Pitfalls: The Silver Lining

I guess there’s a silver lining to my recent, semi-disastrous presentation on the “Pitfalls of Medieval Fiction Writing.”

Well, first, I guess I shouldn’t really call it a disaster. The audience was successfully entertained despite the multiple A/V failures that unfolded before them. Likewise, I was pleased with the reaction to my content, although I would have clearly preferred to give my talk backed up by all of my slides, rather than totally without them.

Anyway, I recounted my horror story to the attendees of the Saturday Morning Review, which is the weekly writing review session sponsored by the Loudoun County Writer’s Group. It was near the end of the meeting, and we’d already reviewed the week’s writing samples. After commiserating with me about my experience, a few of my fellow writers asked me to elaborate on some of the points that I’d covered in my talk.

As I gave them an overview of some of the pitfalls I’d identified, I was gratified to notice that they were nodding in general agreement with my observations. Finally, one of them said, “I’d really like to see that talk.” The rest of the attendees made it clear that they, also, would be interested in hearing a talk like this.

That’s my silver lining. I discovered that there are, indeed, fellow writers who find my topic interesting.

So. I’ve decided to expand my talk into a full 50-minute presentation, suitable for a convention like Capclave, Balticon, Ravencon, etc. It’s going to take some effort to work that into my schedule, but I think the talk would function nicely for those types of events. When I get the presentation done, I’m planning to present it locally for the benefit of writers in the area, particularly the ones from my writing group.

My tentative plan is to host a free meeting at the Ashburn Bertucci’s sometime this summer. I think Bertucci’s would work nicely, because they have an excellent back room that is free for groups. The event would take the form of either: 1) a late lunch on a Saturday or Sunday (late so as not to conflict with the various 10:00 AM – 12:00 writer’s meetings in the area), or 2) it could BE one of the Loudoun County Writer’s Group workshops.

I’ll use Evite to manage the RSVP’s. I’ll also videotape the meeting. Hopefully, I can also get one of my friends to man the camera for me. Overall, I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

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Total. Audio. Visual. Fail.

I just gave a talk on “The Pitfalls of Medieval Fiction Writing,” covering many of the problems I see in stories, films, and TV shows that feature medieval cultures, whether in a historical setting or transplanted into a fantasy milieu.

Can I say…

Total. Audio. Visual. Fail.

Yes, I believe I can.

The screen showed up, but not the projector. Then my Dell laptop glitched, so no PowerPoint slides. Not even for me, the speaker. So, I gave the talk from memory.

It all worked. Somehow.

Worst A/V debacle I’ve experienced in my seven years of public speaking. (As a conference organizer with more than twelve conferences and dozens of smaller events under my belt, I’ve seen worse failures. This was just the worst that I’ve personally experienced.)

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