January 27, 2018
Organized by Richmond-based Agile Writers at the Holiday Inn at Richmond International Airport, this inter-genre activity for beginners, mid-level, and experienced writers featured eighteen seminars that included science fiction, fantasy, and speculative work, as well as romance and other fields, including several devoted to promotion and publishing for indies and small and large market authors. Attendance at individual sessions varied from ten to forty, since all sessions shared time slots. For only the second year of operation, it was very sophisticated and smoothly run, thanks in part to a helpful group of staffers. The venue was convenient and comfortable, especially since lunch was available on the premises and parking facilities were adequate, with handicapped accessibility to all meeting rooms. Abundant coffee and water were provided free and the final sessions were followed by a happy hour in the hotel. Wi-fi and a networking room made for easy communication. Participants took advantage of a book sale with services provided by the hosts, as well as several information tables for other cons and activities in the lobby.
The keynote speaker was Lani Sarem, author of Handbook for Mortals, speaking on “How I Navigated the New York Times Best Seller List.” Among the guests of honor in speculative fiction who gave seminars were Chris Kennedy, Lee Savino, Jack Heckle, Charity Jones, Bishop O’Connell, and Scott Allison. The session on “Inter-building Planets and Alien Characters” was particularly animated, with four break-out groups proposing some amazing suggestions for aliens as products of alternate evolutions.
Most of the participants hailed from the Mid-Atlantic Region and a good number of them were interested in Greg Smith’s “Six-Month Agile Writing Method,” which was one of the conference themes. Several were also associated with the Richmond group James River Writers, which sponsors its own annual convention. Another AWCon for 2019 is currently in the planning stages.