Full program and registration

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Saturday October 24 2020

10 AM- 11 AM EDT: Dystopian and Utopian fiction

Do Utopian and Dystopian fiction stories continue to be relevant in the face of current events? Are these categories still appropriate and of interest? How do they relate to post-apocalyptic stories, pandemic fiction, hope punk, grim/dark?

Stephen Graham King, Jamieson Wolf, John Haas, Jack Briglio, Elizabeth Hirst (m), Nina Munteanu, Rae Bruner

11:30 AM- 12:30 PM EDT: Writing about religion and spirituality, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

All too often in books, movies, television shows, etc the writing about religion is skewed with assumptions rooted in Christian hegemony. On this panel we will discuss the tropes to avoid as well as suggestions for making the writing of characters and religions more inclusive and informed.

Stephen Pearl, Dominic Bercier, Wanda John-Kehewin, Elizabeth Hirst, Luke Maynard, Shannon Barnsley, Talia C. Johnson (m)

1 PM – 2 PM EDT: Ableist, me? That’s cr*zy!

Ableist language and narratives are incredibly pervasive. This panel explores how even disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse authors have to unlearn ableist narratives that influence the everyday terms we use.

Cait Gordon (m), Dianna Gunn, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Jamieson Wolf, Madona Skaff-Koren

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM EDT: Writing inclusive horror

A lot of horror is rooted in fear of the other, and historically, this has translated into stories which perpetrated harmful stereotypes about marginalized communities. How does one write in the tradition of horror while avoiding these harmful tropes?

John Haas, Shannon Barnsley, Christian Baines, Elizabeht Hirst (m)


This panel discusses how to write a satisfying ending and why it’s so important. 

S. M. Carrière, Madona Skaff-Koren, Stephen Graham King, Éric Desmarais, Luke R. J. Maynard, E. C. Ambrose, Jade Crevier (m)

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: The submission process

What are the best practices when it comes to submitting short stories? How do you manage and keep track of submitting multiple stories to multiple markets?

Wanda John-Kehewin, John Haas, Madona Skaff-Koren, Jade Crevier (m)

7 PM – 8 PM: Building worlds

In speculative fiction, the setting tends to become central to the conflict. But how do you build a world from scratch? What elements go into building a believable world? How do we decide

Cait Gordon, Dianna Gunn (m), Christian Baines, S. M. Carrière, Stephen Graham King, E. C. Ambrose

Sunday October 25 2020

10 AM – 11 AM : I know that place!

This panel discusses the challenge of using real places in fiction. How do you avoid problems? How to futurize a location? What are common pitfalls in using real locations?

Jack Briglio, Stephen B. Pearl, Éric Desmarais, Su J. Sokol, Luke R. J. Maynard, Elizabeth Hirst(m)

11:30 AM – 12 30 PM Family of choice.

How have chosen family narratives evolved over the past few years? What remains to be done in terms of representation, and what has been done well (or less well)? Why are chosen family narratives still relevant and important? 

Su J Sokol, Avi Silver, Nathan Caro Fréchette (m), Jamieson Wolf, Matti McLean

1 PM – 2 PM : Polyamorous narratives

Romantic configurations are evolving, and polyamory is becoming more commonplace and open. How to narratives of family and romance adapt to this? What are good representations, and what are the harmful tropes associated with depictions of polyamory?

Luke R. J. Maynard, Elizabeth Hirst, Su J. Sokol, Nathan Caro Fréchette (m), Avi Silver

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM : What is the Artist’s Role in the Revolution? 

This panel discusses the intersection between speculative fiction and social change. What makes speculative fiction such a good vehicle for talking about current world struggles?  

Su J. Sokol (m), Luke R. J. Maynard, Jack Briglio, Dominic Bercier, Nina Munteanu

4 PM – 5 PM:  Writing gender: a cistemic problem

What should be the role of spec fiction in addressing gender stereotypes, rigid gender roles, binary presumptions, etc? How can we write characters who are realistic and interesting as concerns gender? What books or stories have done this well?

S. M. Carrière, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Su J. Sokol, Avi Silver, Talia C. Johnson (m)

5:30-6:30 PM: Interactive narratives

Learn how to gamify your books, make your narrative truly interactive, and engage your readers on another level in this workshop presented by author and designer Matti McLean.