History: Narrativity 2022

Narrativity 2022: You Can’t Do That, Unless It Works! was held May 27-30, 2022 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN. We had a grand time discussing the rules of storytelling, and how they’re really more sort of guidelines — and sometimes not even that!

Proof of Covid-19 vaccination, including booster shot, was required for admittance to the convention, and masks (correctly worn!) were required in all indoor function space.

Pricing for 2022 was $42 through March 31, 2022, $55 April 1 through May 11, and $75 after that.

2022’s Financial Report can be found here.

Staff included Liz A. Vogel (Herder of Otters), Steven Brust (Plenipotentiary of Panels), Erin Shanendoah (Paragon of Programming); Team ConSuite: Patrick Cole, Megan Cole (on-site), Susan Levy Haskell (pre-buying); Sweth Chandramouli (Webmuse), Skyler Gray (Workshop Wizard), Emma Bull (Covid Cop), Jon Lincicum (Mister of Music, and Audio Equiper with Corwin Brust), Kate MacEachern (Good Book Exchanger), Chris Wozney (Madame of Massage), Meg Trast (Social Media Maven & Speaker to Twitter), and Melissa Buren (Bureaucracy Advisor). Storm Weasels and Shy Weasels were provided by Pat Scaramuzza, based on an idea we’ll blame on Meg Trast. And a stalwart crew of many who saw things that needed doing and dove in to do them!

2022’s Programming was:

10:00am-5:30pm – Writing Workshop

7:30pm-late – Mixer!
A chance to join your fellow Narrativitists for conversation, drinks, and an all-around good time, and to get to know the folks you’d be spending the weekend with. Fancy dress (formal wear, period dress, costume, or whatever qualifies as cool and special to you) was encouraged, though not required.

8:00am – Registration open

10:00am – ConSuite open

11:00-11:15am – Opening Ceremonies

11:30am-12:40pm – What Is a Character and Why Do We Care?
From your first fanfiction self-insert to Ray Bradbury’s lonely house, what makes a character and why do we care about them?
panelists: Heshe Leontess, Kate Dane, Meg Trast, Noelle Riley

12:40-2:00pm – Lunch Break

2:00-3:10pm – Serving the Work
Authors may have an agenda in creating a story, but the story, it seems to me, has its own agenda. What happens when they conflict? What happens when they line up? What are pitfalls and advantages of that dynamic?
panelists: L.J. Stanton, Heshe Leontess, Kate Dane, Chris Wozney

3:30-4:40pm – Controlling Pacing
Somewhere between nonstop action where the reader can’t catch his or her breath, and something so pastoral the reader falls asleep, there is a sweet spot. Obviously, it’s different for every storyteller, for every reader. But wherever you place it, you need some techniques to control it. What are some of them?
panelists: Heshe Leontess, Chris Wozney, Tyler Tork, Steven Brust

5:00-6:10pm – Interactive Storytelling: Creating a Complete Narrative While Allowing Audience Agency
Choose Your Own Adventure, video game story trees, or running an RPG for your friends – let’s talk collaborative storytelling.
panelists: Erin Shanendoah, Majikjon, L.J. Stanton, Vast Listen

6:10-8:00pm – Dinner Break

8:00-9:10pm – The Readers’ Panel: Floating, Towing, or Sinking. What pulls you into a story and makes you want to keep reading?
Floating – Fun or light reading and you might enjoy it, but it’s enjoyment at a distance. Towing – You’re compelled to keep reading, you’re towed along even though the characters or story might not be your favorites. Sinking – You just fall into the world and you’re absorbed into it.
panelists: Liz Vogel, Erin Shanendoah, Noelle Riley, Kate Dane

8:00am ConSuite open

10:00-11:10am – Where Did You Come From? Characters Who Just “Show Up”
You have the plot. You wrote your outline. You know your characters. But then you start writing and a new “voice” shows up. How do you deal with the unexpected character in your carefully (or not so carefully) planned story?
panelists: L.J. Stanton, Heshe Leontess, Caden Wilfong, Skyler Gray, Will Shetterly

11:30am-12:40pm – Responsibility of Reader and Critic
We all understand how an author is responsible for their story, but once it is out in the world, what kind of responsibility do readers and critics have for the story in the world?
panelists: Heshe Leontess, Chris Wozney, Noelle Riley, Emma Bull, Caden Wilfong

12:40-2:00pm – Lunch Break

2:00-3:10pm – Creating Art, Creating Entertainment
Is there a difference between art and entertainment? Does there have to be? Come argue with the PJF.
panelists: Bobby Brimmer, Steven Brust, Noelle Riley, Caden Wilfong, Meg Trast

3:30-4:40pm – Target Audience Solves Everything
Forget Point of View, throw us your trickiest storytelling questions and we’ll tell you how knowing your target audience can solve all of your problems.
panelists: Liz Vogel, Michael Hacker (M), L.J. Stanton, Chris Wozney, Julia Smith

5:00-6:10pm – What Are Language/Writing Tricks That Make Your Writing Better?
Words have an acoustic property–a sound. It is the way the sound of the word bounces off the meaning, and resembles the sounds of other words, that gives us poetry, song lyrics, and puns. So, as a prose writer, are you aware of this? Do you use it? How?
panelists: Heshe Leontess, Liz Vogel, Chris Wozney, Skyler Gray

6:10-8:00pm – Dinner Break

8:00-9:10pm – Bad Writing Advice
What is some of the bad writing advice you’ve gotten or heard, and, even more, how can it be twisted so that it actually becomes useful? What can we learn from bad advice, and, related, what are the limits of good advice? In general, how to look at writing advice in such a way that it helps your work instead of hindering it.
panelists: Heshe Leontess, Liz Vogel, Meg Trast, Will Shetterly

8:00am ConSuite open

10:00-11:10am – When To (Not) Kill Your Darlings?
What to do when beta readers or editors want you to remove things you love.
panelists: Liz Vogel, Bobby Brimmer, L.J. Stanton, Will Shetterly

11:30am-12:40pm – Non-Linear Storytelling
Did you watch the first season of The Witcher? Did you find the storytelling compelling, or did you spend every episode trying to figure out when you were, or both? How do we tell stories without being constrained by linear time, or should we be?
panelists: Meg Trast (M), L.J. Stanton (M), Steven Brust, Emma Bull (M)

12:40-2:00pm – Lunch Break

2:00-3:10pm – Things Readers Will Hate You For
And should you do them anyway.
panelists: Heshe Leontess, Bobby Brimmer, Steven Brust (MMM), Meg Trast

3:30-4:40pm – The Different Panel: Why Do We Stop Writing?
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. In this case, we explored what makes a storyteller stop crafting stories, and what can be done about it.
panelists: Will Shetterly, Liz Vogel, Skyler Gray, Noelle Riley

5:00-6:10pm – Closing Ceremonies & Feedback
In which we thank those who made all this happen, and discuss what we did right, what we did wrong, why we did what we did, and what we could do differently next year. All interested parties welcome!

6:10-8:00pm – Dinner Break

8:00pm-midnight – Dead Dog (at the Firepit) Unfortunately, tornado warnings meant we had to move this inside (and thus could not set anything on fire), but a good time was still had with conversation, song, general silliness, and marshmallows.

2022’s Members were:

Alex F. Brown, Andre Sólo, Angie, Anna Werner, Baby Skullcrusher, beowulf2100, Bobby Brimmer, Chris Olson, Chris Wozney, David Walbridge, Elliot Olson, Emily Guy Birken, Emma Bull, Erin Shanendoah, Hansford Robert Hull, Heshe Leontess, Jason Wilcox, Jon Lincicum, Julia Smith, L.J. Stanton, Liz A. Vogel, Meg Trast, Megan Cole, Michael Butler, Michael Hacker, Michael Wallis, Nathan Lueth, Noelle Riley, Pat Scaramuzza, Patrick Cole, Paul Bachleitner, Rob Stanton, Skyler Gray, Stace R., Steven Brust, Steven Halter, Sweth Chandramouli, Tony Drummond, Tracie Guy-Decker, Tricia Callero, Tyler Tork, Vast Listen, Will Shetterly, and nine members who wish to preserve their secret identities!

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