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Can-Con 2014 (Oct 3-5)

The list of panels I planned on going to was altered slightly based on panel cancellations and me changing my mind. Here is the list I went to with a few takeaways from each:

Medical Science Fiction & Biological Engineering [Alison Sinclair, Julie Czerneda, Agnes Cadieux]
- Life will find a way.
- Some efforts to improve things in the world don’t want publicity.

How to Get Traditionally Published [Max Turner, Matt Moore, Matthew Johnson, Alison Sinclair, Julie Czerneda]
- Avoid writing purply prose (over-using adjectives).
- Stay away from people like book coaches who just want to take advantage of you. Check out sites like Writer Beware.
- 35,100 words is often where it gets annoying to write.

RPGs: How the Industry has Changed, Open Gaming Licenses and Breaking in [Geoff Gander, Alice Black]
- You can’t copyright a game system.
- 4 Styles:
1. Event Based
2. Location Based
3. Story Based
4. Crisis Management
- The world is still happening when characters aren’t there, but the characters have to have an impact.

The Economics of Self-Publishing [Kevin Johns, S.M. Carriere, Mark Leslie-Lefebvre, Tim Carter]
- Minimum cost for professional quality is $3,000.
- Short fiction is best published in electronic format only
- Up to 25,000 words

A Peek Inside Canadian Labs [Pippa Wysong]
- Canada is the leading innovator in potatoes (yukon gold) and lettuce, but we have a lot of other things going on too like:
- Applications for nanocellulose
- Physics (Canada Light Source, SNOLab, TRIUMF)
- Very small satellites
- Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
- Research and Development
- L’Oreal (Montreal)
- National Research Center (Ottawa)
- Canadian Space Agency
- Technology & Clothing
- elevator shoes
- bear deterrent clothing

Romance: Learnings that can be Imported into any Genre [Marie Bilodeau, Linda Poitevin, Coreene Callahan, Leslie Brown, Lynne MacLean]
- A scene must move the story forward and give new information. Your character needs to be challenged. Adding great pacing to this leads to a story that is hard to put down.
- Doing psychological profiles on each character will help you know your characters well before you put them into situations.
- Romance really focuses on human connection.
- Write in layers.

Taking the Next Step in a Creative Career [Jay Odjick, Gabrielle Harbowy, Linda Poitevin, Marie Bilodeau, Robin Riopelle]
- Plan releases
- It’s best to have more than one thing ready to publish or close to publishing
- No more than 30 minutes per day is plenty to manage social media (I need to work on this)
- It shouldn’t be all promotion either. People need to know you’re human.
- It’s a good idea to have a separate name for children’s work from the one you use to write for adults
- Keep foreign language rights and any rights for a country you aren’t selling to. Also, limit the amount of years of exclusivity.

Exploring the Solar System: Mars Rovers, Pluto Fly-By, Cassini - What have we learned? [Peter Atwood, Mark Robinson, Wolfram Lunscher, Canadian Space Society]
- There’s a lot of cool stuff around Saturn.
- Asteroids can have moons.
- Ethical aspects of space exploration vs. Starving people of the world.
- Space exploration helps us understand our own planet and predict its future.

Face-Palms of World-Building, or, How to Fail Epically [Mark Robinson, Andrew Barton, Julie Czerneda, Cenk Gokce]
- A good world will allow you the freedom for your readers to take leaps of faith when you decide to throw in something crazy.
- Sometimes small things will mean large gains. You can be subtle with it.
- Don’t get into the minutiae of things that aren’t relevant
- Why should anyone care?
- Does it connect to the plot or a subplot?
- Implications of things like weather.
- Ignorance and laziness are responsible for a lot of world building failures.

Wattpadd [Maaja Wentz, Linda Poitevin, Mark Leslie-Lefebvre]
- Serial fiction
- Good for building a following.
- beta reader potential
- Allows interaction with readers.

Enhancing Creative Imagination [Dr. Jim Davies]
- Counterontology Theory (Pascal Boyer)
- Keep a file of ideas, combine 2 or 3 to make something interesting.
- Write down the most obvious way and then change it.

Left-Field Approaches to Publishing [Caroline Frechette, Hayden Trenholm, Su Sokol, Coreene Callahan]
- Co-ops
- Collectives
- Chap books

Getting Noticed (in a good way) in the Novel and Short Story Slush Piles [Mike Rimar, Nicole Lavigne, Sean Moreland, Gabrielle Harbowy]
- Follow submission guidelines!
- Don’t take rejection personally.
- With the cover letter, again follow guidelines per the publisher, but also less is more.

A Comparison on the Building Codes of the Northern US States, Chapters on Plumbing and Wiring [Marie Bilodeau]
- Best panel EVER!
- Hopefully I can overcome my fear of singing in public for next year.

Opportunities for Self-Publishing and Hybrid Models for Authors [Mark Leslie-Lefebvre]
- Some book sellers refuse to carry books from that retailer that starts with an ‘A’
- DO NOT try and create your own cover unless you are a graphic designer by day. Spend money for a real cover because people DO judge books by their covers.
- Novellas sell in digital format.
- Publishing Methods:
- Traditional (slow, low risk, advance is a debt, vast expertise, you still market)
- Self (digital is more successful)
- Fully Assisted (you pay all, get higher royalties, no gatekeepers, high writing focus for the writer)
- DIY (you are everything and outsourcing is key)
- Community (blog, Twitter, Wattpadd, etc)
- Indie/Regional (like self without stigma)
- 3Ps:
1. Patience (It takes time)
2. Practice (Write lots)
3. Persistence (Write your next book)

Superhero Versus the Collective - Do Superhero Tropes Devalue Collective Action? [Jay Odjick, Mark Shainblum, Su Sokol]
- Superheros fix everything often by themselves rather than inspiring the people to work together to solve problems.
- Crutch: We don’t have to be better people because the superhero will save the day and fix things for us.
- Leave open-ended metaphors so people can take what they want from it.
- This can be too safe and not encourage talking about key issues
- Some things are too sensitive like what’s happening in the middle east.
- Also, swastika can’t be shown in Germany, so Captain America fights the Hydra, which we know are Nazis, but German people wouldn’t be able to have most of the merchandise.

Talking about your Sonic Wrench and Other Tricks for Flushing Out the Nerds Who Are Hiding As Muggles [Marie Bilodeau, S.M. Carriere, Erik Buchanan, Timothy Carter, Mark Shainblum]
- I really enjoyed this panel. Notes weren’t necessary.

The Mystery Plot Form for Aspiring Writers [Hayden Trenholm, Derek K√ľnsken, Barbara Fradkin]
- Several types
- Caper
- Crime
- Cozy
- Gumshoe
- Police Procedural
- Thriller
- Whodunit (Murder Mystery)
- True Crime
- Amateur Sleuth
- Hard-Boiled (Noir)
- Soft-Boiled
- Suspense
- People can’t handle abstract things like society.
- Mystery has a strong moral component and justice must prevail.
- Range from funny to Hannibal Lecter

After all of that learning, I felt rather brain-fried for a couple of days, but also really inspired. It seemed the most mundane things would spark a story idea. With no shortage of inspiration, I’m excited for NaNoWriMo to be starting in a couple of weeks. My Nano novel has been planned out and added to the system and I’m raring to go and write it. It won’t be easy to get my daily word count of 1,667 words in order to meet the 50,000 word goal, but I’m going to do my best. I do have some other committments such as two martial arts seminars, which are important as early December means grading and I need all the practice I can get with my sword. I also have regular martial arts classes, and a couple of roller derby practices to make. Oh and that pesky thing called a day job that ensures I can eat and keep having a place to live. I’m looking forward to this upcoming challenge to see how much I can accomplish when I really put the effort in. I’m starting a new story for Nano, rather than continuing my current novel. Don’t worry, I WILL finish that one too, just not in November.

As part of prep for Nano, I have mapped out chapters and some characters. I’ve been cleaning my condo. I’ve also started getting up earlier by allowing one snooze instead of two or three. I’m going to start going to bed a little earlier, so I can get up earlier and have more writing time. It won’t be easy as I like my sleep, but it’s the difficult things in life that I love the most. Also, we get an extra hour of sleep in November, which will help. I’m looking forward to that despite that it represents the coming winter months… Anyways, that pesky job thing will be upon me soon.



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