Over this past weekend, I attended my second NorWesCon. It's an annual science fiction and fantasy convention in SeaTac, WA. I attended last year for the first time, and found it to be rewarding enough I wanted to come back this year. I'm really glad I did. For as much as I learned last year, I really felt like it was preparation to be able to fully appreciate this year. I did a much better job of networking, I made a friend, I spoke to several authors I really respect, I bought books, and I acquired a stack of business cards.
NorWesCon is a convention, so there's a little bit of everything, and something for everyone. For me, it's primarily a writing conference. I moved from panel to panel on various aspects of writing with only ten minutes between each session. I learned about outlining, how to utilize visual resources, skills of worldbuilding, and so many more different things. It's an incredibly valuable resource for me as a beginning writer, and the cost to attend is very affordable.
This year, I had several moments that stuck out to me as the most rewarding. On Thursday, the first day of the convention, I attended a panel about rejection. Every writer faces rejection. Hearing the panelists discuss how to handle it and what to do with it helped me feel better equipped for the inevitable. I also got to speak to Nicole Dieker, a fellow freelance writer I had appreciated hearing speak last year as well. We exchanged business cards and she was very generous in explaining the crowdfunding process she's using for her novel. It was a great conversation, and I'm grateful for the time she took to talk to me.
On Friday, I attended many panels, all of which benefited me in different ways. My first panel of the day was a fight demonstration, which was absolutely fascinating. It was an education on a topic I know very little about. The panel on how to write a series also contained a lot of very valuable information. It was also one of two times I was able to hear Tanya Huff, the author guest of honor, speak. One of the most significant moments of the day for me was getting to hear David J. Peterson speak again. I heard him last year for the first time, and was completely enthralled with everything he had to say about constructed languages. He speaks with such authority and confidence about a subject he has a true passion for, which I find captivating.
Saturday was another really long day full of panels, but it was my favourite day of the convention. The firearms panel, my first panel of the day, was made up of experts who were extremely skilled at providing detailed information in a way that made it easy to take notes on. They were all knowledgeable from different perspectives, and were able to answer everyone's questions efficiently and expertly. During the afternoon, I was able to talk to Annie Bellet, one of the fantasy authors present at the convention. I had heard her speak in several panels, and was interested in her work. She gave me a free copy of her book Avarice and signed it for me! I then went to get my copy of The Art Of Language Invention by David J. Peterson autographed. He was so kind, and engaged with me regarding my interest in his work, and we even talked about plot aspects of one of the TV shows he works on, which I really enjoyed. It was easily one of the high points of my day. I had a whole series of beneficial panels right after that, on everything from scene structure to purposeful dialogue.
Today, the final day, I went to church with my family to celebrate Easter, then drove straight to SeaTac for the last set of panels. My favourite moment of the final day was the panel on visual inspiration. That was full of wonderful information and ideas, and I can't wait to utilize what I learned.
All in all, NorWesCon is a big event full of varied panels, presenters, guests, and attendees. I learn something new every day I attend, and I hope that with every passing year I will rise to a new level that will allow me to learn even more the next time I attend.