Context 25

So I lied.

My last blog post said something about a week between this one and that one and it’s been six (give or take, but who’s counting?) My apologies, sort of, and well, yeah, enough of that. This one is here now.

Context is over and, as usual, it was a fantastic weekend. Awesome workshops, awesome panels, and awesome people. If you’re a writer and you’re close to central Ohio (that would be Columbus, Ohio for you non-geographical folks) then this convention should be on your priority list for next year. It’s not over-priced, over-crowded, or over-elitist.

Writers, you will not regret the money or the time invested, even if it’s a three hour (or so) drive.

Some highlights for me include meeting the super talented Alexis A. Hunter. We’ve published her in TGH and her story “Sacrifice of the Goddess” appears in the Misanthrope Press anthology A Rustle of Dark Leaves. Did I mention she tied for first place in the Context flash fiction contest Friday night, beating out several other professional writers? And the writer she tied with has been publishing for almost 30 years, so yeah, I’m thinking you should go check out Alexis, her blog, and her work.

I also met Brady Allen. He’s a fellow Post Mortem Press author whose collection “Back Roads and Frontal Lobes” releases tomorrow. There were copies for sale at Context and I picked one up. I’m looking forward to reading Brady’s work. Super nice guy who admitted that he’s rather fucked up and likes to write weird shit. That’s right up my alley.

The PMPress table sat next to the guys from a game I intend to check out called Metroplexity. It takes you back to the old MUDs and text based RPGs, so that’s cool. I’m a fan of retro and don’t consider text based games a bad thing (I do still own an Atari, people). And ultimately, if it’s fun and it keeps kids reading instead of relying on flashy graphics and button mashing, then it needs to be promoted. And no, that doesn’t mean I hate flashy graphics and button pushing… I own an Xbox and a PS3, too.

I picked up a few other books… “Poison Study” by Maria V. Snyder and “Blackbirds” by Chuck Wendig; I also picked up a copy of “Ghost is the Machine.” So, the reading list grows, but that’s okay.

But the real fun and merit of Context are the workshops. We do have to pay for them (this year the cost seemed to equate to $10.00/hr), but it’s more than worth the minimal cost. If you’re serious about writing and improving the craft, then you need to look into them. I won’t go into details of any specific workshops I took, but I learned secrets to being a P.I. and how to effectively use their trade for characters, was provided with an in-depth look at how to write 1-8 page synopsis of my novel, great tips on revision and what kinds of phrases editors see that are overused, how to draw out tension and reveals my monsters effectively, and how to present not only myself, but my writing as brand, to draw in readers and fans.

It’s a wealth of information for writers at all levels (well, I guess unless you’re Stephen King or Chuck Palahniuk) and, to wrap up, I’m just giving some props to the instructors I had: Timons Esaias, Maria V. Snyder, Maurice Broaddus, Linnea Sinclair, and Lawrence Connolly.

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