the same seems to hold true in the author world. Particularly in the indie author world. And being able to talk in small groups or one-on-one is a lot easier for the more introverted of that group. But a lot of it was just me getting to hang out with frie I don’t get to see all that often… mainly at conventions like this one. It was nice…

Bottom line – it was well worth it for me to attend.  No surprise there. Now I get to sit down and decide where I want to be in my writing and game development … umm… not quite “careers” but I guess so… come this time next year, and how to get there from here.

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