My 2021 Memorial Day weekend was not spent at barbecues and outdoor concerts as many previous holidays have been. This one was spent largely online in Zoom rooms listening to SFF writers discuss their craft and the genre – Balticon55. Not a bad thing, especially considering the weather. (It was cold and rainy in my neck of the woods.)

This was my first Balticon, and I have to say I was impressed. Con sponsor Baltimore Science Fiction Society pulled together a full four days of interesting and informative opportunities to steep oneself in the world of science fiction and fantasy and the art of SFF storytelling. When I say a full four days, there were so many sessions available it was sometimes difficult to make a choice. It was a veritable scifi and fantasy fiction smorgasbord! As an aspiring author, however, I decided to stick to the basics.

There certainly was plenty of the meat and potatoes to be had at Balticon55. I attended panel discussions on character development before and while writing, plotting, structure, characters with agency, maintaining tension, and how to incorporate critique. I also learned about fantasy beasts, cyberpunk, online fandom, and writing characters from marginalized populations. The panelists the BSFS attracted were a great group of authors from across the country and across the globe. One panelist participated from New Zealand where it was 3 am at the time of our session!

Overall, it was an extremely enjoyable and beneficial convention. Hats off to all who worked so hard to make Balticon55 a success. I look forward to attending a future Balticon in person.

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