A few months ago, a friend of mine (Tim) sent me the link to 4th Street Fantasy, a writing conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis is relatively close to my city, so I talked my brother into coming with me (as he said, he seems to have written a fantasy novel, so he might as well check out a fantasy and science fiction writing conference). He actually bought my pass for me as part of my birthday present, which was awesome! 🙂
4th Street Fantasy is a pretty neat little conference. There’s only one track of talks, so everyone gets the same experience (and you never have to choose between talks!) It’s also pretty small, which made it a really nice change of pace from GDC.
The conference goes for three days (Friday to Sunday). On Friday there’s a writer’s seminar which has limited room in it; when Alex and I registered it was way too late to get in so we spent that day driving to Minneapolis. We didn’t realize that there were some talks on Friday afternoon, so we ended up missing those, getting there in time for the welcome dinner (which was pizza). We met up with Tim, which was pretty awesome – we took an online writing class together a few years ago but have never met in person before. We also met some new people who we ended up hanging out with quite a bit over the weekend.
Saturday was the day that had the most panels. They started at 9:30am and ran until 9:00pm (with many breaks in between). For meals, there was always an ambassador who would organize a group outing for the new attendees and anyone else who wanted to tag along, which was great. After the last talk, Alex and I went and hung out in the bar for a bit (ostensibly to go and write but in reality to chat) before meeting up with some friends. I called it an early night, then ended up researching something for an upcoming project (more on that in another post!)
Sunday morning didn’t start quite as early (the first panel was at 10am). We sat in on the morning panels, but ended up leaving the conference at lunch time. On our way up we hit a deer (or more accurately, the deer ran into our car – I slowed down and was trying to swerve around it, but it refused to go around us and ran into the side of the car. The deer got up and ran off and we were totally fine – there was no damage to the car). So we didn’t want to be driving back through deer country in the dark. So we had a nice drive home, stopping for pizza in Duluth at my favourite pizza place, and later in Grand Marais for some lattes. I drove both ways, with Alex reading out loud from Mental Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge; we ended up learning about art history, literature, and a bit of economics on our drives there and back.
So that was 4th Street Fantasy. I met some great people, sat in on some very interesting talks, and had a great time hanging out with my brother.