Tag Archive for conventions

Why I Talked to Word Sluts at WorldCon

I found myself in a number of conversations at WorldCon where persons were seeking my advice or thoughts on their writing, or seeking advice of a group in which I sat, and would say some variation on:

“People seem to have a problem with me calling it Warrior Wanda the Space Slut.  But I mean slut in a positive or ironic way, because she is a powerful woman so she can have sex with whoever she likes.”


“I have a pretty graphic rape scene in my novel, but if I didn’t have it she wouldn’t have that motivation to get stronger from it and learn to fight that is so important in my story.”

These persons were clearly seeking someone to say, yes, that is okay.

And I engaged in these conversations in a calm, friendly, positive way.


Because I have the privilege to do so.

By this, I do not mean the honor, though really it is an honor to be asked my opinion on anything.  Rather, I mean that had such questions been asked of someone who identifies as female, for example, such questions would have been understandably offensive and anger-inducing, and made the person feel unsafe, along with a host of other reactions.

I’m not saying I found the questions pleasant and encouraging, but I recognize that my con experience as a cis white male who presents as het is entirely different from that of anyone who is other than that.

So while I cringed internally, I did not walk away, or mock these persons then, or later with my friends.   I gave them a clear but disgust-free expression of “Oooooo, I wouldn’t do that,” and proceeded to lay out in positive terms how they could improve their stories, and their chances of reaching a broader audience.

Here is an example of the types of thing I try to say in these cases, with the goal not being to score points or put him in his place, but to help guide the writer in the right direction where they will hopefully learn for themselves in time what cannot be forced into their understanding in a single argument (And to be clear, I am not in any way saying there are not other approaches, or that outright anger is in any way not a valid response for others to have):

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The Benefits of a Con Where Few People Came

Rustycon 2016 lights out

When the lights went out in the room due to the lack of bodies, we had to laugh.


I was a panelist at Rustycon this weekend, a lovely small local con run by very dedicated and passionate volunteers.   Unfortunately, several factors led to smaller than expected turnout — horrible Friday weather and traffic, every other person in the State apparently having the flu, and a Seahawks game on Sunday among them.  As a result, my panels all had two to five attendees.  The Guest of Honor’s had maybe fifteen.   I was lucky enough to have a handful of people at my reading, but several writers had nobody show.

I’m glad I went.

Like a lot of people, I’ve been crazy busy of late, essentially three-full-time-jobs level busy.  So there are those who might question whether a con where only a handful of people attended my panels might be seen as a “waste of time.”

But here’s why I don’t feel it was:

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Con Jobs January Edition

I’ll be teaching a 90 minute workshop at Radcon in February, and before that on a number of panels at Rustycon at the end of January!  Come hang out with me and exchange thoughts on the joys and challenges of writing.  There are limited seats for the workshop, but both the workshop and of course the panels are free if you’re registered for the relevant convention.


The Goonies look on in amazement as Randy reads from his novel



Friday, February 5, 2016, 1:30 pm

This “kitchen sink” presentation will cover everything from beginning writer mistakes to advanced plotting techniques, and the common evolutionary stages many writers go through from aspiring writer to published pro. Whatever stage you are at, you will hopefully learn something to help you level up as a writer. With handouts! And exercises! But not the sweaty kind of exercises.

Note that this is just one part of an all day writing workshop with additional classes by Cory Skerry (Writing In and About a Diverse World) and Jennifer Brozek (Planning a Book Series).

To Register: http://www.foolscap.org/workshops/



What I Would Have Liked to Know? (Fri Jan 15 4:00 PM)

Tips from pros. What we really would have liked to know when we started out. Things that we would have liked to have someone tell us 30 years that would have made a world of difference to where we are now.

Elizabeth Guizzetti Jeremy Zimmerman Kelli Stasi, Randy Henderson

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Author Fest 2015 at Powell’s

Finn Fancy Force-omancy

This IS the book you’re looking for!

Was part of Author Fest on Sunday at Powell’s Books in Cedar Hills, and enjoyed seeing so many friends and great writers, as well as Portland folks who’d bought my book or been to my Powell’s reading, and lots of new readers.  It was, all in all, a decent turn out and an enjoyable 2 hours.

Additional pictures after the jump.  Authors included:

Annie Bellet, Alma Alexander, Devon Monk, Barb & J. C. Hendee, Mark Ferrari, Shannon Page, Brent Weeks, Claude Lalumiere, Camille Alexa, Wendy Wagner, David Levine, Mike Moscoe/Shepherd, Jason Hough, Ken Scholes, J. A. Pitts, Patrick Swenson, Leah Cutter, Blaze Ward, Tina Connolly, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Annie Bellet, Fonda Lee, Jason Gurley, Kristi Charish, Laura Ann Gilman, Randy Henderson, Django Wexler, and Jennifer Brozek.

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Randy’s Awesome Worldcon / Sasquan Schedule

Hey gang!  If you’re going to be at Worldcon / Sasquan, please come visit me at my panels, reading, and/or kaffee klatche!  


The Goonies look on in amazement as Randy reads from his novel


Sasquan 2015

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My Norwescon Schedule 2015

Hey all!  I’ll be at Norwescon this weekend, hope to see you there!

Here’s my scheduled events (not including individual workshops):


Cascade 1
Saturday 1:30pm–2:00pm

“Finn Fancy” Fun Time with Randy – Randy will read a bit from his new novel from TOR, titled FINN FANCY NECROMANCY, do a little dance (Q&A), make a little love (PRIZES!), and get down tonight (TREATS!). Finn Fancy is a dark and quirky contemporary fantasy set in Port Townsend, with sasquatch mercenaries, mobster gnomes, and more. Randy might also read something new, demonstrate miraculous powers, or at least juggle. It’s not just a reading, it’s Finn Fancy Fantastic Fun Time!. Rated PG


Panel: Character Arc, Plot Arc, Story

Evergreen 1&2
Saturday 5:00PM-6:00PM

Knowing how your plot and characters change as the tale moves forward helps a writer to craft more powerful stories. What makes a great character arc, and how can you make your character’s internal change more compelling? What makes a great plot arc and how can you intertwine it with your character?

Nina Post (M), Randy Henderson, Craig English, Nancy Kress, Alex C. Renwick, Susan DeFreitas


Creating Vivid Characters Podcast

Adventures in Scifi Publishing captured and posted a podcast of the panel at Chicago Worldcon 2012.

Vivid Character Building
How do you create vivid characters who pop off the page? How do you avoid archetypes/stereotypes and predictability? Join a panel of writers discussing their techniques and tricks and ask questions of your own.
Carol BergTeresa Frohock, Randy Henderson, Kay KenyonBryan Thomas Schmidt

Listening to it, you can tell I was running on caffeine and more caffeine by this point in the con, but all the panelists were great, and there’s some useful tips and info on creating characters.



My Totally Awesome WorldCon / Chicon 7 Schedule

If you’re going to be at Worldcon 2012/ Chicon 7 in Chicago, I hope you’ll drop by, bask in my radiance and wisdom (or at least the delicious scent of my new shampoo), and share a few laughs with me.

FRIDAY Aug 31:

4:30:pm – 5:00:pm READING: FINN FANCY NECROMANCY PANTS by Randy Henderson

It’s Dresden Files meets Arrested Development with an 80’s flavor.  There will be totally awesome 80’s door prizes given away.

In the Dusable room.



The Goonies look on in amazement as Randy reads from his novel


10:30:am- 11:00:am WRITER UNDER GLASS: I’ll be sitting in the Fan Lounge for 30 minutes writing part of a collaborative story as part of an ongoing stunt.  Whatever I write will be displayed on a monitor for all to see.

In the Fan Lounge.



How do you create vivid characters who pop off the page? How do you avoid archetypes/stereotypes and predictability? Join a panel of writers discussing their techniques and tricks and ask questions of your own.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt Carol Berg Kay Kenyon Randy Henderson Teresa Frohock

In the Columbus CD room.



12:00:pm- 1:30:pm  KAFFEEKLATSCHE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BE A PUBLISHED WRITER with Randy Henderson.  I’ll be running through my workshop presentation “Evolution of a Writer in Six Stages”, offering exercises, answering questions, and chatting about whatever you want to chat about.

In Kaffeeklatsche 3



Totally Awesome Reading and Prizes at Norwescon Friday April 6 at 5pm

Please come check out my reading at Norwescon on
Friday, April 6th at 5pm (Cascade 1 room).


The Goonies look on in amazement as Randy reads from his novel

I will be reading from my current novel project, a humorous urban fantasy currently titled “The Family Wizness” — it’s like Dresden Files meets Arrested Development.  It is amazingly twice as awesome as it sounds, and at half the calories!


Pee Wee DollBecause my novel includes a number of 80’s references and jokes, I will also be giving away a bunch of little prizes, bits of genuine, made in the 80’s nostalgia and cheesiness.  I’m really happy with the  items I managed to find and it will be hard for me to let this stuff go.  So I hope you come and join the fun.