This weekend I attended Norwescon. It’s quite different from comic cons. While there is a dealer’s room, it’s far more modest than a comic con this size. It’s not the point of these things.
Costumes are everywhere – it’s a major SF fandom subculture.
My favorites: a renaissance faire lady whose dog wore actual chain mail. And the young Jedi (?) who had Jar-Jar Binks’s dripping head on a pike.
What draws me, besides some great SF illustrators, are the writer’s panels. There’s nothing like smart writers talking about their craft, and their struggles (which I certainly share) with blockage, finding time, being focused. Misery not only loves company but everybody has tips to offer.
Some stuck with me:
One was James Glass’s habit of keeping story outlines on 3 x 5 cards (naturally, they’re terse) until they’ve ripened enough to write. I keep fat files of story ideas, but I seldom have occasion take them out of the cabinet to be inspired. Chances are they will remain unwritten forever.
A card file by my computer? Heck, I’d finger through that every time I was waiting for a task bar to fill. Ten times a day.
Another: accept the fact that you don’t get into a flow state for a half hour or so writing. Just push through that all-I-write-is-wrong period. It’s as unavoidable as driving to work is for most people.
Another: Keep a “things to look up later” list on a scratch pad by your keyboard. Breaking the flow to do research is like leaving the road to pick flowers in quicksand.