Narrativity 2021: Take Two (and Write Me In The Morning) was held September 4-6, 2021 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN. It was our second try at our second year, and despite the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to have a darned fine con!
Proof of Covid-19 vaccination was required for admittance to the convention, and masks (correctly worn!) were required in all indoor function space.
Everyone who’d signed up for 2020 was automatically rolled over to a 2021 membership. Pricing for 2021 was $40 through the end of 2020, $42 January 1 through June 6, 2021, $55 June 7 through August 19, and $75 after that.
2021’s Financial Report can be found here.
Staff included Liz Vogel (Herder of Otters), Steven Brust (Plenipotentiary of Panels), Sweth Chandramouli (WebMuse); Team ConSuite: Susan Levy Haskell (Acquisitive Bird (pre-buying)) & Jane Edgeworth (Nabob of Nibbles (on-site)); Jon Lincicum (Mister of Music & Audio Equiper (with Corwin Brust)), Emma Bull (Covid Cop), Rebecca Sparkles (Social Media Maven & Minister of Memes (Interim) & Publicity), Sara Diedrich (Contest Creator), Chris Olson (Crowdfundician), Melissa Buren (Bureaucracy Advisor), Kate MacEachern (Good Book Exchanger), and Chris Wozney (Madame of Massage). Meal Magicianing was performed by Rebecca Sparkles, Tyler Tork, and Michael Wallis. Friendly Storm Weasels were provided by Pat Scaramuzza. And a whole bunch of people pitched in and helped wherever pitching in and helping was needed.
2021’s Programming was:
11:00-11:15am – Opening Ceremonies
11:30am-12:40pm – Just What IS Story, Anyway?
When is it just a collection of events? What does beginning, middle, end actually mean? How do we decide?
panelists: Kate Dane, John Danielski, Emma Bull, Skyler Gray
12:40-2:00pm – Lunch Break
2:00-3:10pm – Are We Helping Too Much?
New writers are inundated with how-to-write advice. How can a new writer figure out their own process with world+dog telling them how they should do it?
panelists: Tyler Tork, Bobby Brimmer, C.D. Tavenor, Chris Wallace
3:30-4:40pm – Twisted by Knaves to Make a Trap for Fools
Let’s unknot some literary twists. Which storytellers have had works misrepresented? Which visions have been slandered by people with jaundiced eye? Can we ameliorate reputations that have had vitriol splashed on them? Can we bring some basic appreciation to neutralize acidified contexts? Whaddaya say?
panelists: Chris Wozney (M), John Danielski,Emma Bull, Skyler Gray
5:00-6:10pm – Who Are You Permitted to Write About?
Is it reasonable to say some group “owns” a story? And that another group doesn’t? This one has the potential to get ugly, so let’s do our best not to let it.
panelists: Pat Scaramuzza, Steven Brust, L.J. Stanton, Liz A. Vogel
6:10-8:00pm – Dinner Break
8:00-9:10pm – Recovering Your Joy
How to make writing fun again when it’s stopped being fun. Not just post-Covid, but generally dealing with burn-out, skill plateaus, etc.
panelists: Erin Shanendoah, Pat Scaramuzza, Liz A. Vogel, Chris Wozney
9:30-10:40am – Four Letter Words and Ten Letter Words
How the use of language sets tone, contributes to worldbuilding, etc.
panelists: John Danielski, Tyler Tork, Chris Wozney
Beginning a New Form Moving from novels to plays, or screenplays, or painting, something you’re unfamiliar with, how do you approach learning about that new form at least well enough to avoid embarrassing yourself? Canceled due to lack of panelists.
Instead we had:
Steven Brust Rants About How To Do A Critique Group
panelist: Steven Brust, obviously
Writers Group Horror Stories
panelists: Michael Hacker, Pat Scaramuzza, Liz A. Vogel
12:10-1:30pm – Lunch Break
1:30-2:40pm – What is the Writer’s Responsibility in Creating a Story?
There are a lot of simplistic answers, such as, “to tell a good story full stop,” and, “the writer is responsible for everything one might take from a story.” Let’s try to get past those, and explore the question a little deeper.
panelists: Emma Bull, L.J. Stanton, Julia Smith, John Danielski
3:00-4:10pm – Explain to Liz How to Plot
Our Esteemed Con Chair, Liz, does not know how to construct a plot. Neither do I, even though I’ve managed once or twice. I’d love to hear some people explain how to go about it.
panelists: Liz A. Vogel (M), Skyler Gray, Emma Bull
4:30-5:40pm – Writing in Reader Head
The generally accepted wisdom is that you try to get into “reader head” while revising, that doing so while writing will only slow you down. I think there’s some truth in that, but it’s also more complicated–knowing what the reader is thinking as you write opens up a number of possibilities for playing with what the reader expects. Maybe the term “reader head” isn’t as precise as we think it is. In any case, there’s stuff to talk about here, so let’s talk about it.
panelists: Steven Brust, Skyler Gray, Will Shetterly, Bobby Brimmer
5:40-8:00pm – Dinner Break
8:00-9:10pm – Writing to Your Strengths, Writing to Your Weaknesses
When do you do which and why?
panelists: Bobby Brimmer, Steven Brust, Liz A. Vogel
10:00-11:10am – The Long Game
Planning out the development of skills, writing “over your head” and stuff like that.
panelists: Steven Brust, Chris Wozney, Kate Dane
11:30am-12:40pm – Chris Wallace Seminar on Self-Publishing
Yes, we’re actually going to break down and do a business-y kind of thing. Chris has done a lot of successful self-publishing, and will talk about it.
panelist: Chris Wallace
12:40-2:00pm – Lunch Break
2:00-3:10pm – Craft Q & A
Panelists will attempt to answer whatever questions or suggest solutions to whatever problems those in the audience might be encountering.
panelists: Bobby Brimmer, Skyler Gray, Will Shetterly
3:30-4:40pm – The Different Panel
When a panel drifts (too far) off topic, we’ll bring it back by saying “But that’s a different panel.” We’ll keep track of those interesting diversions, and at the end of the convention decide which one to do, and who should be on it. This time, we went with Things Readers Will Hate You For.
panelists: Skyler Gray, Steven Brust, Emma Bull, Noelle Riley, Bobby Brimmer
4:45pm – Closing Ceremonies & Dead Dog
In which we discuss what we did right, what we did wrong, what we could do differently, and why we did what we did. All interested parties welcome!
2021’s Members were:
Adam Schmidt, Alex F. Brown, Anna Werner, Bobby Brimmer, Candice, Chris Tavenor, Chris Wallace, Chris Wozney, D.W. Baldwin, Davecameron79, Eden Bales, Emma Bull, Emmery Wallis, Erin Shanendoah, Freya Berkner, Hansford Robert Hull, Ivery Kirk, Jane Edgeworth, Jason Wilcox, Joe Heaney, Joella Berkner, John Danielski, Jon Lincicum, Josh Collins, Julia Bonser, Julia Smith, Kayleigh, Liz A. Vogel, Megan Cole, Michael Butler, Michael Hacker, Michael James, Michael Wallis, Mikhail, Molly Fennig, Pat Scaramuzza, Patrick Cole, Patrick Sullivan, Skyler Gray, Steven Brust, Tony Drummond, Tyler Tork, Will Shetterly, and eleven members who wish to preserve their secret identities!
Sadly, Stephen T. Vessels passed away just a few days before the convention, but we know he was there in spirit. Sunday was declared Hat Day at Narrativity in his honor.