Wednesday, October 29, 2014
By Jon McGoran
Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but it brings with it many perks. The greatest is probably that you get to write. But almost as great is that you get to hang out with other writers, especially writers of your own ilk. I realized this at my first Bouchercon, where I experienced a dynamic I’ve seen played out at every Bouchercon since.
I didn’t know a soul, and every room I walked into, I would see old friends talking and laughing and carrying on the way old friends do. It was intimidating at first, because I didn't know anybody. But over the course of the conference, I met some of those same people, and I discovered that, while some of them had indeed been old friends, most had met minutes before I walked into the room. They were just that kind of people — open, welcoming and warm. And hilarious.
The next year, when I came back, the new friends from the previous year were my new old friends. And it’s been like that ever since — every year I make new friends, and have a blast hanging out with more and more old ones.
It’s easy to be star-struck at Bouchercon, but part of what makes it so special is that this warmth and friendliness extends to the big names, as well. Unless you are one of them — and truthfully, even if you are, because the big names are fans as well — one of the favorite activities at Bouchercon is trading stories about how “I met [INSERT NAME OF GENRE LITERARY ICON HERE] and he or she was incredibly gracious/friendly/hilarious/supportive.”
Because the big names are great people, too. So when you see them, say hi or buy them a beer. And when the conference is over, go to their homes and wait in the shadows to surprise them when they walk the dog at night. They’ll think it's hilarious! (Tell them Dennis Tafoya sent you.) Because there’s other types of stories that get told at Bouchercon as well, and you can be in one! Before you know it you’ll be driving them to the airport and helping them hide bodies (I'm looking at you, Brad Parks!).
And when the conference is over, when you get home and you get back to writing, sitting alone in your office or just in your head (crowded with fictitious characters though it may be), you can remember that even though you’re engaged in a lonely endeavor, you’re part of an amazing community of writers. And you’ll see them all again next year.
Oh, and there’s great panels, too.
Meet Jon McGoran and many other great Forge authors at the hospitality suite on Friday afternoon, where there will be coffee, author signings, and fun giveaways!