History: Narrativity 2024

Narrativity 2024: Romancing the Muse was held May 30 through June 2, 2024 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN. Whether you coax your muse with candy and candlelight, are ready to strangle your muse, the contrary so-and-so, or don’t have a muse at all, and your story-generating process is something entirely different, there was something for everyone as we debated the finer points of inspiration, perspiration, and metaphor — wine, roses, and/or garottes optional.

Proof of Covid-19 vaccination, including booster shot, was required for admittance to the convention. Masks were recommended but not required in all indoor function space.

Pricing for 2024 was $42 through February 9, 2024, $55 from February 10 through May 10, and $75 from May 11 and at the door. Registration opened in late September.

2024’s Financial Report will be found here when it’s ready.

Staff included Liz A. Vogel (Herder of Otters), Erin Shanendoah (Paragon of Programming), Noelle Riley & Deb Walz (Team ConSuite), Alexa A. (Charcuterist), Sweth Chandramouli (Webmuse), L.J. Stanton & Erin Shanendoah (Writing Workshop Wizards), Jon Lincicum (Mister of Music, and Audio Equiper with Corwin Brust), Kate MacEachern (Good Book Exchanger), Meg Trast & Rebecca Sparkles (Social Media Mavens), Meg Trast (Speaker to Twitter), and Bobby Brimmer (Con Ninja). Mustelid Buttons were provided by Pat Scaramuzza, based on an idea we’ll blame on Meg Trast. And many helping hands magically appeared when things needed doing!

2024’s Programming was:

10:00am-5:00pm – Writing Workshop

7:30pm-late – Sugar and Charcuterie Extravaganza
An amazing assortment of snacks both sweet and savory stimulated conversation and consumption.

9:00am (approximately) – Registration open

10:00am (approximately) – ConSuite open

11:00-11:30am – Opening Ceremonies

11:30am-12:30pm – Why Are You Still Not Eating Breakfast: Using food and other pieces of everyday life to tell your story
Steven Brust recently wrote a blog post about things a writer can do when they are feeling stuck. Writing about your characters having a meal was one of his suggestions. How can writing about a meal or other parts of your characters’ every day lives help you better understand not only what comes next, but make your characters and your world feel more complete?
panelists: Meg Trast (M), Steven Brust, Majikjon

12:30-2:00pm – Lunch Break

2:00-3:00pm – Plotting vs. Pantsing, Architects & Gardeners: How to make your writing style work for you, or when to try something new
The only “right” way to write is the way that works for you. But what happens when what has always worked before is no longer working? Maybe its time to build a gazebo in the heart of your garden, or leave room for a green space somewhere in your blue prints.
panelists: Pat Scaramuzza (M), Liz Vogel, Michael Hacker

3:20-4:20pm – You Never Read the Same Book Twice / Did We Even Read the Same Book: The reader experience
Have you ever read a book a second time just to find the threads you missed the first time? Or heard a friend describe a movie the two of you saw together and not recognize the movie? We aren’t just the tellers of tales, but also the audience for the stories of others, and where we are in our own lives deeply impacts how we relate to and understand those stories. How do we think about the different ways we react to the “same” stories to make us a better audience and better storytellers?
panelists: Erin Shanendoah (M), Kate Dane, Alexa A.

4:40-5:40pm – Choose Your Adventure: Storytelling in Videogames
Interactive storytelling is one of the most enduring forms, and makers of modern videogames are starting to spend as much time and energy on the story as they are the graphics and mechanics. What lessons can we take from games to help us tell better stories in all mediums? (We promise to try and reference games other than Baldurs Gate 3.)
panelists: L.J. Stanton (M), Joella Berkner, Joshua P.

5:40-8:00pm – Dinner Break

8:00-9:00pm – Writers Against Humanity
All work & no play makes for a dull con. Join us as we create custom cards for a writers-themed version of Cards Against Humanity, and then playtest our creation.
panelists: group participation event

8:00am ConSuite open

10:00-11:00am – Romancing the Muse
Most of us tell stories because we can’t not tell stories, but what do we do when it seems like the muse has left us? How do we win her back? How do we keep her with us? Is “date night” with Calliope a thing? Should it be?
panelists: Emily Guy Birken (M), Meg Trast, Liz Vogel

11:20am-12:20pm – The Evolution of AI: Threat or Menace?
Artificial Intelligence is everywhere, and it is getting better fast. In graphic arts, the written word, and even voice acting, AI can present a less expensive option than paying a person. Is it a threat to artists everywhere? Or is it a tool we can all benefit from?
panelists: L.J. Stanton (M), Noelle Riley, Pat Scaramuzza, Chris Olson

12:20-2:00pm – Lunch Break

2:00-3:00pm – Characters Solve Everything
Forget Point of View, Target Audience, or Voice/Style. Throw us your trickiest storytelling questions and we’ll tell you how knowing your characters can solve all of your problems.
panelists: Michael Hacker (M), Erin Shanendoah, Fred Waiss

3:20-4:20pm – How Do You Build A World? Verisimilitude regardless of setting
Whether your story takes place in the “real” world, or one born from your dreams, how do you make your setting feel four dimensional and not just like a new piece of set dressing?
panelists: Karl “VL” Berkner (M), L.J. Stanton, Lyri Ahnam

4:40-5:40pm – Just Add Music: Storytelling Through Song
Some songs are stories. Some stories are musicals. When we talk about storytelling, let’s not forget one of our oldest forms.
panelists: Majikjon (M), Steven Brust, Beth of Harmonygoddess.com

5:40-8:00pm – Dinner Break

8:00-9:00pm – Group Storytelling
We’re here to talk about telling stories, so let’s tell some. We’ll use storytelling games and writing prompts as our jumping off point.
panelists: group participation event

9:00pm-late – Music Circle

8:00am ConSuite open

10:00-11:00am – No Words Required: Storytelling Through Pictures
From cave paintings to comic books, humans have been telling stories through pictures for as long as we’ve had the tools to draw. What can we learn from this that will make us better at our craft?
panelists: Heshe Leontess (M), Pat Scaramuzza, Michael Navazhylau

11:20am-12:20pm – How to Fix Character With Plot or Plot With Character
No matter what we claimed earlier, no one piece of the puzzle can solve all of your writing problems. Everything interacts. The plot requires characters to carry it out. Characters require plot to give them something to do. How can we use one to hide the flaws in the other and make a story that is stronger than the sum of its individual parts?
panelists: Steven Brust (M), Michael Hacker, Tony Drummond

12:20-2:00pm – Lunch Break

2:00-3:00pm – How Can You Gauge Feedback?
Getting critique is an important part of making our writing better. But not all feedback is created equal. Here, at the end of the con, we’ll try to give you some tools and questions to help you figure out what from the weekend to hold onto and what you can let go.
panelists: Kate Dane (M), Meg Trast, Liz Vogel

3:20-3:40pm – A Different Panel – Topic & Panelist Selection
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.

3:40-4:40pm – The Different Panel: The Novel I’ll Never Write- Knowing when you won’t do a story justice and why
Whether you don’t think you have the skills to pull it off, or you don’t think you’re the right person to write it, discussion of that novel idea you’re veering away from — and whether you should write it anyway.
panelists: Steven Brust, Liz Vogel, Pat Scaramuzza, L.J. Stanton, Alexa A. (M)

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/in the ConSuite)
The weather once again had other ideas, but the party moved into the ConSuite and kept going until midnight.

2024’s Narrativitists were:

Alanna Nazarova, Alex F. Brown, Alexa A, Angie Spring Forster, Anika Duckwall, Anna Werner, Barbara, Benjamin Bader, Beth of HarmonyGoddess.com, Bobby Brimmer (may have been invisible), Chris Olson, Chris Wozney, Corwin Brust, Dee Brust, Elliot Smorodinsky, Emily Guy Birken, Erin Shanendoah, Fred Waiss, Freya, Hana, Heshe Leontess, Jeremy Eventyr, Joella Berkner, John, Kai Matsubara-Rall, Karl “VL” Berkner, Kate Dane, L.J. Stanton, Lena Edlund, Liz A. Vogel, Lyri Ahnam, Mae, Majikjon, Meg Trast, Megan McHattie Cole, Melody, Michael Hacker, Michael Navazhylau, Noelle Riley, Pat Scaramuzza, Rhys, Sawyer Rutan, Sharon, Stace, Steven Brust, Thomas Hvizdos, Tony Drummond, Tricia Callero.

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