ICON recap

I just got back from ICON and chilly Iowa late last evening. Though the fridge is empty and my cat spent most of the night meowing in my face, it’s good to be home–especially since I’m returning refreshed and inspired.

I went to ICON so I could attend Paradise Icon, a writing workshop organized annually by my friend and fellow Viable Paradise graduate Catherine Schaff-Stump. It’s a lovely workshop. There were ten of us this year, which did mean a lot of reading beforehand, but we’ve all gotten to the point now that our writing is good, so the critiques were fun rather than painful. A lot of the attendees were friends from VP or folks I’ve met at other workshops, like Paradise Lost, but there were some new friends as well.

Cath organized a great workshop. The whole first day was critiques, which were incisive and on-point, while the second day was a balance of talks with some of the pros in attendance at the Con (Jim C. Hines, Elizabeth Bear, and Scott Lynch) and professional activities, like an author meet-and-greet and a reading. In between, of course, was lots of food and socializing and all of us generally nerding out about writing and fandom and all that good stuff.

Friday night we sat in the bar and helped each other work on pitches for our novel projects and Sunday morning some of us made time for a group writing session. ICON is a small, very chilled-out Con filled with very nice people, so the atmosphere was relaxed and fun. Every single participant in the workshop was exactly the kind of person you want in a workshop — smart, creative, supportive, and talented.

In all, it would be hard to ask for a better weekend. I even got to meet a writing hero of mine, Joe Haldeman (author of the brilliant Forever War). He couldn’t have been nicer as he gave us some advice and regaled us with stories of hanging out with Arthur C. Clarke back in the day. It was awesome.

Now, I think it’s time to sit down and write!

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