I have been to over a dozen writers conferences, volunteering at most of them. I have done everything from stuffing swag bags to assisting in sound. This Friday, August 7th, is the start of the 26th Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, and for the first time, I will be moderating a panel.
The panel will be on world building, a subject I’m familiar with as that I’ve had to build my own world for my steampunk trilogy. The truth is every writer has to build their world to some extent, whether it be a contemporary comedy or a far future science fiction. A character has to exist and interact in the world he lives in.
Here is my first draft of my outline for the panel:
- Introduce panel.
- Introduce self and let panelists introduce themselves.
- Do we need to define “worldbuilding”? How does it differ from just describing things in your character’s environment? And at what point does your environment become a character?
- Description: What is too much and what is too little? I attended a steampunk convention, Gaslight Gathering, in San Diego. This question was asked about describing a steampunk world and gadgets. Cherie Priest, author of the Boneshaker series, said you can never write too much or too little. Some readers fall in love with all the gadgets and want to know how everything works while others will say that’s too much detail, get on with the story. How do you find your balance?
- How much worldbuilding can you do in a short story?
- Mythos in world building: History of your world and of your characters.
- In “Xena: Warrior Princess” they had the whole pantheon of the Greek gods to draw on, but Xena had her own history. She had been a marauder and a looter. The series was the story of her redemption and escape from her past.
- In the original Star Wars we learn that there were Jedi, Darth Vader killed Luke’s father, Obi Wan and Darth Vader are old enemies. These are all things in the past that have a profound effect on the current story.
- Examples in cartoons: The Incredibles, My little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Code Name Kids Next Door, Venture Brothers.
- Questions from the audience.
- Closing thoughts.
There will be four speakers on the panel with me. One of them is a fellow GLAWS member and friend, Chrome Oxide http://chromeoxide.com/writer/ . He has published a collection of short stories, “28 Minutes into the Future”.
If you are interested in attending a writers conference, it’s not to late. Go to http://www.wcwriters.com/aglawc/ . There, you can read all about the conference, the speakers and the schedule and register online. This will be our first virtual conference and it will be a little different. It starts Friday, August 7th at 6:00 pm, then all day Saturday and Sunday, and then continues throughout the week starting at 5:00 pm, then it ends with a full day on the following Saturday, August 15th. One track instead of three, so you don’t have to miss anything.
I am honored that the president of the West Coast Writers Conference, Tony Tadaro, thought enough of me to make me a moderator. I originally just told him that I would be glad to be on a panel if he thought there was one I could contribute to.
My panel start on Saturday at 3:15 pm west coast time. I am also on the panel for the following topic, “Are you a Plotter or a Pants-er”.
Wish me luck,
Dennis Amador Cherry
20th article completed.
First Steampunk novel: 48,480 words.