Category Archives: Conferences

I’m using this category for posts about both conferences (like GDC and 4th Street) and conventions (like Ad Astra) and ThunderCon.

#WriteTuesday – Panel Discussion and More Podcast Recording

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I survived the panel discussion over the weekend!  I was super nervous going in – I haven’t done a presentation like that since grad school (and presentations have always made me nervous!)  But I made it through my fifteen minute presentation (I read it over the night before and timed it out a few times – it was about 13 minutes, so perfectly in the 10-15 minute time they gave each of us during the afternoon).  And I had a really fun time during the q&a discussion afterwards!  Unfortunately Austin Campbell was unwell, but Bry Kotyk, Clint Fleury and I were able to bounce thoughts off each other really well (our presentations, while looking at different aspects of creativity, all touched on similar themes, especially how the internet has made new tools for creative individuals to collaborate, or even just pull their own work up from anywhere).  I also quite enjoyed Dr. Scott Pound’s presentation; he looked at how creativity per se hasn’t changed thanks to the internet, but how it has enabled a sort of counter-cultural movement where people use texts preserved in the shadow net to create something new.

Then yesterday was another full day recording the podcast for work!  We’re actually doing really well in terms of recording; while we’ll need a few more days (including today) to finish up, we’ve got very few scenes left to record!  I’m actually really excited for today; we’re going to be listening to parts of what we have recorded already to see how it sounds (and to plan for any needed re-recording).  I’ve heard some random scenes here and there and it sounds great so far; I can’t wait to hear more! 🙂


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ThunderCon Pictures Now Uploaded!

watermark I made for my photosIt took quite a bit longer than I expected, but I have now edited and posted the Day 2 pictures I took at ThunderCon last weekend! The Day 1 pictures were all posted to both Facebook and my Flickr page straight out of the camera (I wanted to get them up on Facebook that night so there were pictures showing people what they missed and might look forward to on Day 2). But the Day 2 photos included some pictures for ThunderCon sponsors (which have not been posted anywhere), so I wanted to make sure they looked good. My dad sat down with me to help with the photo editing on Friday night, then I finished up on Saturday (it took all day, on and off, to get through them all!) I also created a watermark for my Day 2 pictures (the SK Photography logo pictured). The pictures are all on both ThunderCon’s Facebook and my Flickr page, so check them out if you have a minute!

So now that ThunderCon is over, I’m turning my attention to the big project I mentioned in June: I’ve been contracted to edit a nonfiction book! 🙂 I’m super excited about it (and kind of terrified because it’s so much bigger than anything I’ve edited before).  I’m also writing a chapter that’ll appear in the book, so all around it’s a very exciting project for me. 🙂

My first order of business though is to figure out how to write the chapter in an engaging way. I finished a first draft a little while ago, and right now it’s very boring to read (it’s literally just the timeline of events typed up into prose). I started researching how to improve my prose in earnest yesterday; I even asked Twitter for some advice on the subject (but haven’t received any replies). I think a lot of my problem is that I’m writing about a place rather than people; writing about people usually lends itself a bit more to story (in my mind anyway). So yesterday I started reading the other chapters in an attempt to see how everything will fit together as a whole (and to see what exactly the story is that we’re all telling).

Have you ever written any nonfiction? How did you make your prose engaging? And as always, what are you working on? 🙂

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No #WriteTuesday this week – I didn’t get anything done because of ThunderCon. I was the official event photographer, so that meant I got to wander around with my camera and take pictures of everything. It was exhausting but a lot of fun! I took over 1000 pictures on my Nikon for the event! Plus some more on my phone which went on the ThunderCon Twitter account (@TBayThunderCon). A lot of them are doubles (I shot multiples of most things so I could use the best ones); I’ll only be posting the best ones.  Right now the day 1 pictures (straight out of the camera – I did not do any touch-ups on them) are posted on ThunderCon’s Facebook page; I also posted most of them on my Flickr Photostream (ThunderCon asked for pictures of the booths – the booth pictures without people in them are not on my Photostream). I’m hoping to get the day 2 pictures (straight out of the camera) up soon!

ThunderCon 2019 Day 1 - 96

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#WriteTuesday – Edits 2.0 Complete!

I am so excited – on Thursday I finished the edits for the Make Your Way story!!!! I sat down that afternoon and got through the first few sections. I had plans to hang out with my brother, so I wasn’t expecting to get much more done that afternoon, but our plans got delayed a bit so I kept working. I managed to get through all 15 sections just before going to his place, but I wasn’t happy with the last two (sections 70 and 71). So after I got home (and made really yummy Creamy Zucchini and Carrot soup), I sat back down and changed them up quite a bit until I was satisfied with them. And now it’s done!!!

I immediately messaged a friend to see if he was interested in giving it a read through. Ideally I’m hoping to get it to a few friends so I can get some fresh eyes looking at it. Depending on how that goes, I’ll give it another pass or two (I need to look at dialogue to make sure the characters sound different, and of course one last read-through to make sure everything looks good) then hopefully submit it before the end of the month! 🙂

So here’s the new flowchart for what the story now looks like:

Flowchart of the Make Your Way story now that editing pass 2.0 is completed

You can see that it’s very similar to the old flowchart (just two extra sections added).

With the edits done Thursday (much sooner than I’d expected), I wasn’t really sure what to do next (besides giving myself a bit of space from the story before tackling the dialogue). That night I ended up finishing cleaning up this blog’s categories (I think I started doing that in April, then just put it off since). I’m now down to 14, which is where I’m going to leave things for now.  Originally I was going to get rid of all of my sub-categories, but in the end I decided to keep a few, like the one specifically for when I’m talking about using game development tools, and a few for writing like worldbuilding and characters. I also updated both worldbuilding and game development so they list (and link to) posts about the individual projects I’m “working on” (they’ve been on the back-burner for quite awhile unfortunately….)

As I was paring down the categories, I stumbled on the few blog posts about Memories. It’s been a few years since I put it aside because I didn’t know how to end it. So after I was done with the categories, I decided to play through the game again. I still really like the work I originally did on it, but unfortunately I’m still not really sure how to end it. 😦 But since that play through I’ve been puttering around with the game a bit, fixing some things I didn’t even realize needed to be fixed. A really big flaw in the game (besides the lack of ending) is that there wasn’t enough direction for what you need to do to progress. That first night I fixed a few spots, but got stuck on some others because there wasn’t an obvious  fix. I’m also very happy I made a picture with all of the NPCs (and that I noticed it while cleaning up the categories!)

The next day (Friday), I went back to working on Memories, fixing it up quite a bit. The NPCs now direct the player a bit more, explaining where things are and who needs your help next. I also had to close off one of the rooms that you could originally go through; closing it off directs your path a bit more towards certain goals earlier in the game. I also had to move a couple of NPCs to make them a bit easier to find.

Now that that’s all done, I’m back to needing to figure out how the game will end! I spent most of the weekend with that problem in the back of my head, and I’m still not 100% sure. I’ll have to keep thinking about it during this coming week; hopefully I’ll have some time to figure it out.

While I really want to get some more work done on both of these projects, unfortunately they aren’t my priority this week; ThunderCon is Sept 21 and 22 and I’m once again going to take pictures all weekend (while my friend Scott takes video footage for future ads and whatnot). I’ll be posting my pictures on my Flickr account at the end of the Con; I’ll share them here next Tuesday. 🙂

So how are your projects going? Any plans for the week? 🙂

PS, yesterday I stumbled on this Pinterest board I made for Memories a few years ago; I totally forgot it existed! That was a very fun find. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Taking Some Me Time

This week I’m trying to slow life down a bit to get caught up with things that I’ve been putting off.  To that end, on Sunday I finally uploaded the pictures I took from the second day of ThunderCon to Flickr (they’re in this album), as well as all the pictures I’ve taken with my phone over the last few months.  You can find all of my pictures on my Flickr photostream. 🙂

While going through my pictures (specifically the ThunderCon ones), I was a bit sad that some of them really didn’t work out.  I’m hoping to be able to work on taking better pictures, specifically of people in low light settings, so if I’m taking pictures for them again next year my pictures will be better in the future.  That being said, I still got some fantastic shots (especially of the Fire Eater, but he was outside so I think that helped a lot!)

Along with slowing down a bit, I’m also trying to take this week to kind of reset myself both mentally and physically.  Over the weekend I was eating a ton of pizza (as well as just way too much on Saturday night at a Christmas party).  So today I went to buy some mandarin oranges (they’re my favourite holiday treat!) and some ingredients I need for some no bake energy bites that are great to snack on.  If you follow me on Twitter you may have also seen a few Tweets I’ve sent to  – I signed up for her 30 Day Challenge, which sends you a 15 minute workout every day for 30 days.  I’ve felt super sedentary over the last few months, so I’m hoping to be a bit more active and healthier with her help.  So far her workouts have been pretty great!

On the writing side of things, this week has been rather quiet.  I went for coffee with my brother last Tuesday and mentioned the worldbuilding kinks I’ve been working through with City of the Dead.  As we were talking, he gave me some fantastic ideas, so now I need to see how well they actually work with the setting.  Unfortunately these ideas may have some far reaching consequences for both the setting and the specific story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology , so that’s set the story back a bit.  But hopefully I’ll be able to work through everything and be back to writing soon!

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ThunderCon 2018

This weekend was ThunderCon! ThunderCon is Thunder Bay’s fan convention that’s been at the Valhalla Inn every fall since its inception in 2015.  Like last year (which I apologize, I totally didn’t blog about last year), I went with Scott of Guilty Pleasures Cinema; he was shooting footage for ThunderCon ads, and I was taking stills.

I haven’t looked at any of my pictures from Day 2 yet, but here are some of my favourite shots from Day 1:

Bilbo and Gandalf on an adventure

We found Bilbo Baggins on a quest with Gandalf!

Darth Jar Jar and Anubis fighting

Anubis fighting Darth Jar Jar.

Predator lounging in a chair

The Predator lounging on a chair.

Klingons and Dr. Stevil sharing a moment

Klingons from the Klingon Assault Group with Dr. Stevil.

For day 2, I knew some friends of mine were dressing up as characters from Final Space, so I decided to dress up as Gary in civilian clothes.

Final Space crew at ThunderCon

Me with friends dressed up as Final Space characters.

me as Gary from Final Space with cookie

Me as Gary from Final Space with a cookie.

doodle of me as Gary from Final Space with cookie

There was a guy doing $1 doodles, so I got him to doodle the cookie pose!

You can find all the pictures I took from 2018 here on Flickr (the album will be updated with the pictures from Day 2!) And since I didn’t post about it last year, here are all the 2017 pictures, too.

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4th Street Fantasy 2015

So once again, I ended up missing #WriteFriday. But this time it was because I was travelling to Minneapolis for 4th Street Fantasy! 4th Street Fantasy is the the science fiction and fantasy writing conference that my brother and I went to last year.  Being our second year, things were a little bit different because we actually knew some people.  So it was pretty great getting to catch up with friends from last year!

This time around, Alex (who bought our passes) gave us both nicknames.  So I was Shauna “The Yellow Dart” Kosoris and he was Alex “Core-soris” Kosoris.  Sadly, only one person asked me about the nickname over the entire weekend (and I don’t think anyone asked him about his).  But that’s okay; we’ve already got future nicknames figured out (which will probably spark a lot more conversation than these ones did!)

Anyway, this year, much like last year, we drove in on Friday.  We made it in time to catch the very end of one of the panels (we sat down and then the applause started).  But that was okay.  We registered, met up with friends, and had a good discussion during the Intermediate Writers discussion.

Saturday was a whole day of panels.  Like last year, 4th Street Fantasy only has one track, so no one needs to decide what to go and listen to.  This was the day I started taking pictures of all the panelists (which I’ll hopefully be putting up on flickr soon).  I even managed to fit a little bit of writing in somehow during the day, even though it was super busy.

On Sunday, we stayed for the morning panels, then after a last lunch with friends, started the trip back home.  Just getting away was a nice treat in and of itself.  But beyond that, just being at 4th Street Fantasy makes me want to write.  Hopefully I’ll be able to save some of that energy and direct it into my still untitled StoryNexus game.

Of course, 4th Street Fantasy also makes me want to read everything.  People throw book titles around like mad during the panels, so I always want to check those out.  Alex and I also stopped at a few bookstores along the way, where I picked up a few more books.  So now I need to choose between both writing and reading.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make the time for both this summer!

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Ad Astra 2015

A few months ago, my brother mentioned that he was going to a science fiction and fantasy convention called Ad Astra.  I’ve never heard of Ad Astra before, but I jumped at the chance to go to something relatively local.  So I invited myself along, too.

Ad Astra wasn’t a professional conference, like all of the other writing and game development related events I have gone to.  Instead it was more of a fan-based event, much like how I imagine PAX might be (but a lot smaller).  So Alex and I both decided we would dress up for one of the two days we were going for (we didn’t know it at the time, but Ad Astra actually started on Friday night; I flew in at that time and missed the first day’s activities, so for me the convention started on the Saturday).  I was going to dress up on the second day, too, but my second hat didn’t exactly fit in my suitcase.

Ad Astra was a lot of fun.  It felt really inclusive, like there was something for everyone.  Like Lego?  Dr. Who?  Horror?  Anime?  Board games?  All of the above and more?  Then there’s definitely something for you.  Alex and I went to a whole bunch of panels.  I picked up some awesome stuff from the Dealer Room (that Dutch Licorice tea is amazing btw!) We met some awesome people and just generally had a great time.  I’m hoping to get back to Ad Astra again next year.  We were also invited to Can Con in the fall; I’m hoping we’ll be able to make it there, too!

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4th Street Fantasy 2014

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.

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GDC 2014!

I did it: I made it to GDC in San Francisco this year! I’m really excited to be able to scratch that off of my list of goals for the year!

I went to San Francisco on March 16th. With the time changes, I made it there around 1pm. I met the friend I stayed with at San Fran in the airport (we split a room); we checked into the hotel, then went to China Town. Last time I was in San Fran (for Casual Connect last summer), I meant to go to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory but forgot about it. So that was the first thing I wanted to see! You have to pay 50¢ to take pictures, which in my mind was well worth it. I got a bunch of free samples, and ended up buying several bags of fortune cookies (which actually made it home relatively intact).

After China Town, we met up with some friends at the GDC badge pickup party; GDC had officially begun! I ended up going out for dinner with some friends that night, then heading back to the hotel a bit early; Sunday was the one and only night where that happened!

Monday and Tuesday were the Narrative Summit days. Being a writer, those talks were my primary interest in GDC (besides the networking opportunities). I sat in on some excellent talks, including my friend’s day two talk about putting more sexy men into video games (“Fewer Tifas or More Sephiroths? Male Sexualization in Games”), which was being haled as THE talk of the Summit.

Day three I called a “me” day. My friend and I stayed and chatted in the hotel until about noon. Eventually we wandered to the conference, although she went sooner than I did because she had an All Access pass (I only had as Summits and Tutorials badge, which meant there was a lot less for me to do on the latter three days of GDC). So I went to a round table, then went to meet another friend of mine and go see the Golden Gate Bridge. The two of us have been friends on Xbox Live for 6-7 years; last Wednesday was our first time meeting in person.

The final two days were mostly networking and checking out both the Expo Hall and GDC Play. I wish I had discovered GDC Play sooner than Friday because it was a lot of fun!

In the end, I had a really great time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. And now I’m hoping to make it back to GDC next year!

Pictures from my trip can be found here if you’re interested. 🙂

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