Can*Con 2019: Part 2

So, continuing with the writing -related panels I went to at Can*Con this year… (part 1 available here).


Who’s our hero anyway? moderated by K.V. Johansen with Éric Desmarais, Kevin Hearne, and Tanya Huff

This was a really interesting panel about having multiple point-of-view characters, particularly in the context of epic-type books/series. I went to this panel because I have an all-but-finished novel with this situation that I really struggled with (I wanted multiple points of view for various plot reasons, but felt it detracted from who I thought should be the main character).

Anyway, the panel raised some good points about how many is too many characters, how to manage them all, and what purpose in particular they serve (giving the reader different characters to identify with, scenes where the protagonist can’t be, including an antagonist perspective, etc).

Writing and resistance, moderated by Millie Ho with Charlie Jane Anders, Craig DiLouie, Kevin Hearne, and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

This panel discussed whether the participating writers explicitly included politics in their novels or whether the political arose more organically, along with a range of other related ideas (that different genres demonstrate political themes in different ways, the current political situation & the problems that arise with trying to write something dystopian).

Stealing from outside SFF, moderated by Ira Nayman with Marie Bilodeau, Leah Bobet, Lee Harris, Kevin Hearne, and Jay Odjick

This panel was definitely that most fun of any I attended (everyone on the panel was great, but special credit to Marie Bilodeau and Jay Odjick who are both just wonderful).

All of the panelists (and the moderator) gave really thoughtful reflections on their non-SFF influences, ranging from mysteries and thrillers to D&D to film and graphic novels to Masters of the Universe to pro wrestling! There was a strong encouragement to just write your own thing and not worry about boundaries.

Hierarchy and oppression in SFF, moderated by ‘Nathan Burgoine, with Charlie Jane Anders, Terese Mason Pierre, and Elliott Dunstan

This was actually the last panel I attend of the con and, despite it being the end of a busy three days, it was still really compelling and everyone was very into it.

Much of the discussion revolved around how themes of hierarchy and oppression don’t necessarily have to be bleak depending on the characters’ situation. You can have nice people in a horrible setting.

There was also a really good consideration of problematic allegories and how ‘the oppressed’ are represented, and own voices.


I noticed only in writing this up that 3 of these 4 panels had Kevin Hearne on them. It’s a good thing he’s a really interesting guy with good things to contribute!

I’ll write later about rest of the panels (and the other workshop) I attended.

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