Friday, April 24, 2009

Do conferences have personalities?

Me and Laura Drwery at RWA National 2007Last week I talked about my indecision on whether to go to RWA National. For the record, looks like I will be skipping. I got an offer of another contract--a good thing, but it means I have two books and and a short story to write before fall. Taking a week off (not to mention prep and recovery time) for National just doesn't seem like a good idea.

However, I do have a few other smaller conferences lined up.

Today actually I'm going to OddCon. It's a scifi/fantasy conference. I've been to WisCon before. I'm going again this year too, but OddCon is new to me. While it and WisCon are both scifi/fantasy, I suspect they will have very different personalities. And I don't think either is the least like an RWA conference.

I have been to conferences for all of the big three genres: mystery, fantasy/scifi and romance, and man, are they all different. To be fair, most of the romance conferences have been writer conferences, so more career/craft oriented. While the others have been kind of a mix of career and fan. But still I think there are some differences.

At romance conferences people wear real clothes--as in not sweatshirts. And frequently they go past that, pulling out hose and heels! Romance conferences are almost all female. And people are a tad intense...or maybe focused is a better word. They know what they want and they are working a plan to get it. I can totally appreciate this because it certainly describes me. There is also a LOT of variety in what people read. Some read historicals, some paranormal. Some have been reading romance since the 70's some are brand new. Wherever you are coming from in that way, you can blend. People may be surprised if you haven't read Nora or Balogh, but it doesn't make you any less qualified to be there.

Me and Kathy Steffen Love is Murder 2008Mystery is more casual. Lots of sweatshirts. A lot more relaxed attitude and there seems to be more variety in who knows what author. Even though this is the genre I probably read the least of right now, I feel I can keep up. I don't feel like I need a certain base of information to blend. I've read cozies. I've read thrillers. I can talk about them enough I don't feel I stand out. And it stops at books. There aren't tons of panels on TV or movies.

Me, Chris Howard and Sylvia Kelso at WisCon 32Scifi/fantasy is also more casual, dress wise and attitude wise, but there IS a base knowledge you feel everyone has. And it is more a lifestyle. Scifi/fantasy con goers watch the same TV shows and movies. They read the same blogs--they share the same reality. It is easy to be pegged as a non scifi (skiffy).

Personally, I enjoy all three types for different reasons. And while I tone down my romance intensity for the others, I don't let it go completely--because honestly for learning and organization, a romance conference is darn hard to beat.

How about you? What conferences have you been to? Have you noticed any personality differences? Which do you prefer the most?

No comments: