Guest Post by Wayland Smith
DragonCon was roughly a week ago, and I’m still elatedly exhausted. It is a truly amazing experience on many levels. DragonCon offers a lot of unique opportunities for writers, from the obvious to ones you need to work at a little. While it has a reputation as “Mardi Gras for geeks,” there’s so much going on there that’s really a matter of what you make of it.
There is a Writer’s Track at DragonCon. This means that there are panels about writing from 10 AM to 11:30 PM from Friday through Sunday, and a few more panels on Monday until about 2. That, in and of itself, is enough to make it worth-while for writers to come in my opinion. But there’s a lot more.
Jody Lynn Nye runs a two day intensive writer’s workshop. There’s an extra fee for it, but you get a lot of attention from someone who is a best-selling writer and very good at what she does. Michael Stackpoole runs a series of hour-long seminars. The topics are listed, and you can go to and pay for the ones of interest.
There’s an entirely separate track for Urban Fantasy. These panels let you hear about different aspects of various writers’ processes, and there’s almost always a chance to ask them questions at the end of the presentations. It’s a great way to potentially meet fellow writers and make contacts.
But it’s not just writers that speak at the panels. There are presentations that include agents, editors, and publishers. This year, an anthology called “Legends of the Dragon” debuted at the Con. I had a story in it, and I got that chance because of a panel I went to two years ago on the Writers’ Track.
The next DragonCon is September 2-5, 2016. It’s in Atlanta, Georgia, spread out over five different host hotels. For more information on the Con itself, check it out at www.dragoncon.org . The site has a lot of information about how to get memberships for next year, and the application process if you want to try to go as a guest. Another option is applying with the individual track directors to speak on the various panels. And, if you want to try going as a vendor, there are applications for that, too.
DragonCon is the high point of my year. In addition to a lot of fun, it’s a unique chance to learn from many different writers and get to speak with them. Among the many writers I’ve spoken with or gone to listen to are Kevin J Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Laurell K Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Diana Gabaldon, Sherilyn Kenyon, Jody Lynn Nye, Michael Stackpoole, Timothy Zahn,, Myke Cole, Faith Hunter, Gail Martin, and Jean Marie Ward, the late Aaron Allston as well as so many others.
Wayland Smith is the pen name for a native Texan who has lived in Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, and presently makes his home in Virginia. His rather unlikely list of jobs includes private investigator, comic book shop owner, ring crew for a circus (then he ran away from the circus and joined home), deputy sheriff, writer, and freelance stagehand. Wayland has one novel out so far, In My Brother’s Name, about a terrorist attack on Washington DC, and appears in various anthologies including HeroNet Files Book 1, SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror, and Legends of the Dragon, as well as several others. A black belt in shao lin kung fu, he is also a fan of comic books, reading, writing, and various computer games (“I’ll shut Civ down in more turn. Really!”)