Worldcon: Day 1

I’ve spent the last several weeks in a state of nervous excitement about Worldcon—but honestly, after driving through Chicago rush-hour traffic this morning, the rest of the day felt reasonably relaxed.

There is, however, the teensy-tiny possibility that I’ve overstuffed my calendar. Today I attended two sessions about elevator pitches, one Q&A with a trio of famous agents (Joshua Bilmes, Jennie Goloboy, and Leslie Varney!), a tour of the convention center, a discussion about the differences between active vs. passive heroes, and another panel about the intersections between Eastern Mythology and Western Science Fiction. That’s not quite everything I hoped to do today, but it was quite enough.

This is the most social I’ve been in ages. I made a point of talking to other attendees while standing in lines, waiting for sessions to begin, and just walking around—those conversations were probably my favorite moments. My nametag has a ribbon attached indicating that this is my first Worldcon, and people go out of their way to offer advice and community. That sense of community is a big deal:

When you’re in the submission trenches, it’s easy to feel as though no one really cares if you succeed or fail. While it’s true that agents and editors receive so many submissions that they must look for reasons to reject stories, they don’t want writers to fail. Quite the opposite. Joshua Bilmes, Jennie Goloboy, and Leslie Varney allowed their Q&A to run long, then hung around afterwards to let us speak to them in person. Other industry professionals were similarly accommodating, and there’s definitely a we’re-all-in-this-together atmosphere among the aspiring writers.

Today was stellar, and I’m excited to discover what the rest of the con has in store.

P.S. In my twenty-eight years of life, this was the first time I ever used valet parking. Slipping a tip to the driver truly felt like the height of decadence and worldly sophistication. Henceforth, I shall only answer to the name of L.A. Rockefeller.

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