Storming The Castle

Friday8:00 PMSouthfield Footnotes in Fiction While readers are accustomed to footnotes in translated and historical works, footnotes, endnotes, and other side-matter such as indexes pack powerful storytelling potential. Goldman used them to power the meta-story in The Princess Bride. Ursula K. Le Guin used the occasional footnote to define terms, and footnotes are popular in alt history and historical fiction for audiences of all ages. How can we use footnotes to best effect in our work, and how do we walk the line between entertaining flavortext and extraneous infodump? Annalee Flower Horne (M), David John Baker, Scott H. Andrews, Anaea Lay, Amy Sundberg
Saturday10:00 AMSouthfield Flash Fiction Improv Fast paced and quick witted, authors create stories in real time, "round robin" style, using prompts from the audience. Jackie Morgan (M), Mur Lafferty, Vanessa Ricci-Thode, Suzanne Church
Saturday11:00 AMSouthfield Applying the Social Model of Disability to Genre Worldbuilding The social model of disability holds that whatever someone's physical traits, what renders a person disabled are physical and social structures not built to accommodate them. In The Princess Bride, Count Rugen's six fingers don't impede his swordsmanship--the fact that swords aren't built for his hand does. In the real world, what limits a wheelchair driver's freedom isn't their wheelchair, but spaces that aren't built for wheelchair access. We'll discuss how to incorporate the social model of disability into fantasy and science fiction world-building to build fictional worlds where people with wide ranges of physical traits and abilities have agency and self-determination, and talk about our favorite fictional worlds that are doing this right. Josef Matulich (M), Jordan Kurella, Sandee Rodriguez, Petra Kuppers
Saturday12:00 PMSouthfield Political History As Setting in Science Fiction and Fantasy The history of Gildor is essential context for S. Morganstern's classic. Even in his abridged version, Goldman includes this background in footnotes so that readers will be able to fully appreciate the story. Whether we're writing a sweeping secondary-world epic, an alternate history, or futuristic science fiction, giving our worlds history helps them feel lived-in and real. Let's talk about our favorite worlds with deep histories, and how authors can weave historical information into the story in an engaging way that doesn't bog down the narrative with infodumps. Dave Klecha (M), Anaea Lay, Carl Engle-Laird, K.A. Doore, K. Lynne O'Connor, Lewis Shiner
Saturday1:00 PMSouthfieldJoe R. Lansdale and Lewis Shiner on Story Ideas Joe and Lew have been kicking story ideas back and forth for years; the main reason because the originator didn't want to write it. Here they will discuss story ideas they didn't want to write, why they didn't work for them, and what makes a successful idea. How do they turn a scrap of an idea into a full blown story? Cherie Priest (M), Joe R. Lansdale, Lewis Shiner
Saturday2:00 PMSouthfield Fairytale Retellings in the Modern Market Fairytales are a common inspiration for stories and novels, especially in YA. What is it about fairy tales that make us tell and retell them? How do these stories speak to us and why? Merrie Haskell (M), Jessi Cole Jackson, Amy Sundberg, Jeffrey Chapman
Saturday3:00 PMSouthfield She-Ra, Old and New She-Ra has returned to significant acclaim, and accompanied by other Princesses of Power. Has the reboot captured something new in its portrayals of Adora, Catra, and the rest of the cast? What did the original do well, and in what ways might it have been ripe for the reboot treatment? Marie S. Bilodeau (M), Yanni Kuznia, Vanessa Ricci-Thode
Saturday4:00 PMSouthfield Writing Humor in Science Fiction and Fantasy The Princess Bride is a classic of fantasy humor. What makes humor in speculative fiction work? What "funny books" really aren't? Let's look at American vs. British humor, which topics have aged well (or not so well!), short form vs. novels, and all the other things that make speculative humor more than pies in the face for elves. Steve Buchheit (M), Tim Boerger, Marissa Lingen, Clif Flynt, Joe R. Lansdale
Saturday5:00 PMSouthfield Mostly Dead: The Problem of Death and Not-Quite-Death in SFF The frequency of resurrections or "they died, but they didn't" moments in SFF is (if one wishes to be kind) statistically unlikely. In this panel, we'll discuss various stories where death, death and resurrection, or false deaths play a key role in the narrative. How does the bloody ruthlessness of a series like Martin's Song of Ice and Fire change which characters "get" to die, and who stays dead? What are our favorite "return to life" moments? Which ones don't really work and why? And what must a writer do to make these moments serve the story and their audience? John Wiswell (M), Angus Watson, Jason Sanford, Tracy Townsend, Dan Wells
Saturday8:00 PMSouthfield What Makes A Magic System Feel Satisfying? Some magic systems work with intense rules, and others run on vague hints and mystery. What makes either version work for a given work of fiction? Nathan Rockwood (M), Andrew M. 'Fish' Popowich, James L. Sutter, Ferrett Steinmetz, Christian Klaver
Sunday11:00 AMSouthfield Tense and Point of View in Fantasy Today Aesthetic trends in genre writing are constantly evolving--and tense and point of view are no exception. The Princess Bride uses an omniscient viewpoint to excellent comedic effect, framing it inside a conversational first-person narrative. In the time since it was published, present-tense narration has grown in popularity, especially in Young Adult fiction. Where are fashions heading around tense and point of view? Which works are showcasing what the common viewpoints and tenses can contribute to a story? Theresa Nielsen Hayden (M), Jordan Kurella, Dyrk Ashton, Jason Sanford, Amy Sundberg, Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Sunday1:00 PMSouthfield Supply Lines and Economics in Fantasy Worldbuilding Goldman's beloved abridged version of The Princess Bride omits the incisive political and economic commentary of Morganstern's classic, but understanding some basics about economics and trade is vital to fantasy world-building. What foods and fibers does your local ecology support? What trade routes are your characters connected to, and how long have they been established? We'll talk about how these things will influence a society's diet, architecture, clothing, and technology, as well as informing their class markers and aesthetics. K.A. Doore (M), Ferrett Steinmetz, Jennifer Mace, Scott H. Andrews, Jon Skovron, Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Sunday2:00 PMSouthfield Expanding The Definition of Witchcraft Witchcraft in fiction often taps into real world tragedies, myths and folklore, spiritual practices, sexuality and gender treatment through the lens of Western occultism. Witchcraft, however, is more than riding brooms or dancing naked. Panelists will explore the definition of witch and then provide examples of witches through underrepresented lenses. Monica Valentinelli (M), Josef Matulich, Paul Kemner, A. Carina Spears