Swancon is Western Australia's speculative fiction convention and always runs over the Easter long weekend. I normally go for a couple of days and this year I even got to be on a few panels. I had so much fun.
One of the things I love about Swancon is it covers so many different areas: you've got TV, film, book, gaming and art, and so discussions can range between comparing a whole range of things. The first session I went to was about martial arts and had Lian Hearn (author of the Tales of the Otori series), Jane Espenson (who has written for shows like Buffy, Once Upon a Time and Battlestar Galactica) and Susanna Rogers (a black belt kickboxer who also writes YA). Seriously, what a panel! It was fascinating to hear about how they wrote their fight scenes.
I then got to catch up with Shona Husk and Amanda Bridgeman who were also there. I love catching up with my author friends regularly, exchanging news, sharing information and chatting about things we might be struggling with. I'm lucky that Perth has a pretty strong author community, and we help each other out whenever we can.
Other panels I went to on Friday involved talking about historical Japan across all media (including manga and anime), writing campaigns versus writing stories, which was a whole gaming thing I was clueless to, and a book launch.
On Saturday it was my turn to be on panels and I have to say I was looking forward to it. My first panel was about Not Writing Yourself and covered such things like how we researched, and what characters we'd written were most or least like ourselves.
My next panel was with Amanda and Jane about Not Writing in a Bubble. We had PRK as our moderator and it was a fun discussion. We talked about fan fiction, whether our fans liked to send us ideas and whether we'd use them, and how sometimes it's good to write in a bubble and other times it's not. I got to chat about Into the Fire and Break the Rules and no one seemed the least bit bothered that I write romance rather than speculative fiction. Though I must say, the convention has made me think I need to take out my fantasy manuscripts and brush them off again. I do love writing fantasy as well.
My final panel of the day was about Elegant Prose. My fellow panelists were Satima Flavell and Louise Helfgott. We chatted about what we thought elegant prose meant and generally decided that in genre fiction story was the most important thing, though that didn't mean that you couldn't have lines of elegant prose in your novels.
All in all I had a great couple of days. I unfortunately wasn't able to make it to the other two days, but I may have to book my easter weekend out for next year. Conventions are always fun to go to because you get to chat to like minded people, having interesting discussion and meet new people. I always end up feeling inspired.