2019 was our inaugural year. As with any new venture, and especially a new convention, it was a leap of faith. Would people come? Would they have a good time? Would this whole thing blow up in our faces, would it be a one-off good try never to be repeated, or would we succeed in building something that would carry on? Ultimately the only way to find out was to try it and see.
By the middle of Saturday, we were already talking about what to do for next year.
Narrativity 2019: Storming the Barricades of Story was held July 12-14, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN. We took our theme from the fact that our weekend included Bastille Day.
Registration opened in mid-March. One of our goals was to keep registration affordable for as many people as possible, so pricing was $40 through April 30, $55 May 1 through July 8, and $75 after that.
Staff included Liz Vogel (Herder of Otters), Steven Brust (Plenipotentiary of Panels), Jane Hawkner (WebMuse), Jane Edgeworth (Chatelaine of Snacks), Sara Diedrich (Mistress of Music), and Beth Hansen (Social Media Maven), as well as a host of wonderful people who saw things that needed doing and jumped in to do them.
2019’s Programming was:
Note: Panelist listings in gray are from the Program Book; changes and additions were made at the con. If you can provide updated panelist info, please let us know!
4:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies
4:15-5:15 pm – What Starts You Off
What we’re really interested in with this are trade-offs. If you begin with an idea, what do you gain, what do you lose, what gets harder, what gets easier? Or with a character, or a line. Experience and speculation are both welcome.
panelists: Will Shetterly, Ivery Kirk
5:30-6:30 pm – On “Message” Fiction
We all know the easy answer to this one: Message fiction sucks. I’m suspicious of easy answers, so let’s look at it more closely. Is there a way to woo the reader, to convince the reader of something, without being irritating? If so, how? Or should you avoid it entirely? What’s the difference between message and theme?
panelists: Tyler Tork, Beth Hansen, Joe Heaney, Stephen T. Vessels, vicka || piper, TS Porter
6:30-8:00 pm – Dinner Break
8:00-9:00 pm – The Point of View Game
Audience members will suggest writing situations that can’t be solved with point of view. Panelists will try to find ways that, in fact, point of view can solve those problems.
panelists: Ivery Kirk, Ozgur K. Sahin, Emma Bull, Steven Brust
Evening: Music Circle in the panel room, conversation in the consuite.
10:00-11:00 am – Everything You Know Is Wrong and Also Right
Traditional “rules of writing” and where they fall short, but maybe also where they don’t. Finding the complexity in the truisms.
panelists: John M. Danielski, Chris Wozney, Ivery Kirk
11:15 am-12:15 pm – The Chewy Bits
When is a story more than a story? Or, to put it another way, we know we want to move the reader, and even perhaps lay some truth before the reader, to do something that will, if you like, become a part of the reader. Is this something that just happens when it happens? Are there things you can do that will help your story strike deep?
panelists: Beth Hansen, Edie Bales, Ozgur K. Sahin
12:15-1:30 pm – Lunch Break
1:30-2:30 pm – Competence Porn
How to make it work, what pitfalls to avoid.
panelists: Liz Vogel, Tyler Tork
2:45-3:45 pm – Get Your Reality Out Of My Fantasy
When is too much reality just annoying? What are some things to consider in trying to avoid that annoyance?
panelists: Beth Hansen, Bobby Brimmer, Tyler Tork, John M. Danielski, Will Shetterly
4:00-5:00 pm – How Do You Keep Growing?
The care and feeding of your growing edges as a writer. You’ve published a fair bit. How do you keep from becoming stale and complacent? How do you get to the next level?
panelists: Rebecca Sparkles, John M. Danielski
5:15-6:15 pm – There’s More To This Story
There IS such a thing as reading better. Reading better means finding more stuff, more “chewy bits” (TM Emma Bull). Other than by putting stuff there, are there ways for the writer to encourage better reading? We want some non-writing readers on this panel.
panelists: Rebecca Sparkles, Chris Wozney, Stephen T. Vessels, Jenphalian
6:15-8:00 pm – Dinner Break
8:00-9:00 pm – The Pre-Joycean Fellowship Recruitment Panel
What is the PJF, and why you should join.
panelists: Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Steven Brust, Jenphalian (M)
Evening: Music Circle in the panel room, conversation in the consuite.
11:00 am-noon – Setting By Any Other Name
Is what we call “worldbuilding” just setting with curlicues, or is it really different from bringing 21st century New York City alive for the reader?
panelists: Bobby Brimmer, Liz Vogel, Tyler Tork, John M. Danielski
noon-1:30 pm – Lunch Break
1:30-2:30 pm – The Craft Q & A
This panel will consist entirely of questions from the audience, specifically, what problems are you encountering in your work? We will probably be mining this panel shamelessly for future panels. If there are no questions, we will look into acquiring a Parcheesi board. Do not mock Parcheesi. Pearcheesi is stupid.
panelists: John M. Danielski, Emma Bull
2:45-3:45 pm – The Number One Rule
The number one rule of writing is: the editor isn’t buying a story, the editor is buying the way the story is told, so find a cool way to tell the story. The number one rule of writing is: quit trying to show me how clever you are and just tell the story. Discuss.
panelists: Edie Bales, Steven Brust (M)
4:00-5:00 pm – How Do You Know When You’re Done?
Pretty much self-explanatory, unlike the problem itself, which can be a mess.
panelists: Joe Heaney, Stephen T. Vessels, John M. Danielski
5:15-6:15 pm – The Different Panel
Whenever an interesting but off-topic tangent came up, we’d bring things back on track by saying, “But that’s a different panel.” But we kept track of those ideas, and at the end of the convention we picked one to have a panel of its own. This year’s was Villains – who they are, what they do, how to make a good one, with panelists: Ozgur K. Sahin, Meg Trast, vicka||piper, Steven Brust, Emma Bull.
6:30 pm – Closing Ceremonies, followed by a “dead dog” (feedback) session.
Evening: Conversation in the consuite continued into the wee hours.
2019’s Members were:
Alan Steele, Amy Murphy, Beowulf2100, Beth Hansen, Bobby Brimmer, Chris Olson, Chris Wozney, Christine Horner, Corwin, Damian Sheridan, David Dyer-Bennet, Dot Bull, Edie Bales, Elizabeth, Emma Bull, Erin Shanendoah, Fred, Gabriel Botkins, Ivery Kirk, James D, James McCracken, Jane Edgeworth, Jane Hawkner, Jeff Butler, Jeffrey McNair, jenphalian, Joe Heaney, Jon Esteb, Jon Lincicum, Josh Collins, Kayleigh, Kent Hansen, Liz A. Vogel, Meg Trast, Michael Conley, Michael D James, Michael Hacker, Michael M. Butler, Ozgur K. Sahin, Pat Scaramuzza, Pat Sullivan, Ryan, Sara Jane Diedrich, Sharon Kahn, Stacy, Stephen T. Vessels, Steven Brust, Steven Halter, Steven Tarr, Susan, Sweth Chandramouli, Teresa Myers, Terry Faust, Thomas, Thor Nolen, Tony Drummond, TS Porter, Tyler Tork, vicka || piper, Will Shetterly, and five members who wish to preserve their secret identities!