JordanCon 2013 Recap: Why You Should Come Next Year (Part 2)

And continuing where I left off, day 2 of JordanCon 5!

A pre-arranged hotel wake-up call woke us up at about 9:30, but, unsurprisingly, we moved slowly. By the time we got up and took care of all the morning’s religious obligations, eat, breakfast, and prepared lunches (since returning to the room at any point midday was going to be a bit of a pain), we finally left to go downstairs. Once again, we had to deal with our inability to use elevator buttons, so we had to wait. Fortunately, we were on the same floor of the consuite (where everyone else would come for food) so people were fairly regularly going down or coming up, and we didn’t have to wait long.

By the time we got down, it was a little late, around 11:15. So the first thing we did was go to the panel on short stories and writing for contests, which featured Stuart Jaffe and Eugie Foster. It was interesting, especially for someone like me who doesn’t consider himself very good at writing short stories. But we left early to get on line for something at 1:00pm, the Team Jordan signing (For those not familiar with the Wheel of Time, Team Jordan is what we call the people who make the books, most of whom worked alongside Robert Jordan before his untimely passing). Now, this was the start of an interesting hour. See, I wanted to go to the pitch critique session, which was schedule to start at the same time as the signing. That in itself wasn’t a big deal, as we had made it to the signing space early enough that were only a few people into the line. The bigger issue is that the paper I’d written my pitch on I had had in my sweatshirt the night before, which I somehow lost. So I was without my paper. And I don’t consider myself at all good with public speaking even with something to read off of. So there was a bit of a problem.

So while we waited on line with our books, Meir and I went over it, first remembering the exact wording, and then I had to just keep repeating it while keeping myself from talking too fast, as I often do. Once we’d gotten the books signed, and talked with Team Jordan briefly, we made our way over to the pitch critique, already in session, which featured Paul Stevens of Tor Books, Eddie Schneder of JABberwocky Literary, Idaliz Seymour, an agent with About Words Agency, and Toni Weisskopf, publisher of Baen Books. All successful industry professionals, so yes, there was nervousness. I listened to the other people in the line to go before I jumped in, going last, as I did last year. (Unlike last year, I wasn’t sitting in the front row, so it was harder to focus only on the panel.) Fortunately (and somewhat surprisingly), I didn’t mess up as I gave the pitch for my current project, called The Dragon King, though I did make sure to let them know in advance that I might screw up. And, they didn’t have a great deal to critique, which I guess means the pitch was pretty good. Once done, I was able to finally relax, and I spoke briefly with a couple of the panelists before the next panel began.

The next panel was on writing good dialog, always a relevant (and often difficult) topic, run by Stuart Jaffe, Deb Dixon, publisher of BelleBooks, and author Alex Bledsoe. It was incredibly useful and enjoyable, my only regret being that I couldn’t take notes due to it being Shabbat. But such is life.

Next up was a major event, Team Jordan’s A Memory of Light panel (possibly the last one ever, though I could be mistaken.) It was a lot of fun, with a bit from them on the now complete series, and there were a lot of great questions asked (and some of them answered). Not too much to say, except that it’s really cool seeing so many people assembled for it–it is because many of these fans, not more casual fans of the series like me, that the convention exists.

After this was a break as the judging for another highlight of JordanCon, the costume contest, got underway. Meir and I, as had become a habit, returned to the game room to play some Magic while we waited. During this time was also the DeepSouthCon award ceremony (DeepSouthCon is a traveling convention that partnered with JordanCon this year. I might’ve forgotten to mention it earlier.)

Then was the costume contest. To fully grasp how much fun it is, go search for it on YouTube. It’s recorded every year, as far as I know, and it’s worth watching. I like wearing costumes sometimes, and I being my fairly simple, low-budget one to wear Saturday nights at JordanCon. Most of the people in the contest are in a completely different league, putting so much work and thought into their costumes that it boggles my mind, not to mention the fact that they appear onstage in-character most of the time. This year’s should be viewable online soon, and I suggest watching at least part of it, though of course it’s a lot cooler in person, even if you’re stuck sitting in the back like I was.

Once the winners were announced by the judges, Team Jordan, it was time for the dinner break. The hotel got us back into our rooms (without the stairs this time, fortunately–seven floors is a lot), and Meir and I had a makeshift dinner by the fading light outside.

Once Shabbat was over, I got on my costume (there should be a picture on my twitter), we got our phones and Magic cards, and went down for the annual Magic draft, another highlight (yes there are a bunch of those). By this time I was back to livetweeting, and I was fairly consistent with it for most of the draft. What made it extra cool was that there were 32 of us in it, making it the largest draft even I’ve ever been to, plus the fact the Brandon Sanderson, a big Magic fan himself, was participating along with us.

The draft itself was fun. I did pretty well, but lost in the third round, meaning no prizes for me. But it was also a good opportunity to meet fellow ‘con attendees, which is always fun.

Once we were done with that, Meir and played some games with other people still around (the draft went for hours–and it started at 9pm) while we waited for Brandon to come back to fulfill his promise to get in a game with us.

It took a while, but Brandon made it back, and we all talked for a bit while playing a 2 vs 2 game (since it was already well past 3 in the morning, we decided it was the better option, as it would be faster.) I was on Brandon’s team, while Meir teamed up with another person we’d met. Long story short, they won. Brandon and I held them off as long as we could, but all we did was delay the inevitable. Still, it was great fun, and of course we all talked a lot. Once the game was done ,we hung around while Brandon played another couple of quick games with people, before calling it a night. At 4am. I also got the chance to ask Brandon a writing related question as we headed up, which I like to think he appreciated, after all the people asking him every Wheel of Time question imaginable. He also signed a piece of paper I’d taken to use as part of my costume (also should be on my twitter or facebook), which now means I have to keep the paper sign to use every year. Awesomeness.

It was close to 5 before I finally got to sleep, knowing full well that it would not bode well for the rest of my week, but there were no regrets for the great, long day.

Back tomorrow with part 3, which will finish my convention recap and maybe also get to my points on why you should come to next year’s (though the last bit might end up needing its own part).

Until then, keep writing! (And check out Magic: The Gathering, because it’s awesome.)

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