The night I made it back from the conference I grabbed a notebook and started writing down all the things I loved about Realm Makers. The list was pretty huge. I narrowed it down to fifteen.
1. Likeminded People: When I walked into the conference room on Thursday night and saw Jeff Gerke as Luke Skywalker and Adrienne Niceley as Princess Leia, my first thought was, wow, these really are my kind of people.
2. Unique Sessions: Where else would I get the chance hear about Lord of the Rings and Star Wars in the same session? One thing that really struck me was Jeff Gerke’s early bird session. It was so freeing when he talked about story being first. I tend to focus so much on making sure that it’s technically correct that I lose the sense of story. I can’t wait to go back over my manuscript with this in mind.
3. Random Hallway Conversations: When a fellow Realm Maker stops you at the lobby entrance and says, “You shall not pass!” this quickly turns into a conversation about how far Gandalf and the Balrog really fell.
4. Glitter and Cosplay: When it’s ok to want to be someone else. I think I still have glitter sticking to me and my costume didn’t even include glitter. If you’re a speculative fiction writer who likes to cosplay, then you should be here.
5. The Coffee: Let’s just say we drank it anyway. Maybe next year I’ll bring a small coffee pot.
6. Opportunities: You never know who you’re going to bump into, sometimes literally. If I knocked you out in the hall with my backpack, I’m sorry.
7. New friendships or the Adventures of an Awkward Extrovert: If I stalked you with my camera, then told you about it, car-napped you, or gave you an awkward hug, Robert Liparulo said I could. You get bonus points if all three happened.
8. Excitement: I was like a two year old on Skittles but the good thing is I don’t think I was alone.
9. No Sleep: I finally had the chance to meet people face to face who I’d only talked with online. Sleep wasn’t really in the equation at that point.
10. Awesome Bookstore: Unfortunately, I ran out of money before I purchased all of them. If you plan on coming next year, make sure to budget for the bookstore.
11. Pre-appointment Friendship Forming: It’s sort of like waiting in line for a roller coaster. When you’re terrified and someone else is terrified about the same thing, the bonds of friendship form fast. Honestly, the appointments were a wonderful experience. I met with Jill Williamson and she was very gracious about my bombarding her with questions.
12. Room Matchups: Somehow I ended up in a room with people who shared my sarcastic sense of humor and love of the weird, go figure. They rocked. On a similar note, how many of you had to do some sort of river dance to get the room card to work?
13. The Zombie Apocalypse Nerf War: When the pain isn’t for real but the hard-core expressions are. It’s funny how playing a game can draw you closer together as a group. We definitely had some intense moments.
14. Planning for the Future: I’m sitting with my laptop on the couch and getting ready to dive back into my first draft before I send it on to an editor. What are you doing? Are you sending people what they asked for? In the words of Robert Liparulo, “Go!”
15. Post Conference: Why do I feel like someone just took my coffee away? Luckily, I still get to connect with everyone on social media. Only three hundred and sixty-one days to go until next year, guys! Hope to see you there.
What were some of your favorite things about Realm Makers?