Miscon, Out in Big Sky Country


One of the presentations I did at the Creative Ink Festival was a new iteration on the Jumpstart Your Novel dog and pony show that I’ve been doing off and on for a few years now. Since CIF, I’ve done it a handful more times for a number of 8th grade classrooms. In each instance, I’ve had about an hour to pitch this new method of approaching story, and have had a chance to refine it down to a near-science. Or at least an entertaining hour discussion.

I’ll be doing it again at Miscon this year, out in Missoula next week. Though, we’ll be returning to the two-hour format where audience members are actually going to be plotting and outlining their new novels in the room with me. It’ll be fun. Really.

Miscon is turning 29 this year, and it’s my second time attending. It’s a great con, and Montana is—usually—done with all its cold weather by this time, and so it’s quite pleasant. The Miscon staff has paneled me up pretty well, and so if you’re in the area, here’s where you can find me.

Friday 4:00pm Creating the Brands of Tomorrow (Thunderdome Left) with John Picacio and Shawn Speakman. Three leading sf/f creatives will share why they created their own publishing houses, what they’re producing, what’s next, and where the next frontiers are.

Saturday 3:00pm Writing to Prompts (Upstairs Programming 3) with Brenda Carre, David Keck, and J. A. Pitts. Prompts are a great way to build and hone your craft, not to mention get published and win contests. In this panel we’ll learn how to write original, unique stories based on those prompts. We’ll also discuss how to know if you’ve strayed too far from the original concept.

Saturday 4:00pm First Page—Make or Break (Thunderdome Right) with Anne Groell, Andrea Howe, Shawn Speakman, and Patrick Swenson. Wherein the panelists will do live critiques of manuscript first pages to give the audience unparalleled insight into what can make or break a story before it even gets rolling.

Sunday 10:00am Author Signing (Thunderdome Right). Like it sounds. Not just me, but dozens of other authors too. Signing damn near anything shoved in front of us, though we prefer books with our names on them.

Sunday 12:00pm Elevator Pitches, Queries & Synopses (Thunderdome Right) with Anne Groell and Laurey Patten. Now, the official description is: “Panels on these subjects may be ubiquitous, but they’re important. Selling your book through one of these means is hard. In this panel, we’ll learn from authors and editors about how to craft the best pitch possible for your book or short story.” But I dislike writing synopses, so my superpower here will be turning everything into an elevator pitch, which I’ve gotten pretty good at. So, it’ll be entertaining.

Monday 10:00am Jumpstart Your Novel (Upstairs Programming 2). Yep. Two hour session. Bring something to write on/with. We’ll be busy.

Monday 1:00pm Organizing Story Ideas (Thunderdome Right) with Andrea Howe, S. A. Bolich, and Eldon Thompson. Writers usually have a tornado of ideas swirling in their heads at any one time. What do you do with all these ideas? How do you organize them? You might get them onto the page, but sometimes they don’t live up to what’s in your mind. What do you do then? What do you do when your ideas run wild? It’s easy to feel defeated. In this panel we’ll discuss how to organize those ideas into a coherent story and juggling expectation with reality.

Otherwise, I’ll be in the dealer’s area in the bookroom. Resurrection House and Fairwood Press will have tables along with all the other books that A Good Book Cafe will be bringing out to the con. I hear there are going to be some pretty cool books for sale this year. Definitely worth your time, and we don’t mind selling you some new reads.