Narrativity offers a single track of programming, so ideas can carry through from one panel to the next and the conversation continues all weekend. In the evenings, we’ll have all the function space available for music, conversations, games, or other activities that take your fancy. If you’d like to organize something specific, let us know!
**Updated: The final panel list for 2021 is here — and we’re looking for panelist volunteers! Check it out, and tell us what you’d like to be on!**
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2020 2021 Proposed Panels
Below are the panel ideas we’re considering. Please look them over, and let Steve know what you think, if you have any additional ideas, and if there are any you’d like to be a panelist on.
Craft Q & A (1 & 2)
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.
Exposition by Elimination: One key to making a story readable is to let readers know what kind of story this is NOT, where and when it is NOT set, what sort of people some of the characters are NOT. How do we do this?
Four-Letter Words and Ten-Letter Words: How the use of language sets tone, contributes to worldbuilding, etc.
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 them should do it?
The Long Game: Planning out the development of skills, writing “over your head” and stuff like that.
But How Do You Know It’s Time To Break A Rule?
Unreliable Narrators: I don’t believe there is any such thing as a reliable narrator; if you don’t agree, that’s worth discussing right there. But how do you know when the unreliability is going too far?
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?
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.
The Shadow Story: Maybe we can find a better term. I mean those times when there is a whole story going on that never hits the page. It isn’t exactly negative space–it’s more like the story you’re telling is a reflection of another story that only exists in your head. It’s one way to create the feeling of depth, of layers. Does that make sense?
The Importance of the Mundane in Fantasy
The Lies You Tell Yourself: It’s always been a belief of mine that writers need to find good lies about their process, and then believe them in order to do their best work. But what are the downsides to this? Where does believing your lies hurt you, and how can you tell?
Okay, so, god damn it, how DO you outline? No, seriously, tell me. Also, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of outlining and “pantsing.” Yes, yes, I know both are valid, and the dispute will never be settled; but that doesn’t mean we can’t get useful things out of the discussion.
Controlling Pacing: Tips, tricks, problems, solutions
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.
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.
Twisted by Knaves to Make a Trap for Fools: Let’s unknot some literary twists. Which storytellers have 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?
Music and Writing: Do you play music while you write? Sometimes? Always? What kind? Do you require silence? A noisy environment? How does this relate to the mental state we’re in when we work, and how can we game it?
Food in Fiction: Everybody loves food. How can we use it in fiction to illuminate worldbuilding, illustrate character, and other fun things? (Might be best to have this one before a meal break.)
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.
Just what IS story, anyway? When is it just a collection of events? What does “beginning, middle, end,” actually mean? How do we decide?
We’ll be adding more ideas as good ones come along, so please let Steve know if you have any suggestions, and also if you’d like to be on a particular panel or panels. We’ll see you in September!