Author Topic: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012  (Read 4675 times)

Offline Rosanne

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Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« on: September 13, 2012, 09:14:40 am »
Iíve always enjoyed the free-for-all character of the Fantasycon author readings, where you find established writers reading cheek-by-jowl with newbies. Many times I'd settled on the sofa to hear a reading by a favourite writer, then made myself so comfortable I stuck around and enjoyed the work of someone Iíd never heard of before. In recent years, the reading thread has been a favourite Fantasycon event. So Iím making these comments in a constructive spirit as a listener as well as a writer/potential reader.

In previous Fantasycons, (as far as I know) writers who wanted to read usually get a slot as long as they put in their requests in time. And most of these readings have been well-attended, even if they arenít by Ďnamesí. I now see that there is only one room designated for readings this year, with the Bar Rouge given entirely to launches. As a result many writers have not been fit in, which has disappointed quite a few people.

Thinking about the future, perhaps we could strive to make two rooms available again for readings next year? Itís great there are loads of launches, but maybe a smaller room could be found to stand in for Bar Rouge or its equivalent.

As for this year, it would be good to know more about how readers were chosen (just a couple of lines would be fine). Was it first come, first served (as in previous years)? Were authors launching a book at the con given preference? Or was there an attempt to find a balance of genres across the fantastic spectrum: horror, fantasy, SF, slipstream, urban fantasy etc? 

Or has other criteria come into this yearís decision?
 
Iíve been enthusiastic about recent efforts to raise the profile of the BFS  and Fantascyon Ė thatís why I joined the BFS last year. However, I believe we can broaden the appeal of Fantasycon and still retain an accessible and friendly ethos, which the author readings have always embodied.

It would be great to hear other views on this.

Best wishes,
Rosanne

Offline GaryC

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Re: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 09:33:55 pm »
Seconding everything Rosanne says. I'll get the vested interests out of the way right now: I was one of those who applied for a reading slot and was unsuccessful, and I know I'm far from alone.

I would also be interested to know which criteria were used to allocate reading slots. It clearly wasn't first come, first served, as I know of someone who applied back in January who was declined. This would be useful to know because next year will be World Fantasy in Brighton and I'm sure I'm not alone if wondering if there's going to be any point in applying for a reading slot, let alone a place on a panel, next year.

Offline Wroclaw

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Re: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 08:36:22 am »
Yes, I also second this (or is that third?). Have read before, but applied well in advance this time and have been refused. It will be very interesting to see how the slots have been allocated, from which we will be able to judge for ourselves what the criteria were.

Half an hour is actually a long time to listen to prose by the way. From my own experience, 12 minutes of story is about the attention span limit without a break. If there really is a log jam developing for some reason, then we might suggest that future years should consider the possibility of 20 minute slots, 3 per hour.

I do think that reading stories aloud is a great learning process for writers of all stages in their careers, as well as something fascinating and varied for audiences as Roseanne describes above.

Offline Rosanne

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Re: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 09:00:11 am »
Taking up from Wroclaw's point, if slots are crowded writers could be asked to consider doubling or even tripling up. I'd suggested a group reading myself, with 3 of reading for an hour (3 for the price of two:). Perhaps three in a half-hour might be too much and not leave room for any questions, but two in a half hour should work. 

Offline Rosanne

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Re: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 09:14:10 am »
PS... If the criteria is different, it would be good to know what it is for future reference. For example, if I know it is based on the number of publishing credits, I would list more. As it was, I only mentioned two or three because that didn't really come into allocating reading slots in previous years.

Or would a more detailed description of our writing and the genres we work in be called for?

However, in the future I'd favour allocating a second room for readings so we can retain the open quality of the author readings strand and not have to fuss too much with all that at all!

Of course, I understand that the main programme needs to be carefully planned and balanced but the readings should be there as an alternative and opportunity for newcomers as well as pros to participate.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 01:07:11 pm by Rosanne »

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 09:59:47 am »
I don't know if anyone on the convention committee is still active on the forums, but I've tweeted them to ask if they're available to look in on the thread.

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 12:04:19 pm »
Since I've just been made aware of this thread, I thought I should put the Committee position personally. This close to the convention we're all swamped with the actual running of the event, but there are clearly questions and some mistaken assumptions here. First and foremost, 2011 and 2012 were run independently of the BFS, although on their behalf and with their permission. The 2011 team, along with WHC 2013 team, stepped in this year when the previous organisers couldn't continue, and took over on short notice.

The readiings can happily be allocated on a first come, first served basis in years where demand doesn't exceed room space - before last year's convention this was usually the case, at least with FCON (and I have been involved in several FantasyCons).  Last year, and this year, demand has far outstripped space available in the hotel. We attempted using Bar Rogue for 'some' of the excess requests last year but this wasn't entirely successful as the readings impeded access to the launches going on in the next room - we had complaints from readers and launches alike, after the event, although thankfully few. What we did last year, and this, was look at requests, programming commitments of panellists etc, and - something we cannot ignore - space available to us. Demand was high, right from the start, and we had requests way over our actual ability to facilitate them. Lou Morgan was in charge of taking requests, but final decisions lay with the organisers - and we did our best to make a fair and representative list. At no time have we said the list was being run on a first come first served basis. The FantasyCon 2012 site does say that registering for the convention does not guarantee a reading slot. In view of the high demand, it just wasn't possible to include everyone - but we did our best to make the list as varied and inclusive as possible. Inevitably some people have been disappointed, but we can't force more readings into non-existent space, however much we would have liked to.

A full schedule will go on the FantasyCon site very soon now, we're all working as hard as we can to finalise details in time for the event. We all hope people enjoy the convention.

Offline Rosanne

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Re: Thoughts/queries about author readings at Fantasycon 2012
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2012, 10:15:23 am »
Thanks for your reply, Marie. You certainly raised points that I wasnít aware of regarding Bar Rogue. For one thing, I didnít realise that the readings were impeding access to the launches.

I read at Bar Rogue last year (my first reading at a Fantasycon) and I enjoyed it very much Ė I rather liked the informal atmosphere and the fact that we had people casually wandering through the bar, especially when a couple of these wanderers stayed for the reading. But I gather now that this situation didn't work out well for everyone.

Again, I meant my comments to be constructive, with concern there is still space for indie/new writers to read. This has always been a big part of what I enjoyed at Fantasycon.

In any case, weíll see what the future holds Ė if the location & venue change in coming years (though I gather there won't be a regular Fcon next year) perhaps there could be more than one room available for readings. 

Meanwhile, I look forward to the full programme and attending Fantasycon.

And finally, thanks for your hard work!

 

Rosanne