I arrived at Can-Con full of excitement and wonder. Unlike many other cons in Ottawa, I knew a fair amount of the attendees and the panelists, so it felt exactly like I belonged.
The first panel I had wanted to attend was to be a debate between two Ottawa-area authors on whether short-fiction or novels are better. The panel was unfortunately canceled as one panelist was delayed, so I instead attended the panel on Medical Science Fiction and Biological Engineering, which was moderated by Julie Czerneda, presented by Alison Sinclair and Agnes Cadieux. There were discussions on things like stem cells and how they may test on human stem cells eventually rather than on mice or people. The potential implications of getting your own genome scanned for diseases you are predisposed to developing was another topic. There was speculation that since technology is becoming cleaner than anything biological and given that humans are already beginning to implant their bodies with birth control and diabetic pumps, it’s likely that implanting will become popular like tattoos. What really intrigued me was the idea that the world currently has the resources for all humans to have good lives, but the politics in different regions is what stops humanitarian efforts from succeeding. I came to the conclusion that the world is torn between wanting people to have the freedom to be individuals and wanting to fix the problems on the planet. World peace means imposing some beliefs and cultural ideas on another group of people.
The next panel I went to was called “How to Get Traditionally Published”, which was moderated by Matt Moore, presented by Max Turner, Matthew Johnson, Alison Sinclair, and Julie Czerneda. I learned the term ‘writing purple’ or ‘purply prose’, which is jargon for over-describing (using too many adjectives). I learned writers often get annoyed with their book around 35,100 words. I asked about “book coaches” and was told they are not recommended as a pathway to success as a writer and often people sink somewhere around $10,000 into one unnecessarily. They confirmed that the most important element in selling your book is to show your passion for your work. If you don’t care, why should anyone else?
The final panel I went to was presented by Geoff Gander and Alice Black. It was called “RPGs: How the Industry has Changed, Open gaming Licenses and Breaking in”. I learned that nearly everything I once knew about RPGs has changed. I learned you can’t copyright a game system. Apparently Wizards of the Coast was bought out. Yes, I know that is very old news to most people. Open Gaming License is a thing. It was suggested that anyone wanting to write RPGs start with one module and see how that goes. You need to be ready for your characters to do nearly anything. They might feel they don’t have enough information to go where you want them to, so they’ll just get drunk at the nearest tavern. Your characters have an impact, but the world still goes on when they aren’t around. Much of this can be applied to writing fiction.
I felt that Day One was like a tease. It was a scrumptious appetizer that got me excited for what was to come in the rest of the panels ahead.