Tag Archives: conference

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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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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It is official: I am going to GDC!

I know that I made getting to GDC one of my goals for the year.  But over the last few weeks, I was worried that getting to San Francisco this March wouldn’t be a reality.  But I’ve managed to sort everything out and have registered for the conference.  I’ve also spoken with a friend and we’re going to room together.

I can’t wait!  🙂

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Oh Yeah…Goals

Last year I made myself a list of goals, most of which were writing related.  Of the 11 goals I made for myself, I managed to accomplish exactly one off of the list.  And it wasn’t one of my writing ones.

That being said, I did some work on the other goals.  I played around with Chat Mapper a little bit.  I started world building one of those worlds that need building.  And while I didn’t clear out my writing magazine stash (one of my unlisted goals), I did clear out some other magazines.

I also accomplished some things which weren’t on my list.  I was involved with a game project among friends.  Sure, it ultimately didn’t go anywhere, but it was still a valuable experience.  I also worked on Holdfast, which resulted in a published credit.  And then I wrote that submission for the Dark Crystal Author Quest, which was quite a feat in and of itself (a couple months of research followed by three writing and editing it).  I think the lesson from all of this is that while goals are good, it also pays to be flexible; you never know what opportunities life will throw at you.

So with that in mind, here are my new writing goals for 2014:

  • Figure out Chat Mapper and write some branching dialogue with it.
  • Build 2+ of my worlds that need building.
  • Build a game (can be with RPG Maker, Game Maker, StoryNexus or whatever).
  • Edit my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel OR write a new novel using 90 Days to Your Novel 
  • Get to GDC Main this year.

Most of these goals are the same as my last year’s goals, but that’s okay; I’m thinking they’re still good goals to strive for.  For the fourth one, I’ve had 90 Days to Your Novel for quite awhile and wanted to give it a try.  I might even just rewrite the NaNoWriMo novel using that book’s techniques since I’m pretty certain the book needs an almost total rewrite anyway.

I have a couple of other goals for the year that aren’t really writing related so I’m not going to post them here.  That last goal isn’t completely writing related, but I do talk about conferences from time to time here, too.  I’ve been saying I’m going to GDC for the last few years and still haven’t made it; I’d really like to change that in 2014!

Hopefully 2014 will be a creative and productive year for us all – Happy New Year, everyone!  🙂


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Casual Connect

Last week I was in San Francisco to attend Casual Connect.  I’ve never been to San Francisco before, so I made sure to add a few days for sightseeing (and if you’re interested, here are all the pictures I took during my trip).

I’ve attended Casual Connect twice before, when it was held in Seattle.  But both of those times I went only for the IGDA Summit, not for the full conference.  Last year a friend recommended that I attend the entire conference, so I listened to her advice and got myself a full pass.  That pass got me into the IGDA Summit as well, so I was able to sit in on their talks again this year.

I didn’t end up attending many of the talks during the first two days.  The first day I spent figuring out the layout of the conference (it was rather maze-like) and talking to people at all the booths.  The IGDA Summit started on day 2, but instead of sitting in on the talks I ended up spending a lot of time at the Indie Showcase, playing games and chatting with the developers.  While I did sit in on some talks on day 3, I wasn’t able to see everything that interested me; I’m going to catch the ones I missed (from all three days!) once they’re available online.

The one thing I missed was having a dedicated after-hours hangout spot like GDC Online’s Gingerman.  I know that the previous Casual Connects I’ve been to didn’t have anything like that either, but it would be really nice if they did.  While there was no dedicated place to meet people, there were some great parties put on by the sponsors.

All in all, Casual Connect was  a great conference.  I hope I’ll be able to go back again next year!

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GDC Online 2011

Back in July, I attended the IGDA Summit in Seattle. While there, I met many great people and had an excellent time. But one piece of advice that I got really stuck with me: if you want to be a video game writer, go to GDC Online. So I did! It’s now been a week and a half since I returned home after the conference. And with life returning to normal, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my fantastic experience in Austin.

I went to GDC Online specifically for the Narrative Summit and the Game Writing Tutorial. While my pass let me attend the other Summits and Tutorials, I only attended sessions from these two. I really enjoyed the various talks; there were lots of excellent speakers during all three days. My favourite sessions from the Narrative Summit were Cory Herndon’s “Tweet Quest,” the panel on Co-Operative Campaigns, and Richard Dansky’s “Muppetational Game Writing Critique Workshop.” The entire Game Writing Tutorial was also extremely valuable, especially if you are, like me, relatively new in the industry.

While the conference itself was a great experience for learning the craft, the after hours events were great for getting to know everyone. I was lucky that I met a lot of people in Seattle, so Austin was a great place to catch up with them. But there were also many people that I met for the first time at GDC Online. They were all extremely welcoming, willing to share their experiences or just chat. And the best place to find them all was after hours at the Gingerman. Here the writers gathered for Write Club, Family Business, socializing and merriment. The Gingerman after hours gatherings were just as valuable as the Conference proper. And always a lot of fun!

From start to finish, GDC Online was a great conference. I learned a lot and had a great time hanging out with everyone. My advice to anyone who wants to be a video game writer: definitely look into attending the next GDC Online – and make sure you stop by the Gingerman!

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