Thursday, April 26, 2018


My husband, our youngest son, and I spent the past weekend at RavenCon in Williamsburg, Virginia.


This was our second year of attendance and the first year my husband (Leslie Roy Carter) and I have participated in panels there. The 2018 writer guest of honor was horror author and STAR WARS tie-in writer Chuck Wendig.

My husband and I appeared together on a panel about "Collaborating as a Couple." It wasn't quite what I expected, because the other couple weren't writers; they worked in film on special effects, makeup, and costuming. They provided lots of interesting anecdotes and information about their profession. I took part in a session on "The Evolution of Horror." Of course, we couldn't adequately cover such a wide topic in fifty minutes, but we had an engaging discussion with plenty of audience response. Les also participated in "Ask a Scientist," "Weapons Engineering," and "One If by Air, Two If by Sea" (mainly on military science in real life and fiction).

I especially liked the panel on SUPERNATURAL, one of my favorite long-running TV series. "Medicine in Fantasy" was full of intriguing information plus opinions on realistic and not-so-realistic depictions of healing in fantasy, and it could easily have gone much longer. Some writing-related sessions I viewed all or part of included "Life Hacks for Writers," "Ignore This Advice: Writing Tips That Aren't So Great," "Writing Outside the Box," and "Writer Without a Day Job" (featuring a group of full-time writers whose apparent productivity put me to shame). "Everybody Dies" discussed good and bad ways to handle character deaths. "Vampires, Monsters, and Ghosts—Oh, My" didn't particularly focus on vampires, as I'd expected; it was about using monsters in general in fiction. "Is That Blood on Your Dress?" dealt with the history and appeal of Gothic romance. "Morally Ambiguous Bad Guys" and "Longing for the Love of Monsters" were a couple of other highlights.

I enjoyed the filk group Misbehavin' Maidens, who performed lively, funny, mildly bawdy songs (mildly in the daytime show I attended, anyway). The set included "Dumb Ways to Con" (what not to do at conventions) and, as a sign of the times, a piece about consent. The Saturday night masquerade didn't have a huge number of entries, but they were all worth seeing. My favorite was a couple enchantingly costumed as Beauty and the Beast. Also, there was a woman in a green dress and matching green antlers whom I found very impressive, though I can't remember what the outfit represented. The con naturally had film and anime tracks, none of which I watched because of attending panels or going to bed in time to get a reasonable amount of sleep. In the snack and relaxation space labeled Ten-Forward, a fan group screened some original STAR TREK episodes they'd produced, of which we watched a few minutes. The films seemed to have quite a professional look.

The hotel has a confusing layout for the uninitiated, but this being our second year there, I began to get the hang of it. The spread-out nature of the space made the gathering feel uncrowded even though the total attendance (from what I heard) significantly exceeds that of our Thanksgiving weekend event, ChessieCon.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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