GenreCon 2013

The weight of china. It weighed heavily down, from its display case prison, reflected in the mirrored walls of the Queensland Terrace room. The accumulation of so much fragility, locked away from the dangerous beasts that wandered below, mingling, mixing. A cool breeze lifted from the river and swept up onto the terrace – the city shone, both on the far bank and in the water below. A mob of genre writers, lubricated by free beer, or wine, or water. The stage was set.

I’m terrible with crowds. Well, that’s not strictly true – I grew up in Tokyo, after all. I’m terrible at dealing with a horde of unknown faces that I’m expected to interact with. The very idea terrifies me. But it’s just something you’ve got to do. Fortunately there was a friendly face in the crowd, Sue Wright, from Tiny Owl Workshop, an exciting local publisher. A publisher, I might add, who’s accepted two of my flash pieces (His Illiterate Etchings, for their PILLOW FIGHT! project, and He Need Wait No Longer, for the Halloween napkin project (which has gone global!)) and who paid my way into GenreCon.

So, Sue, thank you.

I think you’re brilliant.

So Sue and I sat and chatted, the reflections of all the other writers who braved the night to drink free alcohol surrounding us. She introduced me to Kevin Powe, who turned out to be one of the speakers at GenreCon, which I fortunately didn’t know. Although, if I did know, I’d have gone to his talk (with Sue) about writing without covers. She also introduced me to some of the staff at the Queensland Writers Centre, who seem to just be awesome young writers (and organisers), like Megan McGrath and Sophie Overette and a whole bunch of others (I’m sorry, I’m terrible at names, Sue could probably help me out here…)

And they’re based at the State Library, so that’s awesome too. I’ll need to get in there more often.

I also met this writer of weird/surreal fiction – another name I can’t remember, another face. I do remember him being funny, and coming across as pretty damn knowledgeable about fiction in general, and in particular about setting stories into an actual place, and using that to build weirdness. I’d love to pick his brain and find out more.

I caught the train home, and watched the tweets roll in as the night continued for those who stayed behind (and then moved on to other, more alcohol-friendly places.) Apparently Chuck Wendig sung karaoke. That I’d have loved to see. 

I learnt a lot, over those two and a half days. I learnt about character arcs, and about making your antagonist three dimensional, how to make them the protagonists in their own unwritten books. I also learnt about the Chuck Wendig Big 350 No Fuckery Writing Plan, which I intend to put to damn good use and to write this fucking novel (I learnt many things from Chuck this weekend.) I learnt about the Virgin’s Journey, which is something I hadn’t heard of before, a new archetypical structure. About hybridising genres, or “stealing the best bits.” I heard a bunch of great writers chat about writing, and editing, and publishing.

John Birmingham, Angela Slatter, Kim Wilkins, Lisa L. Hannett and everyone else.

Thank you all for your time, and for the great advice!

Now I’ve got to trawl through my pages of notes and try to glean some knowledge from them!

And thanks also to all the other writers I met, and whose names I managed to remember and those who I creepily followed without speaking to them:

Kathleen Jennings

(who distracted me with her damn gorgeous sketches)

Sharon M Johnston

Narrelle Harris

Jodie Cleghorn

Cheryse Durrant

Lois Spangler

Perry Woodward

Helen Stubbs

Gemma Smith

Rachael Johns

Alexander Blakeley

Emma Osborne

Mia K Rose

Peter Ball

Ingrid Jonach

J. Michael Melican

Amanda Bridgeman

Megan McGrath

Christina Brooke

Wow, what a list.

Thanks guys!

See you around, or on Twitter, to talk about genre fiction again!

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6 thoughts on “GenreCon 2013

  1. Was great to get a chance to chat with you over the con, Chris! And people-watch from the periphery with you during the banquet. Chookas for the novel, too – looking forward to hearing how that goes!

  2. Yeah, it was great to chat with you too, Kevin. I’m pretty excited about the novel as well. I’ll keep you posted…

  3. What a fabulous write-up! I must get my act together and do one too. And I heard Chuck sing Karaoke but unfortunately didn’t get photographic evidence!

  4. Outstanding write-up! I do agree about the china. It did loom. A lot.

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