Fiction Unboxed Summit: Photos and video recap

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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:

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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 :)

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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.

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Any questions about my weekend?

(more posts to come)

{ 19 comments… add one }

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  • Anita September 22, 2014 at 4:39 am edit

    Oh, I love this post!
    Thank you for sharing, and thank you for all the awesome pictures you took. That last one really makes me smile from ear to ear 😀

    I can’t wait to hear more about the Summit, and even more, I’m eagerly awaiting the 2.0 World Docs. Did you talk about when they were being released? I understand, that you’re all responsible for a part of the world to flesh out, so did you set any deadlines for when this should be done? Perhaps you’re not allowed to share this information, but I had to ask.

    Thank you once again for sharing your amazing experience with us all.

  • Amy T Schubert September 22, 2014 at 6:32 am edit

    Hi Anita :)

    No, I’m sorry we didn’t talk about when new story docs would be released. I know the guys have new stuff to release, but I suppose it has to wait til it gets all typed up and formatted properly.

    I also know that we are all aiming for March 1 to have our book 1s done, so I assume there will be more story stuff released after that too.


  • Anita September 22, 2014 at 7:30 am edit

    I’ll just have to be patient (although it’s definitely not a virtue of mine) 😉
    Thanks for answering.

  • Monica Leonelle September 22, 2014 at 7:49 am edit

    Anita, my sense is that the world docs won’t be updated for awhile… it just doesn’t make a ton of sense. The world builders have to write their stories and then most of the canon would be pulled from that. I do know that a lot of that has to be done before the colonist summit, which is scheduled for next spring in the late March/early April time period (can’t remember the dates or if they were set in stone).

  • Amy T Schubert September 22, 2014 at 7:53 am edit

    I imagine they’ll release the ‘commandments’?

    But, yes, I’m sure anything that we (me, Monica, Garrett, Matt, Kalvin, Dave) come up with will have to wait til our books are written.

    I’ve mentioned it in tomorrow’s post, but I’m building a Pinterest board as I research/write and I’ll make that public as soon as I feel like I have a good handle on my book/world.

  • E.W. Pierce September 22, 2014 at 6:58 am edit

    Great recap. And your pictures are beautiful!

    I have all kinds of questions, but am content to wait and see what the next posts include. :)

  • Amy T Schubert September 22, 2014 at 7:53 am edit

    thanks :)

  • Stacy Claflin September 22, 2014 at 7:24 am edit

    Thanks so much for sharing, Amy. I really enjoyed the pictures! :) I wish I could have been there am I’m eager to hear more.

  • Monica Leonelle September 22, 2014 at 7:43 am edit

    Aww, I love this. And we are so appreciative of you documenting as well. I know it is a tough job and it always means that you don’t get to be in front of the camera and in the photos. I used to document for my family stuff and they got so annoyed by it for some reason, so in my adult years I stopped subjecting people to my need to scrapbook our lives. Sad, really. I love looking back at some of the scrapbooks I made in high school and I’m so grateful I did all that work, now.

    I finally told Patrick about the summit yesterday (he was out of town right after I got back on Tuesday) and we want to go back to Austin next spring just to hang out. I seriously love that city! And I agree that the suburb area was cool and served our purposes, but man do I love the downtown.

  • Amy T Schubert September 22, 2014 at 7:49 am edit

    Monica! I love that you used to scrapbook :) That’s actually one of the reasons I love my big fancy camera, even just for snapshots — because I can use it w/o a flash and bother people less.

    I told Andrew he needs to come to Austin in the spring if I go to the summit :)

    We have a friend that lives there that we can stay with, Andrew can hang out with him all day and just take me to the summit and pick me up later. And (obviously) come to dinner with everyone Sat night so I can show off how awesome he is :)

  • Cathy Pelham September 22, 2014 at 8:35 am edit

    Hey Amy- Wonderful job of documenting- you are a very talented photographer.

    I laughed when I read alt-Wales. My original anthology short has become the first third of a novel, taking place in the area you identified, and the red dot. I hope to have the draft completed during NaNoWriMo.

    Thanks for the post. looking forward to the next two.

  • Amy T Schubert September 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm edit

    that red island is Joffrey Columns. Hope it doesn’t change your story too much!

  • Cathy Pelham September 24, 2014 at 4:36 am edit

    Nope- Joffrey is what I needed, and the location could not be any more perfect. Thanks Amy.

  • Jamie Maltman September 22, 2014 at 9:53 am edit

    Awesome as usual, Amy. :)

  • Hector Elias September 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm edit

    This is so amazing! I feel so sad that I missed the opportunity to go. It will kill me forever!
    Thank you so much for sharing this, I can’t wait till we hear more from the summit.

  • Patrick Stemp September 22, 2014 at 7:05 pm edit

    Fantastic updates, thanks so much for sharing. As my kids would say, I’m jelly! It’s so weird to see Johnny without his hat on after watching oodles of SPP and BOU where he always covers up.

    Did anyone show up in socks and sandals and give Dave a big, uncomfortably long hug?

  • Amy T Schubert September 23, 2014 at 7:08 am edit

    haha! Actually Garrett showed up in open-toed sandals and claims he doesn’t own proper shoes.

    And, Dave was surprisingly forthcoming about hugs. But, I’m a woman, so that might have something do with it :)

  • Mgon September 23, 2014 at 12:35 am edit

    I really enjoyed this. Thank you for taking the time to share. And thanks for all the great photos; they really helped capture the feel of the event, and give us a sense of how great it was. :-)

  • Kristin | My Life as a Teacup September 26, 2014 at 4:43 am edit

    This sounds like the coolest thing and I can’t wait to hear more about it! (Plus, judging by those photos, it looks like everyone had a BLAST!)


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