Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Potlatch 23 - Literary SF Convention

Potlatch speculative fiction convention in san jose


It's been nearly two weeks since my last post. I've been lax in my blog-writing regimen, but not without cause. Over the last weekend I went up to San Jose for Potlatch 23, the "small literary speculative fiction convention" that bounces between Seattle and the Bay Area each year.

I'd never been before, in fact it's only the third convention I've attended. I was really interested to go because it sounded right up my alley, and it's affiliated with the Clarion West Writers Workshop, which I would like to attend.

Potlatch was like a book club on steroids, including interesting side-discussions that have actually been planned for in the program. Instead of a writer guest of honor giving a keynote, there is a book of honor chosen by vote, and a discussion of that book at the con. There is a single-track program that was both suggested and voted on by members via the website. Despite the lack of choice at the con, I found most of the program topics pretty interesting (seems like the ones I voted on turned out to be the most popular overall), and they tended to be related to the book of honor.

I also attended the Writers Workshop, which consisted of three groups, each led by a Clarion West graduate and pro writer. David Levine lead my group, and I got a lot out of the process, both from David and from the fellow members of our group. In the above picture I have just finished up the last critique in preparation for the Writers Workshop and sit relaxing with a nice glass of wine in my hotel room before bed.

So, I blame Potlatch for my dereliction of duty, for which I was reading and trying to finish China Mieville's The City & The City, and reading/critiquing the manuscripts of the other writers in my Writers Workshop group. But I had a great time at the con, met and reunited with some really great people, and got some thought-provoking critiques of my novel. It was worth the six-hour drive each way and worth neglecting my blog for a bit.

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