Every time I go to a con I meet the most interesting people. I’ll meet one to three people, we’ll spend a significant bit of the con talking to each other, and it’ll start a great new con friendship (usually because everyone’s living far enough away from each other). Alethea Kontis and Elaine Bloser – who I met at sequential Millennicons – have stories in Dark Futures1. I could list a lot more people – Jim Hines, Paul Popiel, Kathy Watness, Addie King, Nick Winks, and gosh-darn near everyone from the GenCon Writer’s Symposium. 2
And I keep meeting more interesting people. And the people I’ve already met also keep coming to cons. I’ve not been able to walk down the hall at World Fantasy 2010 without seeing someone I know.
And that’s why I want conventions to be longer. Because I know I’ve not spent as much time with as many of these cool people as I should have – it’s just been impossible. I’m pretty sure that there’s several people I meant to talk to and just haven’t, through nobody’s fault. I don’t want to schedule appointments – it’s bloody pretentious, just for starters – but I’m not sure how to navigate this particular social situation.
And there’s a sub-problem that I’m equally clueless with: I usually go to cons on my own – my group at GenCon all game, I go to the Writer’s Symposium, and we rarely see each other. Other than one event, we have no set plans together and it’s all good. But as I meet other people (or talk to friends), sometimes the people they were with start to get uncomfortable or upset. Sometimes it’s just group vs. individual tension, once or twice it’s gotten to the point where con-drama almost ensued.
I don’t want con-drama. 3
So here’s my problems, folks:
1. How do you keep up with friends at cons while still staying open to meeting cool new people without scheduling every minute?
2. What tactics are there (for me or the folks in groups) when group dynamics change? (Or if my description above was horribly unclear, let me know!)
Leave your suggestions in the comments. Please.
1 Why yes, I do try to promote books that include friends.
2 And these are only some of the people I’ve seen at World Fantasy and known before now – there are lots more.
3 I have enough regular drama that I don’t want.