All posts by commsadmin

The First WisCon Dinner — seeking leaders and diners!

WisCon Chairs

We’re looking for people who have been to a few WisCons already to lead a group for the First WisCon dinner — is that you? We already have a few, but we need at least two more! If you’re interested, please email and we’ll put you in touch with the First WisCon Dinner coordinator — and yes, leading a group is volunteer time that can count toward eligibility for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee!

The First WisCon Dinner is our effort to welcome new attendees, share hints of what not to miss, and dispel the misperception that everyone at WisCon already knows each other. Everyone — whether it’s your first, fifth, or fifteenth WisCon — is invited to meet right outside the doors of the 2nd floor Wisconsin ballroom after the end of the first panels (between 5:15 and 5:30 pm) on Friday. We’ll organize ourselves into groups small enough to allow conversation, then each group will head to a different local restaurant chosen to suit dining preferences and your budget. Over dinner, we’ll all get to know each other and WisCon veterans will share memories and advice with new arrivals!

It’s a wonderful way to spend the first evening of the convention.

Updates on — Registration & Childcare, Dessert Salon tickets, and hotel cancellation policy

WisCon is less than two weeks away!  Here are some updates and upcoming deadlines you’ll want to know about as Memorial Day weekend draws ever nearer.

Pre-con registration closes Monday, May 15 (11:59pm Central Time)

Want to make sure you have a pre-printed badge waiting for you at the convention?  Online registration is still open!  You can pay right away via PayPal.

Did you know you can register now online and then pay in person at the Registration Desk?  You can!  This is a good option if you want to ensure that you’re registered and have a printed badge, but would rather pay in cash.

We do cap membership at 1,000, and we make no guarantees that memberships will be available at the door, but this year chances look pretty good for at-the-door memberships.

WisCon's registration desk, staffed by 2 volunteers
The Registration Desk at WisCon 40, staffed by the friendly Sheree (left) and Lenore (right).

Single-day memberships

Want to try out WisCon without committing to a full membership?  In town for only a day?  We offer — for purchase at the door only! — single-day memberships at the following rates:

  • Friday: $0
  • Saturday: $25
  • Sunday: $25
  • Monday: $0

Yes, Friday and Monday are FREE!


WisCon offers Childcare at a cost of only $1 for children ages 0-6 — but you do need to register them in advance!  Childcare registration closes on Monday, May 15, along with online registration.  You can register your child for Childcare by logging into your WisCon account and using the registration system.

Dessert Salon tickets

The Dessert Salon is capped at 400 tickets, and we have sold out!  If you’d like to be added to the wait list, please email:

Hotel cancellation policy

Huge news for reservations at the Concourse hotel — we now have a 24-hour cancellation policy!  Our room block with the Concourse used to come with a full week cancellation policy, but that’s been changed starting this year.  If you need to cancel your Concourse reservation, you can now do so with only 24 hours’ notice before your reservation begins.  If you wait too long to cancel your reservation, you will incur a cancellation fee.

If you need to reach the Concourse, call: 1-800-356-8293

If you have questions for our hotel liaisons, email:

See you soon!!  🙂

Sign up for the WisCon 41 SignOut!


Interested in registering for a spot at the SignOut this year? Afraid you missed the deadline? We were changing the SignOut registration process this spring and so it was closed for awhile — but there is still time to sign up!

a table tent at the SignOut
You, too, can have a spot at the SignOut to chat with your fans and sign autographs!

What’s the SignOut? It’s a signing party and WisCon farewell rolled into one! Writers (and other creators!) and those who love them will gather together at mid-day on Monday to sign and get signatures, to thank and praise and schmooze one last time before we fly away for another year.

If you would like to be a signer, please complete this registration form. The deadline for registering before the convention is Monday, May 15 (at, as always, 11:59pm Central Time). If you miss the sign-up deadline, contact us via to see if spaces are still available!

Are you looking at this on the Sunday of WisCon and you realize you want to participate? Come to the SignOut info table at least 20 minutes before it starts and we’ll set you up!

folks mingling in the SignOut room
The SignOut at WisCon 40 winds down.

WisCon 41 Gaming Update

SarahTops & Phredd

WisCon’s Gaming Department is gearing up for an awesome con!  Here’s what we have in store for gamers and the gaming-curious.

pile of board games
The Gaming table at the WisCon 40 Gathering.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, WisCon will offer role-playing, storytelling, and board gaming.

Our Open Gaming Space will be open each evening from 8pm to 12am in the second floor lobby in front of the Dealers’ Room doors. We will teach and play a variety of modern games open to casual drop-in players. Most games will be suitable in theme and content for players of a variety of ages from children on up. New players are welcome and encouraged to join us! This year, we are excited to share new additions of Braille-marked accessibility kits to our collection, for the popular Pandemic and 7 Wonders board games, as well as a Braille RPG dice set that can be loaned out for scheduled (or impromptu) role-playing games.  We welcome you to bring games to share with fellow attendees, or to choose a game from our collection to play.

Reserving Seats

WisCon 40 Gaming sign
The Gaming sign-up / notice board at WisCon 40.

Reserve a seat to ensure a spot in one of our scheduled games! Reservations are not required, but they are recommended, especially for role-playing and storytelling games. New this year, we have more than one schedule LARP (Live Action Role-Playing game), and spaces for those may fill quickly! Reserve a seat today by emailing us at At the con, a board outside of the Dealers’ Room will feature that evening’s featured games along with sign-up space, or you can sign up at the Gaming table at the Gathering on Friday. Throughout the weekend, we will advertise games that are looking for players, so stay alert for posters, tweets, and whispers.

Scheduled Games at WC41


  • RPG
  • Friday, 8pm-12am
  • Conference 3

Support is a role-playing game about breasts and the roles they play in our lives! This game is designed for anyone whose breasts have ever impacted their lives. It is suitable for all genders and gender expressions. It is not a sexual game by nature, although it may include sex. The game focuses on the inner lives of people who find that their breasts impact them in myriad ways.

Strange Gravity

  • LARP
  • Friday, 8pm-12am
  • Conference 4

Strange Gravity is a live-action role-playing game (LARP) about a crew of daring spacefarers hurtling through the infinite void, searching for something more. This game is Star Trek meets Firefly, where YOU play the stoic pilot or kindly engineer. In Strange Gravity, players work together to tell a compelling story about the lives, loves, and tragedies aboard one small starship. Play starts with a workshop to learn how to improvise and work as a team, followed by acting out a thrilling episode of our own original dramatic sci-fi TV show. No experience with LARP is necessary to play, and newcomers are enthusiastically welcome!

Dr. Suess

This board game (on Saturday’s gaming schedule) has, sadly, been cancelled.  We’re so sorry!


  • Card Game
  • Saturday, 10pm-12am

Trekkies, welcome! Fizzbin is the game Captain Kirk was playing in the original Star Trek series. The game is played with a single deck of cards, and the rules change with each hand. Fizzbin can get loud and silly, so be on Yellow Alert!

The Last Seder

  • LARP
  • Saturday, 8pm-12am
  • Room 629

The world is in turmoil. The waters are rising. Food is scarce. But still the traditions live on. At the home of a controversial figure, thirteen friends gather to share a meal, to drink some wine, and to recall the story of the Exodus. Expecting the police at any time, the friends will spend their last few hours of freedom together, retelling the past and discussing the future. A science fiction parable set in a dark version of the present day, The Last Seder is an interactive storytelling game with echoes to the tales of the Exodus and the Last Supper. Live the myth as it is made by playing out a series of scenes across the ages.

WisCon 41 — Announcing our Art Show Artists

Art Show

We are very excited to announce the artists in WisCon 41’s Art Show.  This year’s show will feature 38 artists, 13 of whom are new to the WisCon Art Show! (* = new)

Clara Abnet-Holden: Drawing and painting

Stacie Arellano: Illustration and comics

*Jon Arfstrom: Painting

Lisa Bergin: Felted sculpture/fiber art

Susan Simensky Bietila: Political illustration and buttons

*Sophia Brueckner: Multimedia/interactive sculpture

J.J. Brutsman: Fiber art monsters

Katie Clapham: Photography

Tahlia Day: Watercolor/mixed media painting

Meredith Dillman: Painting and illustration

*Anna Dudda: Handmade scarves

*Jack Rowan Rose Evans: Drawing, painting, illustration

Rhea Ewing: Illustration and comics

K.J. Forest: Photography

Geek Calligraphy: Calligraphy and prints

Erika Hammerschmidt: Jewelry

*Elizabeth Frohn Hengst: Mixed media art

*Kathie Huddleston: Fused glass jewelry and sculpture

Ingrid Kallick: Painting and illustration

Theo Nicole Lorenz: Coloring books and illustration

Jennifer Neises: Polymer clay sculpture and jewelry

*Brigid Nelson: Handmade totes and purses

*Ariana Olsen: Painting

Katherine Olson: Jewelry and photography

David Lee Pancake: Illustration and sculpture

Mary Prince: Mixed media sculpture and painting

*Jana Pullman: Fine bookbinding and boxes

April Robinson: Drawing and painting

*Mark Roland: Fantasy art, painting, printmaking

*Sad Chimera Princess: Illustration and comics

Samhain Press: Illustration, book sculpture, jewelry

Nevenah Smith: Etched glass and glass sculpture

Lisa Snellings: Poppet sculptures and prints

Heather Tatarek: Painting and handmade journals

*Kat Weaver: Illustration

Alex Wells: Art dolls

Claire Whitmore: Illustration

*Yara Charms: Jewelry

And an informational exhibit on Susan Wood, a feminist SF fan writer and critic, who was GoH (with Vonda McIntyre) at WisCon 2.

The WisCon 41 schedule — Hot off the presses!



The schedule for WisCon 41 is now live online for everyone to view!

(Note: The WisSched app has not yet updated. We’ll let you know when it’s ready!)

Want a more manageable view of the schedule? Did you know that if you click around on the options at the top of the schedule grid you can change the view and even filter to different programming types? To change the view, at the top look for Display — then try out the Schedule, List, and Grid options. Want to just see what all the panels are? At the top of the page, look for the (multi-colored) labels marked Gathering, Parties, and so forth. For panels, click Program — et voila!

And they aggregate, too, so if you want a List view of all the Parties and Games, you can do that! To aggregate, select your preferred view, then click on the various programming tracks buttons to add those filters.

There’s a search, too, which will search across programming titles and descriptions (but not panelists).

Are you part of a programming item and have a question for us? For the fastest response, please contact the team for your specific type of programming directly:

  • Panels:
  • Academic:
  • The Gathering:
  • Gaming:
  • Parties:
  • Readings:
  • Workshops:

In the next few days, we’ll be having blog posts to showcase details of other aspects of WisCon, from the Art Show to Gaming to the Dealers’ Room. Stay tuned!

Discounted rooms on the 6th floor available for WisCon 41

Jess Adams

WisCon is pleased to offer a limited number of discounted rooms on the sixth floor of the Concourse Hotel.  Because there are so few discounted rooms available — this year we have 6 — we’re offering them via a lottery.

The discount applies to specific rooms (all of them are double rooms with 2 queen beds) on the sixth floor of the Concourse.  This is the floor where many parties happen in the evening and also where the safer spaces and the Con Suite are.  This means that there’s more noise generated by foot traffic, elevators, and so on. If you are someone who needs a very quiet room with not many people passing by at all hours, then the discounted rooms may not be a good fit for you.

How can you enter the lottery for a room?

We are accepting requests April 10-20 (closing at 11:59pm Central Time). After the request window closes, we will get in touch to let you know if your request is filled.

To request to be entered into the drawing for a discount, send an email to, with the subject line: ROOM RATE DISCOUNT.  Include the following details:

  • The name your reservation will be under
  • Your arrival and departure dates
  • The number of people in your party
  • Any accessibility needs you have.
  • The best email address to contact you.

See you at WisCon!

Calling all teens and friends of teens!

WisCon 41 Chairs

Did you know we have a teen room at WisCon that features a combination of programs and space to relax just for teens?

It’s true! And we’re back and better than ever this year, in Rooms 606 & 607. We have a lot of great things in the works, including a special writers’s workshop, Magic the Gathering (with coaching available for newer Magic players!), video games, movies, and plenty of time to hang out or to head to other panels and programs.

We want to get the word out now, before the convention starts, because we want you to help us make our Teen Programs even better.

If you are a teen (or you know teens) and you have ideas, let us know, and we can make your ideas happen this year!

Have you come to our teen room during past WisCons? We would love to know what you thought about it, so we can make sure the stuff that works and is fun keeps happening — and that we stop bothering with the stuff that doesn’t work or isn’t worthwhile.

It’s important to us that Teen Programming reflects the ideas and serves the needs of the people who take part, just like the rest of WisCon’s programming. That means your voice is important, and so is your presence! In other words, we’re also looking for teen volunteers. Like most of the volunteer roles at WisCon, you don’t need to be local to Madison, and volunteers who put in at least six hours are eligible for a 40% rebate on their membership cost. And teen membership is only $20 for the entire convention to start with, so bring your friends and come help shape Teen Programming and the teen room into the future!

We’re planning to have a small library of used teen books available for the taking, DVDs to watch, PS3 and Xbox games — and we welcome donations. We’ll also be ready to label games or DVDs if you are willing to loan them, so you’ll get them back at the end of the convention!

Let us know if you have ideas, opinions, donations, things you can loan us — or if you’d like to volunteer — by emailing us at

WisCon Workshops Special Events

Marianne Kirby

This year, WisCon Workshops is really excited to offer a couple of very special events. (Well, ALL of our offerings are special. But you know what we mean.)

These events don’t require participants to sign up ahead of time, so drop in and hang out with us as it works for your schedule!

Got a suggestion for a special event you’d like to see next year? Email any time.

Teen Writing Workshop

Offered in collaboration with Teen Programming, this year we will be offering a chance for teen writers to respond to prompts and share their work with each other. This session will be facilitated in cooperation with teens – by them and for them. Are you a teen writer? Email if you’d like to be involved in the planning of this event!

Open Writing Salon

  • Friday, 8-10pm
  • Saturday, 9-11am
  • Saturday, 8-10pm — With drive-by drabbling!
  • Sunday, 9-11am — With drive-by drabbling!
  • Sunday, 8-10pm — With drive-by drabbling!

Looking for a quiet place to get some words on the page? Join us every morning and evening from Friday night to Sunday night for an opportunity to share space with other writers. Catch up on email, work on a short story, join in on our WisCon Fan Fic Drabble Challenge — this time and space will be dedicated to taking some time to channel all of that awesome WisCon energy into words. (If other creative folks want to slip in during Salon hours, you’ll be welcome, too.)

WisCon Workshops Participant Mixer — Friday, 12-4pm

In place of the usual post-critique after party, this year we’ll be hosting a mixer event for everyone who has plans to participate in the WisCon Workshops offerings. Get to know your fellow writers, network with artists, and enjoy some light refreshments. Continue conversations from the critique sessions and start new ones about your favorite projects. Come and mingle with us! More information to come.

WisCon Workshops Presents Not Just Writing Sessions

Marianne Kirby

This year, WisCon Workshops is looking to serve more than just our population of writers. We love helping people get words on the page but there are other ways to tell stories, too! That’s why we’re offering the a variety of workshops from handspinning to social media for creative types.

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops offering you’d like to see next year? Email any time!

To sign up for a session

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Email
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time

Sessions offered

Capacity is noted for each session below.

Life Drawing — Saturday, 11am – 1:45pm

Artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to join us for a life drawing session. Clothes are staying on for this one (and a Safety volunteer will be in place to make sure everyone remains comfortable, too). A variety of models, representing a variety of body types, will pose as long as 10 minutes. Bring your favorite materials and make some art! This session will accommodate people according to the room capacity.

Handspinning — Sunday, 2-3:45pm

Attention fiber fans! This session will be an introduction to handspinning with drop spindles for beginners. Intermediate and advanced spinners are very welcome to come help teach if interested. Spinning can be done sitting or standing. Drop spindling requires being able to use two arms/hands and being able to hold your arms in front or to the side of your body. Limited supplies that can be used with a table as support, requiring less arm strength, will also be available. Spindles and spinning fiber will be provided, including both wool and plant-based fiber for those who prefer not to use animals products or who are allergic. Participants will have the option of keeping their spindle. This session will accommodate 15 people so don’t wait to sign up!

How to Social Media for Creative Types — Saturday, 4-5:45pm

Regardless of whether you are a writer or an artist or a performer, social media is an important platform for connecting with your audience. But social media can also be demanding – and there aren’t a lot of resources for navigating it as a professional (or aspiring professional) creative. This session will help people establish a framework for how they want to approach having a relationship with their audience — with an emphasis that one of the approaches can be “I want to put as little work into this as possible so I can spend more time creating!” Avoid the pitfalls of social media; get a plan in place. This session will accommodate 15 people.

How to Moderate Panels Effectively: An Intensive Workshop — Friday, 4-6pm

Sometimes what makes or breaks the value of a panel is the moderation of it. Think of this session as an intense course in steering panels through waters both stormy and way too calm. Using techniques based in pedagogy and classroom management, participants and moderators-to-be will discuss how to help foster discussion, guide a conversation, avoid a runaway panel, and bring more voices into the discussion when it comes time to share the mic. Keeping yourself organized, queuing up comments and questions, and calling on audience members in respectful ways will also be emphasized. This session will accommodate 15 people.

How to Read Tiptree Winners as Models for Resistance — Sunday, 4-5:45pm

Resistance is so vital to our survival right now. Join this session to participate in a discussion of how stories — specifically, Tiptree-winning stories — can serve as a lens for how to enact resistance. Let’s keep each other alive. This session will accommodate 8 people.

WisCon Workshops Presents How To Sessions

Marianne Kirby

Stretch your writing craft skills with these sessions, offered on a first come, first served basis — as with our other special sessions, there’s no guarantee these will be repeated!

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops How To you’d like to see next year? Email any time!

To sign up for a session

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Email
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time

Sessions offered

How to Write Comics with Kelly Sue DeConnick — Saturday, 2-3:45pm

Hey, comic book friends! Have you been looking for a chance to dip your toe into the world of writing specifically for comics? Have you written a little for comics but been hoping for a chance to learn some tips and tricks from someone seriously in the know? WisCon 41 Guest of Honor Kelly Sue DeConnick, Eisner-nominated author of Bitch Planet, Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel, and more, will be leading writers interested in the comics industry through a special two-hour session devoted to the fundamentals of writing for comics. She’ll break down how writing for comics differs from writing prose or from writing for screen or stage. You won’t need to prepare anything ahead of time but do be ready to take some notes and ask some questions. You’ll leave with a greater understanding of how scripting comics works, plus valuable industry insights. However, please keep in mind that this is not a pitch session. Because this is a one-time-ever (unless she decides to come back!) session, 25 participants will be accommodated.

Writing the Other with Nisi Shawl — Saturday, 10am – 12:45pm

During the 1992 Clarion West Writers Workshop attended by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, one of the students expressed the opinion that it is a mistake to write about people of ethnic backgrounds different from your own because you might get it wrong – and so it is better not even to try. This struck Nisi as taking the easy way out and spurred her to write an essay addressing the problem of how to write about characters marked by racial and ethnic differences. In the course of writing the essay, Nisi realized that similar problems arise when writers try to create characters whose gender, sexual preference, and age differ significantly from their own. Nisi and Cynthia collaborated to develop a workshop that addresses these problems with the aim of both increasing writers’ skill and sensitivity in portraying difference in their fiction, as well as allaying their anxieties about “getting it wrong.” In this special session, Nisi will guide writers through a focused, though abbreviated, version of her Writing the Other workshop. This session will accommodate 16 people.

How to Write Video Games — Saturday, 11am – 1:45pm

Last year, Ceri Young walked folks through the basics of creating their own scripts for video games. This year Ceri is back. If you love the feel of a controller in your hand then you’ll want to sign up for this session – not only will Ceri teach you about scripting and pitching a story in the video game world, she’ll review a basic rundown of how games work and how to apply that knowledge to game design. No video game writing experience is required and you’ll hear about anything needed for your session directly from Ceri before the session meets. This session will accommodate 8 people.

How to Write About Mental Health — Sunday, 4-545pm

It’s easy to fall into cliche or paint people with mental health issues as villains when you’re writing. But inaccurate portrayals cause real harm to people living with mental illness. In this session, JoSelle Vanderhooft will take writers through the various pitfalls of writing about mental health – and how to avoid those pitfalls in order to deal honestly and engagingly with mental health as a characteristic.

WisCon Workshops Fan Fic Offerings

Marianne Kirby

WisCon Workshops has been on a quest to expand our offerings — and this year, based on the response at WisCon 40, those offerings include more facilitated sessions for fan fic writers. We’re really excited for these fic sessions and we hope you will be, too. Don’t think a formal session is quite up your alley? Check out the information about our weekend-long Fan Fic Drabble Challenge!

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops offering you’d like to see next year? Email any time!

To sign up for a session

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Email
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time — Note that the “Fan Fic as a Mid-Length Story” session has an earlier deadline!


  • Friday, 9am – noon

The facilitated sessions

  • Each of these fan fic sessions is capped at four participants (unless otherwise noted) plus the facilitator and is first come, first served.

Emily Post Fic Prompts Fest with ladyjax: Part of the fun of fic is putting familiar characters in unfamiliar situations. In this session, Jackie will lead some light writing based around various scenarios presented in Emily Post’s classic etiquette guide. How will your fandom faves fare in these situations? Will they mind their manners or ignore all those rules and face the consequences? This is a generative session – each writer will leave with new work. There is no pre-work required other than signing up by the deadline.

Fan Fic as a Mid-Length Story with Carrie Pruett: Maybe you’re not in the mood to write a multi-chapter fan fic epic, but producing ficlets or drabbles about your favorite characters and universes just doesn’t feel substantial enough to do justice to the story ideas in your head. This session will focus on crafting a mid-length story – roughly 5,000-12,000 words. All fandoms and genres are welcome. Got a “case file” you want the heroes to explore? How about a tale of your favorite characters finally getting together? Do you have an opportunity for your faves to explore an AU? Maybe you have something more experimental. Whether you’re a fic-writing veteran or a fan who has always wanted to give it a try, this session is a chance to craft a new story from the ground up, with the support and feedback of your peers.  NOTE: Because of pre-work, the signup deadline for this session is April 15, 2017.

Porn WITH Plot: Writing Sex Scenes That Tell Your Story with thingswithwings: Porn Without Plot can be awesome, but what about when you want your sex scenes to serve a narrative purpose, too? Join this session to focus on developing well-characterized sex scenes that work toward character and plot development while still being all kinds of hot. This session will accommodate 8 people.

The Drabble Challenge

In addition! This year WisCon Workshops will be hosting a WisCon Fan Fic Drabble Challenge. This will take place over the full course of the weekend, but especially during our Open Writing Salons (more info to come on those). For this challenge, WisCon members are encouraged to write and submit a fanwork drabble of exactly 100 words.

In the fan fic world, the word  “drabble” has at times been applied to a work of any length as long as that length is very short. More traditionally, “drabble” is a term that designates a work of fan fiction that is precisely 100 words long.

For the WisCon Fan Fic Drabble Challenge, we’ll be accepting works of 100 words  from any fandom. These will be collected and included (with permission) in a collection on AO3 (Archive of Our Own). Look for more details during WisCon itself!

The Open Writing Salons

WisCon 41 will also be hosting Open Writing Salons throughout the weekend  for writers of all types — this explicitly includes fan fic writers. Respond to a great panel or party, document one of those classic WisCon Hallway Conversations of Legend, work on those drabbles, and see what happens when you share writing space and let inspiration strike you.