Wiscon’s 2nd Annual Drabble Challenge!

THAT’S RIGHT. IT’S BACK!

It’s time for the Second Annual WisCon Drabble Challenge!  Last year, we opened the Drabble Challenge to all WisCon Members, and this year we’re starting a new collection!  What the heck does this mean? How can you participate? I’m glad you asked!

In the fanfic world, the word “drabble” has at times been applied to a work of any length, provided it is very short. More traditionally, “drabble” is a term that designates a work of fanfiction that is precisely 100 words long. [See Fanlore: https://fanlore.org/wiki/Drabble ].

For the WisCon FanFic Drabble Challenge, we accept works that are 100-250 words long, from any fandom. (Though, the challenge would be to create a work that’s exactly 100 words long – bonus points toward your No Prize if you can manage this!) These will be collected and included in a collection on the Archive of Our Own.

Eligible works will be those that meet the following parameters:

  • Fanfiction based in any fandom
  • 100 – 250 words
    • You may also have a title that’s up to 15 words long
  • Written during WisCon weekend
    • The challenge is open from Friday through close of con on Monday

Works can be submitted directly through AO3:

Works can also be submitted to moderator Jess Adams by email at drabbles@wiscon.net.

If submitting by email, be sure to include:

  • Your name OR desired pseudonym
  • A means of contact (email address, twitter handle, etc)
  • Name of fandom work is under
  • Ratings and relevant warnings (If necessary, the moderator will apply a rating/warning.)

Easier Choices: Opening Ceremonies!

So sometimes we can be a little slow to notice obvious solutions. It happens when you are 42, okay?

Over the past few years, a lot of folks coming to WisCon for the first time had a choice to make:

  • Attend Opening Ceremonies, which we strongly recommend to anyone who is new, since you learn all about the convention there!

OR

  • Attend the First Timers’ Dinner, which we strongly recommend to anyone who is new, since you learn all about the convention there!

BECAUSE

…those two things happened at the same time.

No more! Opening Ceremonies was once a combination of entertainments and information, but as more and more of our members found themselves being pulled in different directions Friday evening, we found that the core purposes were to emphasize our policies and to invite the Tiptree Motherboard to crown this year’s winner. In fact, the last several years, that’s been the whole of Opening Ceremonies.

This year, we believe we have found a better way: we’ve combined the Opening Ceremonies with the Gathering. In practice, that means that we’ll be talking with people about WisCon, our policies, and tips & tricks to get the most out of your convention at the Gathering itself! We’ll have folks answering questions and welcoming you at the table with the coffee, tea, and punch. You know, the place at the Gathering that everyone visits!

The Gathering activities will wrap up around 3:50pm, and we’ll close the Gathering and open WisCon 42 by paying tribute to the late Ursula K Le Guin, and then crowning the winner of the Tiptree Award! (Then cake on the sixth floor, but that’s a different topic.)

Voila! Now you can attend both the Opening Ceremonies AND the First WisCon Dinner — or the POC Dinner — or just dinner with your pals — without strife!

If only we could solve all of WisCon’s schedule conflicts so easily…

WisCon’s Thursday Night Shuttle

TL;DR: 4:30pm to 8:00pm Accessible Shuttle to and from Room of One’s Own!

WisCon is just days away, and we’re darned excited to see you all! For those of you who will be in Madison on Thursday night, we kick off the long weekend with an intimate reception and reading at Room of One’s Own Bookstore with our Guests of Honor, Saladin Ahmed and Tananarive Due. Room of One’s Own is a few blocks away from the Concourse Hotel, our main venue, so WisCon offers a complimentary accessible shuttle to and from the bookstore. Shuttles will start running to Room of One’s Own at 4:30 pm, and will be making trips back to the Concourse as late as 8:00 pm. This is an as-needed shuttle, so as seats fill up and/or passengers get antsy, the shuttle will depart to its destination. You may wait for the shuttle at the Concourse on Wisconsin Avenue, alongside the east side of the hotel, and the shuttle back to the hotel will pick up right across the street from the entrance to Room of One’s Own (the street is one-way, so that is the sidewalk side). The vehicle, operated by Badger Bus, is a large van that is white with red lettering and a Bucky Badger mascot decal. It can fit 2 passengers using wheelchairs, and 6 passengers not, per trip. Tips aren’t necessary for the driver, but are always welcome. (WisCon will be compensating the driver, as well.) Room of One’s Own Bookstore is accessible by sidewalks and curb cuts, if you’d like to head over on your own time.

We look forward to this weekend! Safe travels!

Seeking Hungry Extroverts

Are you interested in meeting people and welcoming new folks to WisCon? Do you eat dinner? Sometimes in restaurants? 

We have JUST THE JOB FOR YOU! 

Every WisCon, on Friday night after the Gathering closes down and the first round of panels is complete, we hold an informal meet & greet over a meal at one of Madison’s nearby restaurants. 

We specifically invite everyone who is new to the convention to join us in the Concourse Hotel Lobby between 5:15 and 5:30pm. That’s where you (someone who knows the ropes) come in: we’ll provide you with a sign that you will write the name and/or description of a restaurant on, and you can raise that to attract a group of 6 or more people who you will then lead away for dinner and conversation. You’ll be like the pied piper, but MUCH LESS MALEVOLENT. (Seriously, malevolence is against our code of conduct, please avoid it.) 

How do you pick a restaurant? A hint: if you volunteer now you can call dibs on your favorite. 🙂 We can’t ALL go to Short Stack. And we won’t all fit at Himal Chuli. (NB: I’m not leading a group, so those two are still up for grabs.) Everyone is responsible for the price of their own meal, so we want to be sure that we have at least one place that’s very affordable, at least one that’s vegan-friendly, at least one that has plentiful gluten-free options…you get the idea. 

While the First WisCon Dinner is aimed at people who are new to the con, it’s best when there are people other than the leaders who have been coming for a few years in each group as well. Everyone can expand their circle of WisCon friends by participating! Also I hear a lot of new restaurants have opened in Madison in the past year. It’s the perfect excuse to check them out.

 Email welcome@wiscon.net to volunteer in advance, or come to the Concourse lobby Friday afternoon and take your chances if you like to procrastinate!

Let’s get ready to GATHERRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Is everyone getting excited for WisCon? Because I sure am. This year we’re opening the convention* the traditional way: with the Gathering!

Editing to add: this year the Gathering is very generously sponsored by JoSelle Vanderhooft. She’s an amazing editor, writing coach, and writing teacher who also offers critiques as part of our Workshops. Check out her online resume and portfolio at www.joedits.com. Thank you, JoSelle!

If you don’t know it, the Gathering is just what it sounds like, and so very much more. Join us 1-4pm Friday in the big second floor ballroom to meet people, knit and crochet, get your tarot read, play with gadgets, pick up some new (to you) nail polish, learn to grind and mix curry powder, and other diversions.

If you’re new to WisCon, we’ve got friendly folks ready to answer your questions, connect you with resources, and take you on tours. They’ll be hanging out by the refreshments, so come grab a complimentary coffee, tea, or fruit punch and let us tell you all about what’s new and what hidden gems the con has to offer. If you’ve been coming for years, stop by and tell us what you wish you’d known earlier!

In case you were worried, our Clothing Swap is back this year! We’re in search of at least two more people who love recommending clothes and giving opinions about what would look great on folks — but who also are willing to hang, sort, and set out the clothes that members bring in to gift to each other. Interested? Give us a holler at chair@wiscon.net and we’ll make sure you get first crack at the treasures.

We call it a “swap”, but you don’t have to bring clothes in order to take some away — in fact, every year we have far more left over than we can handle! If you are bringing clothes, please make sure they are treasures rather than castoffs. The perfect Clothing Swap donation is something you’re parting with because it needs to be worn, not because it’s worn out! We also ask that you make sure anything you bring has been washed in an unscented detergent if possible, as many people are sensitive to perfumes and chemical scents, and that you remove any pet hair so that folks with allergies don’t get an unhappy surprise.

We’ll wrap up the Gathering at 4pm with a special ceremony to honor the late Ursula K Le Guin, and the winner of this year’s Tiptree Award will be crowned, then lead us all up to the Bakesale for celebratory cake, so you’ll want to plan on being there.

*Note: Yes, the Gathering opens the convention! But it isn’t the first event of the convention — that’s the Guest of Honor reception at Room of One’s Own on Thursday night.  🙂

New This Year: WisCon Tactile Art Show

On Saturday, May 26 at 9am, the WisCon Art Show will be holding a tactile art tour for con members with visual impairments or anyone who would like a guided tour through touching some of our 3D art (modeled on the tour at Arisia — thank you, Arisia organizers, for your advice!).

The following artists will be including their work in the tactile tour:

  • C. J. Hawkins
  • Clara Abnet Holden
  • David Lee Pancake
  • Elena Tabachnick
  • Erika Hammerschmidt
  • J. J. Brutsman
  • Katherine Olson
  • Lisa Bergin
  • Mary Anne Mohanraj
  • Mary Prince
  • SamHain Press
  • Stacie Arellano
  • Ty Blauersouth

To participate, just come to the Art Show room (Senate AB, on the first floor behind the stairs) at 9am Saturday.

The Art Show and Access departments are excited about offering this for the first time at WisCon 42! If you have questions, let us know at artshow@wiscon.net or access@wiscon.net.

WisCon 42 Volunteer Opportunities

Here we are again, and it’s already April! We have a few more volunteering opportunities, in the hope that getting you this information early will help you to plan your time at the convention.

First up: Help with Gaming!

WisCon is looking for volunteers to help run open gaming on FridaySaturday, and Sunday nights, from 8 pm-12 am. Responsibilities would mostly revolve around WisCon’s game library; getting it out at the beginning of the night, putting it away at the end of the night, and making sure none of it wanders away in between. In addition, volunteers will play games and help make the open gaming space welcoming and enjoyable! Please email gaming@wiscon.net if you are interested in helping out in this way. Even just a couple of hours would help a lot!

Make a High-Visibility Fashion Statement Volunteering with Safety

You’ve probably seen Safety volunteers in past years, because we do our best to make them hard to miss. They walk around the convention spaces carrying a binder while wearing an eye-catching (and stylish) high-visibility neon vest.

That could be you this year! It’s a great way to meet new folks and to see the whole convention — a Safety shift means you’ll move around the con, dipping in and out of parties, events, panels, workshops, readings… You’ll be asked to be observant, to listen respectfully to folks for whom the convention or other people have created stress, anxiety, or anger, to hand out taxi vouchers, to point out the restrooms, and to contact the appropriate person if you discover a problem that can’t be solved with a quick chat.

Volunteering for one or more Safety shifts is perfect if you enjoy helping people, and it can be satisfying to be able to help with the little things quickly: you’re the mobile person who can help out volunteers that have to stay at their posts like Art Show and Registration, who carries useful supplies, and who has a sympathetic ear. Safety welcomes folks who use mobility devices, or who can only make time in their schedule (or spoons budget) for a single shift.

Sign up now to let us know when you are available to lend a hand by visiting this form: https://goo.gl/forms/kjLIbNfc2CJncdQn2

Bakesale!

The James Tiptree, Jr Literary Award, an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender, was established at WisCon in 1991.We’ve held a bakesale to benefit the award at WisCon ever since.

Volunteering at the Bakesale is relatively easy and a lot of fun! You’ll help portion out the baked goods donated by WisCon members, make sure that allergen information is clearly displayed, and sell them. Best of all, Bakesale volunteer shifts come in convenient one-hour segments, so they are easy to fit into your day.

Sign up now to let us know when you are available to lend a hand by visiting this form: https://goo.gl/forms/NOnUcxSM6zfZQawo1

Kids’ Programs!

We’ve got some amazing and fun things planned for our Kids’ Programs this year, and we could use your help. These programs are for the 6-12 year olds who come to WisCon, and we’ll be doing crafts, building things, talking about books and movies, having experiments, visiting the pool…all sorts of stuff. We just need a few more people who are older than 12 to help make sure things go smoothly so that everyone can have a good time. That might mean that we ask you to help pick up Lego from the floor, or that you lead a parade of children on a field trip to the Art Show, or that you hand out fruit snacks, or that you get to pour the vinegar into a baking soda volcano. Or all of the above!

There are times available all through the day when you can potentially volunteer, and the time slots are each 90 minutes long, and exactly the same as the regular (teen and adult) panel schedule, so they’re really easy to fit into your day.

Let us know when you’d like to help by using this form: https://goo.gl/forms/EIwHp0kR8IvIr4Ff2
The Blue Tape Crew Needs YOU!
Want to help make WisCon more accessible? Are you an adhesion enthusiast? Perhaps you just like the color blue? WisCon’s Blue Tape Crew is looking for people who are available throughout the convention to set up and maintain accessibility features, such as blue tape markings for priority seating and wheelchair parking in panel rooms. Morning people or those operating on Eastern Standard Time are especially needed for early shifts! If you’re ready to Access-orize, please fill out our form linked here, or email access@wiscon.net. Want to learn more about Accessibility at Wiscon? Click here!

Dessert Salon: Tickets Sold Out

We still have lots of memberships available for WisCon 42, but we’ve reached the cap for our Sunday night Dessert Salon, meaning that it is no longer possible to purchase tickets for that event.

If you weren’t able to purchase your ticket in advance, you can visit the Registration Desk during the convention to add your name to a waiting list for any tickets that become available due to cancellations. We also run a Dessert Salon Bourse on Sunday evening from 5:30-7:00, when we offer last-minute buybacks of Dessert Salon tickets at a fixed rate, and last-minute sales on a first-come, first-served basis.

We understand that plans can change on short notice, so if you do have tickets for the Dessert Salon but discover that you won’t be able to use them, please let us know as soon as possible and we’ll be happy to issue a refund, to make room for other members to attend in your place. You can do this before the convention by emailing registration@wiscon.net, or during the convention by visiting the Registration Desk.

And if you haven’t yet registered, remember to do so before May 15! After that date, we will only be accepting at-the-door registrations.

Sign up for Con Suite Shifts Online!

WisCon is fast approaching, and we’re all fitting our schedules together trying to be twelve places at once, crying the familiar cry: “there are too many great panels!”  But maybe you’ve got a suspicious gap in your schedule, or maybe you just need some downtime after digesting the great panel you just went to. Wouldn’t it be great if you could schedule in some time to help out at the con as easily as you can schedule which panels you want to see?

Okay, maybe that’s a bit much of a lead up.  But we’re happy to announce that you can now schedule your volunteer shifts in Con Suite ahead of the con – no trying to remember while you’re there, no wondering if anyone needs volunteers at the times you’re free.

You can now view all the open Con Suite shifts and pick the time and the role that you’d prefer online. Want to count people so we have accurate numbers for next year? You can see when we need a Counter.  Want to help serve food? Check out the Food Service shifts.  Are you an introvert that wants to help but doesn’t want to handle the “hospitality” part of the hospitality suite? Help out with Food Prep, being an Annex Attendant, or Clean Up Crew.  Want to spend the whole con enjoying panels and parties, but still want to help out? Food Prep and Tear Down volunteers will be working Friday morning and Monday afternoon. And all shifts list the physical abilities required of that shift.

Click here to sign up!

To sign up, all you need to do is enter your name (this does not have to be your real name), and an email.  If you have any problems getting signed up, contact consuite@wiscon.sf3.org and we can sign you up on your behalf.

Updates from WisCon’s Access Team

Greetings from Accessland, a magical realm where volunteers work behind the scenes to make WisCon accessible for as many humanoids as possible. We’d like to take a moment to remind our attendees of WisCon’s Access-related policies and opportunities, so we can all make the most of a wonderful weekend. Some of this may be old news to long-time con-goers, but I promise there’s at least one new thing below! We invite you to read more at http://wiscon.net/policies/accessibility/. In no particular order:
  1.  I’m blue, daba-dee, daba-dah. WisCon uses blue painter’s tape to mark areas of the convention space for various users, including squares on the floors of panel rooms for wheelchair parking, slashes on chairs near the fronts of panel rooms for those who who need to be close to hear or see, and 6th-floor aisle markings to keep travel lanes clear. It takes volunteer power to mark and upkeep these markings throughout the convention. If you’d like to help with the Blue Tape Crew, please sign up by filling out our online form, or emailing access@wiscon.net.
  2. Oo oo, that smell. WisCon asks con-goers to please consider those with allergies or chemical sensitivities by minimizing strong scents at the con, be it perfumes, incense, cigarette smoke, or similar. Unfortunately, the convention space is not a fragrance-free zone, but WisCon takes steps to minimize strong scents, including providing scent-free soaps in the restrooms. Keep these practices in mind when donating clothing to the Gathering’s clothing swap—washing donations with scent-free detergents before the convention will make the swap more awesome for everyone!
  3. In my room, in my room. WisCon can be overwhelming at times, so we offer a Quiet Room on the 2nd floor where attendees can get some peaceful respite. We also offer three Safer Spaces rooms for people of color, people with disabilities, and people who are trans/genderqueer. Other relaxing escapes are available, like sitting in on a reading or taking a stroll through nearby parks.
  4. I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas. Don’t let the hanger consume you; consume some of WisCon’s goodies instead! We try to accommodate as many eaters as possible, whether vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or just on a tight budget, we have plenty of options for you. The Friday Bake Sale, Sunday Dessert Salon, and free snacks and meals at the Consuite will have major allergens marked, but are not entirely nut-free if you have severe allergies.
  5. I got two turntables and a microphone. WisCon works hard so that everyone can read and listen how they read and listen best. We offer CART captioning at the Guests of Honor speeches and at select panels, as well as limited ASL interpreting. With a heads-up before May 1st, we can also provide large-print or Braille versions of our Souvenir Program Book. Larger panel rooms are equipped with microphones, and we remind our panelists not to cover their mouths when speaking, for the benefit of audience members who lip-read. Descriptions of the visual components of panels will benefit audience members who are blind or low-vision.
  6. I like to move it, move it. WisCon wants to make it as easy to get around the convention space as possible. Because events take place on multiple floors, many attendees use the hotel’s elevators to move around. If you can take the stairs, please do, to alleviate traffic to the elevators for those who need them! Additionally, WisCon provides shuttles to our off-site Thursday night reading. We encourage a visit to the Welcome table at the Gathering on Friday to learn more about getting around the convention.
  7. Can you feel it, can you feel it, can you feel it? This WisCon 42 will be the convention’s first year offering a Tactile Art Tour of our Art Room. With a dozen artists participating, we’re excited for a new way to experience the art showcased at the convention. Details are still being ironed out, so stay tuned!
Questions? Concerns? Forget to request an accommodation, or want to make a suggestion? Email us at access@wiscon.net. We look forward to creating a stellar experience with you at WisCon 42!

Get More WisCon: Sign Up For a Workshop!

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood Workshop department! Did you know that beyond the panels, panels, and more panels that we are all SUPER EXCITED ABOUT, there’s even more WisCon out there for you? We’re talking about Workshops! Workshops are more responsive, participatory sessions, and while some require preparatory work on your part, some of them are very drop in! Read below to find out offerings this year, or click here for more general information about how Workshops, um, work. If you’re interested in signing up, read the descriptions and email workshop@wiscon.net!

Critique Sessions

The deadline for critique sessions has been extended to May 1, 2018. Critique sessions take place on Friday morning, scheduled from 9am to noon. See here for instructions on what to send as part of your signup email! This year’s amazing critique session facilitators are:

For novels and short stories:

  • Eugene Fischer
  • David Levine
  • Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Nino Cipri

For short stories:

  • Vylar Kaftan
  • Charlie Jane Anders

For romance/erotica:

  • Elizabeth Reeve

Special Sessions

But wait, there’s more! Our special sessions are pretty great this year. Some require signing up ahead of time; others will be open for drop-ins.

First, our salons!

These salons are open sessions and will be led by facilitators who can offer advice and hands-on assistance whether you’re a beginner or just looking for a space to get some work done. These will be in the schedule once it’s out, so don’t forget to look!

  • Knitting and Fiber Salon
  • Evening Writing Salons

Reserved Workshops

These sessions require sign up prior to the workshop. Sign ups for these workshops are open until May 21 or until all slots are filled. Email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve your space!

  • Storytelling – Friday from 9am to noon – The art of telling a story with Susan Ramirez
  • Speculative Fiction and the Academy – Friday from 9am to noon – Writing about spec fic in the academy with Laurie Fuller
  • Introduction to Vidding – Friday from 9am to noon – The basics of vid making with eruthros
  • The Anatomy of a Retelling – Saturday from 8am to 10am – How to adapt and retell well-known stories with Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Lessons for the Not-Quite-Pro Writer – Saturday from 10am to noon – How to deal with rejection, pick markets, write cover letters, track submissions, plan for conventions and other exciting topics with Nibedita Sen
  • Filing Off the Serial Numbers – Sunday from 8am to 10am – How to turn fan fiction into original fiction with Joselle Vanderhooft

Open Sessions

These workshops do NOT require sign ups so feel free to drop in! You can also email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve a guaranteed space and help us anticipate attendance.

  • Neopronouns – Friday from 4pm to 6pm – How to use neopronouns in fiction – S. Qiouyi Lu
  • Art In Your Pocket – Sunday from 10am to noon – Making artist trading cards (ATCs) with a WisCon theme – Mary Prince
  • Introduction to Embroidery – Saturday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn the basics of embroidery or bring your own project to work on – Candra Gill
  • How to Read for Fun and Profit – Sunday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn how to choose the best selections and perform your readings for maximum audience engagement – Keffy Kehrli
  • Libre Planet – Sunday from 3pm to 5pm – Learn how to program! – Morgan Lemmer Webber
  • Teasecraft – Sunday evening (time TBD) – It’s a kinky crafter meetup with projects and discussion – Kit Stubbs