The Gen Con Writer’s Symposium is in its twenty-first year this year. Functioning almost as its own con within the larger con, the Symposium brings literary luminaries, publishing bigwigs, writers, and fans together to talk about speculative fiction from nearly every angle.
This is my third Writer’s Symposium and I continue to be impressed with the array of panels offered. Whether you’re a hobbyist, a serious writer or a reader and fan, there’s something there for any lover of speculative fiction.
This year’s Author Guest of Honor is Terry Brooks, and Chuck Wendig is a Special Guest. Panelists include Maxwell Alexander Drake, Elizabeth Bear, Delilah S. Dawson, David Farland, Kameron Hurley, Jennifer McGowan, Sam Sykes, Elizabeth Vaughan and many more. The panelists represent a breadth and depth of experience and genres and interests.
Like at the rest of GenCon, events are ticketed, but many of them are free or low cost, and you can often attend panels even without a ticket if there’s space. For the cost of your four day pass and little else, you can hobnob and learn from some of the best in the business. It’s a rare value in the world of writer’s cons, doubly valuable because its focus is on speculative fiction (which is often the redheaded stepchild of other writer’s cons).
The tracks within the Symposium are Writer’s Craft, Business of Writing, Author Ed, Character Craft, Writing Comics, Worldbuilding, Read and Critique, and Writer’s Office Hours Q&A. I’m a sampler myself, choosing a variety of panels to attend. When I was struggling to complete my novel, I benefitted from the “how to” sessions. Now that I’ve got that debut novel out there, I’m listening carefully in the business and marketing panels.
The Writer’s Symposium includes traditionally published, indie-published, and hybrid-published writers, so whatever path to publishing you want to learn about, there’s someone there to learn from. The small community feeling of the symposium also allows ample opportunity for casual interaction and conversation with participants.
If any of your Gen Con crowd are the wordy sort, then you should definitely check out the Writer’s Symposium.