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I'll be at Chessiecon in Timonium MD this weekend. Here's my schedule--which includes a couple of non-standard panel topics which I should probably, um, think about while wrestling the turkey:

 Friday 
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Unforgivable Villains with Understandable Motives
People are complex. The most interesting characters sometimes do terrible things. How do you write a sympathetic character who is an understandable human despite horrific acts? How do readers respond to characters they can't put in the "good guy" or "bad guy" box or to those who belong firmly in both? How does this translate to how people respond to imperfect people in the real world?
Ruthanna Emrys,  Heather Rose Jones,  Karen Osborne,  Don Sakers (M),  Martin Wilsey
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      The Effect of Catastrophic Events on Literature
There are many examples of stories influenced by (or existing because of) real world events, from a catastrophic flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh, to Japan's post-World War II imagery in animation, to rock musicals about the AIDS epidemic. How do major events shape the stories we tell for years to come?
Linda Adams,  Ruthanna Emrys,  Sarah Pinsker,  Don Sakers (M),  Jo Walton

Saturday
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Rules of Writing, and When to Break Them
Show, don't tell. Active rather than passive. Use energetic verbs instead of adverbs. These, among many others, are rules of writing that get beaten into us from day one. But are they immutable? Are they being used as intended or have they been misunderstood? When should we resist the temptation to bend the rules, and when should we modify them or even toss them out the window?
Harrison Demchick,  Ruthanna Emrys,  Steve Kozeniewski (M),  Sarah Pinsker,  Jo Walton
Sunday
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM      Reading: Ruthanna Emrys

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