4th Street Fantasy 2017

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Two friends recommended 4th Street Fantasy as a good place to discuss writing and connect with other writers. They both described it as a weekend long conversation. I attended with hopeful expectations.

To stay in the hotel or not?

Living locally, I had the option of not staying at the hotel and saving money. The website suggested staying at the hotel because of the conversations that go late into the night. This fit with the theme of a weekend long conversation.

Food

Shortly after checking in, I nipped to the Cub Foods across the street to stock up on fruit and coffee supplies. Much of the food I brought returned with me. Groups of people went out for every meal. Breakfast consisted of quick food from places like Bruegger’s Bagels. Attendees took lunch and dinner at local restaurants. Meal ambassadors ensured first timers like myself dined with a group of people. Anne Totusek kept the ConSuite well stocked with fruit, cheeses, crackers and other food.

Arriving

Without prior Thursday night arrangements with other writers, I looked forward to the open gaming listed on the website. However, I couldn’t find the gaming. I was a bit disappointed, but I re-purposed the time to go the grocery store and revise.

Writers’ Seminar

Holly Black and Ben Dobyns described other types of media and opened dialogs about how to convert Swordspoint to a game, a graphic novel, television, film, and new media. Holly, Ben, and the participants had lively, interesting discussions. Holly’s animated speech extolling the virtues of love for furthering plots was the highlight of the seminar.

The room was excessively cold because twenty of us attended the seminar in a room meant to hold over one hundred people.

Panels

Every panel I attended had a nugget of information I didn’t know I needed until I heard it. The panels had a bonus of being highly entertaining. Panelists mentioned several relevant books for those wanting to delve deeper into the topics.

Lessons and Laughs

  • “The best way to learn to write a novel is to write a novel.” – Elizabeth Bear
  • Being a visual writer means I may have scaffolding to clean up and that my first drafts could lack detail.
  • Don’t mess with knife girl or her collective.
  • “The beginning teaches you what the book is about. The middle deceives you about that.” – Holly Black
  • “Chekhov was just one guy.”
  • Life-threatening situations don’t hold readers attention as much as personal struggles do.

Conversations and Extras

Every lunch and dinner continued the discussion from the previous panel and started new discussions. Saturday the attendees from Viable Paradise 19 adopted me for meals and conversation. They talked up Viable Paradise and strongly suggested I should apply when 22 opens. They also warned that not everyone gets accepted the first year they apply for it.

Annaka Kalton shared her mead Saturday night. I shared my mead Friday night.

Fish! ended up being stressful because I tried to do it in the middle of a work day. I rushed to get there, arrived late and left early.

Notes to Self for Next Year

  • Bring a sweater.
  • Arrange to share mead on the same night if more than one brewer is present.
  • Bring sampler shot glasses for the mead sharing.
  • Make sure to record all of the books from panels.
  • Fully commit to Fish! or don’t go to it.
  • Only bring food for Thursday night and Friday morning.
  • Bring cash in case someone wants to split a tab.
  • Don’t forget the extra coffee for the room.

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