I have a lot to say…. 3+ blog posts worth of stuff.
Just over a week ago, I was in Austin, Texas, at the Fiction Unboxed World Building Summit. It was hard for me to describe to people what I was doing ahead of time because I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. Would it be more like a workshop? Instructional? Like a retreat? Impossible to say. This was the first time the guys (from Sterling & Stone) were running the event, too, so there wasn’t very much specific info ahead of time.
The whole weekend ended up being more like a mastermind group (read: amazing) than anything else and I loved it so much!
But not just me — the other attendees are putting out their own videos and social media posts. In fact, Garrett recorded a TON of video and will actually be putting together some kind of documentary in the coming months/year. I cannot wait to see it all, but here’s some little peeks:
- Garrett on collaboration and world building
- Monica on the Summit (part 1)
- Monica on the Summit (part 2)
One other quick aside before I share photos …. now that I am making more friends with writers, I am (once again) finding myself the only person who has a proper camera. The only person who makes an effort to document. It’s so funny to be in both this scrapbooking, memory keeping world AND this totally different fiction world. I think from the whole weekend there is only 3 photos that I am in (other than mirror selfies in my room) and I think only 1 of those is flattering. Oh well.
We stayed at the Renaissance Arboretum Hotel in Austin. Well, technically suburbs of Austin. But there was plenty of food (and ice cream!) within walking distance so it ended up working out perfectly.
Friday night was totally casual. No agenda, nowhere to be. But I got to the hotel ~6pm, checked in and some of the guys were just hanging out in the lobby bar. We ended up sitting around talking, drinking and just getting to know each other until about midnight. Yea. Look at me being all social
Sean and Johnny left for a couple hours in the middle to say goodnight to their kids, but otherwise it was Friday night social hour.
Saturday morning the officially official weekend began — 9am. We met in a small conference room off of the center atrium-area with a little coffee shop right nearby. The door to our conference room (Colorado room) is one of the open doors on the bottom-left of this photo:
Saturday was … mentally exhausting. About 4 hours of world brainstorming, lunch, and then another 4 hours of brainstorming. We talked about marketing and plans for the coming year, as well as huge backstory ideas to flesh out the world. I was SO tired by the end of it.
Saturday night we went to dinner with Sean and Johnny’s families. At one of those Brazilian restaurants with swords of meat carried around? Yea. AMAZING.
Only problem is Dave only eats chicken … and won’t eat from a salad bar. He had a rough time food-wise. But he also sat next to Sean’s super-happy, adventurous, enthusiastic 12-year-old daughter, so I think he enjoyed himself despite the food.
I laughed so hard! There were 14 of us at the table. I’m fairly certain we were WAY too loud for that restaurant.
Sunday morning bright and early at 9am again. Only this time without Matt who had to go home for a family emergency. We *definitely* missed him. It breaks my heart that he had to miss half of the weekend.
Sunday itself was more productive in terms of world details that actually help MY personal story. I don’t know if that is why, or if I was just used to it, but Sunday was not nearly as mentally exhausting as the day before.
Still a lot of laughing though …
We put together the map of Alterra (essentially alt-Britain). My story will take place in alt-Wales, a little bit south of that red island you see in this image:
We talked about characters and fashion and steampunk weapons and rules for the whole world. Since there are so many writers interested in writing in the world, we are responsible for putting together the basic architecture so they can.
Lunch on Sunday — more laughing, teasing Dave and our only group photo. I told Sean I need the next event to be in a garden with full shade at mid-day so the photos will all be prettier
I think everyone was so happy by the end of the weekend. I can’t speak for all the attendees, but the whole experience exceeded my expectations so much.
Any questions about my weekend?
(more posts to come)