July 25th, 2006


WriterCon 2006: my Really Long Writeup


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Friday 10:15-11:30am
[myth] A Demon-Hunting, Helpless-Helping, Dysfunctional Family: Natural and Chosen Families
What makes a family? Who's in (as kin), who's out, and how can you tell? Is it always about blood? How do the shows portray different kinds of families and family relationships? From kinship to fellowship, let's talk about families.
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Friday 11:30am-1:00pm
[myth] A World Without Shrimp: The Importance of Place
How much do setting and place affect the rest of the story? Does it make a difference whether you're in Sunnydale or Neptune or big-city LA? At an evil law firm or in a spaceship? A high school or a magic shop, a hotel or a rented storefront office? And what happens when the usual suspects end up in unusual places? Talk about setting, the extra character.
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Friday: Firefly Unzipped
During the lunch block we watched the fan movie (with action figures!) that Lorraine and friends had made.  Well, we spent an hour while they worked on getting the projector etc. set up and working, but there was still time enough to watch the whole film, which was good.
While we waited I rubbed Michaela's shoulders -- in part for something to do and in part because she was cold (Trinity 1 was definitely over-air-conditioned).  She talked about wanting to hibernate; I totally would have cuddled with her under the table :)
I went basically because Lorraine is my friend, but I actually enjoyed the movie a lot.

I think we skipped the 3:00 panel block to have lunch.

Friday 4:30-6pm
[myth] Haven't I Seen you Somewhere Before? Character Archetypes
We see them, over and over. Variations on a theme, or classics with a new twist. Who are they, what do they do, and what do they mean? Compare, contrast, and discuss the archetypical characters found in any or all of the shows under consideration, and variations on the archetypical themes.
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Friday 8-11pm

We had a general panel for an hour, then breakout sessions.

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Friday: blue drinks and dancing girls

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Saturday 3-4:30pm
[myth] Gateway for Lost Souls: The Ins and Outs of Fandom
Who are we, and what do we do that makes us "fans"? What differentiates a "real" fan from a non-fan? What are the different types of fans, and what do they do? After the curtain closes on a kiss, a smile, a rainy alleyway battle, where do all the fandoms go? What happens to fannish practices once there's no new canon material to work with? What attracts you to a new fandom? In other words, what are y'all up to these days? This session is an invitation to engage in some unabashed navel-gazing, and have fun thinking and talking about various aspects of fan culture.
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Saturday 4:30-6pm
[myth] Cold Dead What? A Lecture on Vampire Physiology
It's tough to be a vampire: foreheads that can go all bumpy at the most inopportune moments, expensive dental bills, a complete inability to get a decent tan and an all-liquid diet. With all the different myths out there, it's hard to separate the truth about vampires from the rumors we pick up on the streets. Well, now you don't have to be embarrassed to ask. We've got the straight scoop on what goes on in a vampire's body. We'll let you know what canon says about it and what experts have to say on the matter. Don't believe the rumors. Come get the facts!
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Saturday: tarot

The Vampire Physiology panel let out early, which would have been great for getting dinner but I had a tarot reading with carmen_sandiego at 6pm (I had actually asked for Friday but wrote it on Saturday in my schedule.  She graciously squeezed me in anyhow.)

Not gonna lie, I did it primarily because I couldn't pass up Buffy tarot deck.

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Saturday 8-11pm
Cocktail Party

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Sunday 10-11:30am
[myth] First Church of Joss: Representations of Religion
Lots of religions and belief systems are shown, or at least alluded to, on our favorite shows. Christianity, Judaism, Wicca, Atheism-just to name a few. Come talk about the metaphysical and the divine, and how they are portrayed. How important are they to the overall themes of the shows, and how big a deal is accuracy?
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[Sidenote: harmonyfb has started churchofjoss for further discussioning.]

Sunday: lunch

Lorraine, Michaela, and I were hungry and not deeply interested in the 11:30 set of panels, so we went to lunch at Lucky China again, this time with Fia.

I got almond tofu this time.  Yum.  And we all got plum wine, which was also yummy.

We snagged fortune cookies on the way out.  And added "in bed" to all of them -- which is as it should be.

Mine was "People appreciate your leadership qualities" (in bed!)

We went upstairs for a bit, and in the elevator crazydiamondsue talked about taking Lorraine and Brandi and breeding a race of "hot dancy women."

And when we were up in their room hanging out I got to cuddle with Lorraine and then with Michaela.  Yay cuddle.

Sunday 3-4:30pm
[myth] A Purely Scientific Spell: Magic, Science, and Technology
Does science have consequences? What's your favorite wiretapping software? And wow, what big fancy weapons you've got there! From cutting-edge high-tech to flaboten, all our shows make ample use of advanced means to their ends. How well do they use it, what does it mean, and what difference does it make (if any) which means they pick?
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Sunday: Travel

I actually got a shuttle shortly after 4:30, got a MARTA within a few minutes of arriving, and the MARTA trip only took about 35 minutes.  So I was lounging at my gate 45 minutes before takeoff.  (I called my dad to chat.)  That made me wish I had stayed a bit later to say goodbye to various people.  Ah, well.

My flight actually got in a bit early.  Was supposed to get in at 9:28 but I was outside the airport waiting for the Silver Line at 9:28.

"Warning: entry size exceeds 64KB. It will be truncated at server. Post it anyway?"

That's a first for me. I had read somewhere recently that 65,535 is the character limit for LJ posts, but mine clocked in at 54,278 so I'm not quite sure how they calculate this.

So I pulled out the general commentary, which then brought it down enough to fit.


My dominant memories of this weekend are of all the socializing, but doing this writeup reminds me just how much fascinating discussion there was, which makes me really happy.

I'm not used to having stories that involve so many other people, so I apologize if I mentioned anything someone didn't want posted publically. I think I've been appropriately discreet, but I know I tend toward overshare, so do let me know if I need to edit anything. (And I of course have no problem with people sharing with the Internet anything about me from this weekend. Including if you don't like me or whatever.) Oh, and I took lots of notes, but neither my notes nor my memory is perfect, so I apologize if I misrepresent anything you said, and please feel free to correct me.

Panel discussion writeups often involve oblique (and sometimes fairly explicit) spoilers for all the Joss shows, so if you're really spoiler-phobic I can send you an edited version. By the way, I really appreciated how people were careful at the panels not to spoil people for non Joss stuff -- and at the family panel someone even asked to make sure everyone had seen the Serenity movie.

On our way to lunch today, Mary Alice asked me, "Have you recovered from your weekend of fun?" and I talked about how I won't see most of these people for another 2 years, that it's an independently run function so they don't have the manpower to do it every year. This got me thinking about how it's possible to explain this weekend as a gathering of independent writers whom I know from an online community (because society is at a point now where "online community" is an understandable term).


Lorraine had mentioned how she'd expected to spend most of her time with the people who were on her flist but actually hung out with lots of new people. She was the only attendee I already considered myself friends with, so I had suspected I would just tag along with her the whole weekend. (Initiating new friendships is not my strong suit.) I, too, was pleasantly surprised at all the new people I hung out with. I was also pleased with myself for doing stuff not with Lorraine ('cause we mentioned I'm a follower, right?). When I found out there were a whole bunch of people attending who were local (Boston area) I thought I might glom on to them, but I ended up not seeing them much at all after we met at Logan. I'm a little bit glad about that, though, because local people I'll have more opportunity to spend time with in meatspace whereas most of these people I probably won't see again for two years.

Who knows how many of them I'll still be friends with in two years, but this weekend actually makes me want to get more involved in fandom (producing and interacting) so that I'll get even more out of it next time.

sweptawaybayou has probably the best post on the subject.
Rob, the bartender summed it all up for me. He'd been watching us all since Thursday. Serving us drinks and trying to keep us happy and he told me and Blue that he was amazed and happy to see people that have such a passion about something. So much that we even made him want to go to a seminar. Any seminar.

He said that he'd seen so many people come in and out of the hotel that just live their lives. They work and they sleep and they eat and they just simply exist. But our group, the writercon group had made him realize that there are people out there that have a true passion for living our lives.
[She also likens it to a family reunion, which is funny since the other big group staying at the hotel was a family reunion.]