Writing Fight Scenes that Matter

David Keener Teaches Writing and Fighting

I ran my latest workshop, “Writing Killer Fight Scenes That Matter,” at Capclave 2018 on September 30. I had a lot of fun and the workshop was well received by the audience (I know this for sure, because I distributed a Workshop Evaluation Form at the end).

At conventions, the workshops are two hours long. The first hour was focused on violence: how people react to violence, different types of fights, gender differences in danger scenarios, and decision making in fights. The exercises were real life scenarios; attendees then had to figure out the best way to survive the situation presented. It was rather eye-opening and shocking for a bunch of them.

In the second half, I described a basic framework for fight scenes. We also discussed how to make fights more realistic, and more plausible, by leveraging the lessons from the first half of the workshop.

All in all, I thought the workshop went well. I look forward to conducting it at other conventions in the future.

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Selling Books at Capclave 2018

Selling Books with Tannhauser Press

I’m standing with Martin Wilsey, the proprietor of Tannhauser Press at Capclave 2018. We had a nicely successful weekend selling books, with seventeen products on sale (and Square for taking credit card payments).

Many thanks to all the people who stopped by our table, and especially to those who bought from us. It was especially gratifying since this was the first time we’ve done a full court press like this for all of the books published under the Tannhauser Press umbrella.

We were successful enough that we’ll be doing more of this in the future.

Capclave Table 2018

OK, by popular demand, I’ve added a couple more photos above. This is me with Lou Lamoureux in one photo and Liz Hayes in the other.

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My Capclave 2018 Schedule

I’m proud to be on Programming for Capclave 2018, the DC area’s best SF/Fantasy literary convention. The event is being held in Rockville, MD from September 28 – 30. Here are the details of my schedule:

Friday

Afternoon Dealer’s Room
Manning the table for Tannhauser Press and the Hourlings.
 

Saturday

10:00 AM Blurred Lines: Writing & Marketing Mixed-Genre Books

Sometimes, the book you want to write doesn’t fit into traditional genre patterns. Sometimes, it fits into ALL the traditional genre patterns. Authors who write books that defy standard shelving paradigms gather to discuss the virtues and pitfalls of genre-bending: finding your audience, marketing through genre-specific channels, generating industry acclaim, finding your niche, and more. Join us as we talk about how it really is okay to write that historical fantasy murder mystery in space!

With: David Keener, Jack Campbell (John G. Hemry), Brenda W. Clough, Andrew Fox (Moderator)

Afternoon Dealer’s Room
Manning the table for Tannhauser Press and the Hourlings.
 

Sunday

10:00 AM Author Table: David Keener & Laura Montgomery
Selling (and signing) books at the designated Author Table.
 
11:00 AM Making the Future Work

What things are necessary to make the future successful? What are the jobs and technology of the future? Which jobs are most likely to go away? Which jobs will stay and what will they look like? What should the underlying infrastructure of your future world look like? For example, what should go into planning for the city of the future.

With: David Keener, David Bartell, Bill Lawhorn (Moderator), Joe Stech

1:00 PM Writing Killer Fight Scenes That Matter (Two-Hour Workshop)

Does your story come to a screeching halt every time there’s a fight scene? Do readers think your fight scenes are…tedious…instead of exciting? How realistic should your fight be? Discover how real people react to violence, and how you can use this information to make your conflict more believable. Learn how to craft fight scenes that engage your readers, advance your plot and reveal character.

With: David Keener

4:00 PM Time Travel Storytelling

A discussion of the cultural implications of time travel. Should an author use appropriate to the time language in their time travel and historical stories, or is it OK to use modern sensibilities? Is it fair to readers to give historical figures beliefs that were never shown in their real life actions?

With: David Keener (Moderator), Doc Coleman, Iver Cooper, Alan Smale

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Balticon Schedule

The Program Schedule for Balticon 51 has just been released. I’m pleased to announce that they’ve selected me for six panels, two of which I’m moderating, and also elected for me to conduct a workshop on Sunday.

My workshop is called: “Is Your Setting Strong Enough to Support a Series?” For those who have taken my previous workshops, it was previously known as “Creating an Adaptive Setting.” I last ran the workshop at Capclave in 2015, so I’m looking forward to conducting it for a whole bunch of new people.

Here’s my Balticon Schedule:

Balticon 51 Schedule for David Keener

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Manassas Reads 2017: A Community Book Festival

Manassas Reads: A Community Book FestivalMy friend, Martin Wilsey, just clued me in that there’s an upcoming community book festival called Manassas Reads. It’s on May 6, 2017, the day after my new anthology, Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders, is going to be published. It’s being held from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Harris Pavilion, located at 9201 Center Street in Manassas, VA.

Now, Marty is basically a marketing guru, and he’s going to be there selling copies of his own books, as well as the new anthology. This might be the first festival that I attend as an author with actual published works. Of course, what I’ll really be doing is learning the fine art of marketing and self promotion from someone who’s refined it to an art.

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Workshop: Build a Space Battle

Workshop: Build a Space Battle While I was at Capclave 2016 this past October, I was asked by Cathy Green, the Vice Chair for Capclave 2017, to contribute a workshop to next year’s convention. As always, I’m gratified to be asked to do these types of things, and even more gratified that people seem to enjoy them.

I’ve done workshops for Capclave before, and each time I try to do something different. Past topics have included:

  • Public Speaking for Writers (2014)
  • Creating an Adaptive Setting (2015)

Capclave is run by the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA). At the WSFA meeting last Friday, I kicked a few workshop ideas past Elizabeth Twitchell, the con Chair for next year. The one we finally settled on was: “Build a Space Battle.”

The concept is that I’m going to provide a basic science fiction scenario. The tasks for the workshop attendees will be to fill in the details until we’ve collectively created a consistent background and timeline for a significant-sized SF space battle (hence the space battle pic at the top of this entry).

I’m looking forward to this. I think it will be a lot of fun for everybody involved.

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Speaking at Capclave 2015

Two reasons to go to Capclave 2015: 1) it’s the best literary SF convention in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and 2) I’ve been invited to run a “Public Speaking for Authors” workshop there again this year.

[Editorial Note: After discussion with the Capclave Program Coordinators, it looks like I’ll instead be giving my new workshop, “Creating an Adaptive Setting,” formerly known by the title, “The Reactive Net.” For more information, click this link.]

Capclave 2015

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Another Lecture Venue

Speaking at Booz Allen Hamilton

My friend and fellow conference organizer, Gray Herter, just sent me a picture he took of me speaking at the DevIgnition Conference at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Newman Auditorium in McLean, VA. This is another of the 37 plus places that I’ve spoken at, although it was a very, very nice venue. There were roughly 150 attendees present at the event.

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My First SF Panel

As a fledgling writer at Capclave 2014, I got to participate in my first panel at an SF convention. My fellow panelists were Paolo Bacigalupi, award-winning writer of The Windup Girl and the Guest of Honor for the convention; D. Douglas Fratz, the moderator for the panel, a writer and a climate scientist in his day job; James Maxey, a fantasy writer; and Max Gladstone, a fantasy writer. The topic of the panel was:

Writing About Climate Change: Climate change is the new nuclear winter. Post-apocalyptic novels used to be set in a post nuclear detonation landscape; now they’re set in environmentally wrecked futures. Most of these books are dystopian and theoretically predictive. Why do authors write the way they write about climate change?

Fellow writer Jennifer Povey was kind enough to “capture the moment” for me:

Writing About Climate Change

Writing About Climate Change: (left to right) Panelists: James Maxey, D. Douglas Fratz (Moderator), Paolo Bacigalupi (Guest of Honor), Max Gladstone and David Keener.

Clearly, I was the junior member of the panel. And Paolo Bacigalupi and D. Douglas Fratz were far and away the most expert on hardcore climate change science and policy. Nevertheless, I think I acquitted myself reasonably well. I was also pleased that my fellow panelists were quite nice and didn’t exhibit any of that bias against self-published writers that I’ve heard others talk about. I had a great time.

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Workshop Attendees at Capclave 2014

Some of the attendees from my workshop, “Public Speaking for Writers,” hard at work on, of all things, a writing assignment (a brief story pitch, which they than had to present to the class). The man in the middle on the far side of the table is Tom Doyle, best-selling writer of American Craftsmen.

You can just FEEL the concentration…

Workshop Attendees: Public Speaking for Writers

The workshop was held at Capclave 2014 in Gaithersburg, MD, in a room aptly called “The Boardroom.”

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