Last weekend, the Black Library held a two-day convention, in which both fans and aspiring writers were able to rub shoulders, eat and drink with their literary heroes. I come quite late to conventions, having only ever attended Kapow! and three GamesDays.
With over twenty authors and artists attending, this was an event that no serious fan, or aspiring author could afford to miss. Aside from the usual panels and product launches, there were a number of very insightful questions and answers sessions with authors such as Dan Abnett, Graham McNeil and Gav Thorpe. More importantly there were three panels that – as an aspiring author myself – I found to be very insightful and well worth the cost of the ticket, hotel, train and taxis (the latter were more expensive than I could have ever imagined).
The three panels that I am referring to were the ‘Gamesbook’, ‘New Authors’ and ‘Writing for Black Library’. Fortunately, for those that were not able to make the event – I took copious notes. People quite often view these events as ‘a bit of fun’ but, if you are truly serious about these things, whilst fun they can also be very hard work. You have to plan carefully where you want to be, who you want to speak to, and what questions you need answering.
Some of the attendees reading this will have noticed that I spent a lot of time typing away on my iPad in every panel I attended. Dan Abnett even made mention of it during his Q&A session. In two days, I typed over 9,000 words on my iPad, giving me a lot of material for panel articles. I think that I can expect to turn these into an additional 4,000 words at least.
Put this into perspective, many authors find it hard to write more than 2000 words a day. They do not like to go by word count – as Nik Abnett explains very well on here – but on the whole will be happy with that as a day’s work. Granted, I was not making up words and trying to write scenes that would transport the reader into another visceral combat scene, but I’m still very happy with the result.
Over the next few days and weeks, I shall be turning these notes into finely crafted articles that will show just much value I gleaned from attending the event, and why I shall be ensuring that I attend next year’s as well. Hopefully I’ll be on my own panel by then!