Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Being on Panels

I've decided to take a break from reading political news, because I find it depressing. But I still want to begin my day by reading on the Internet. So I've read a mixture of stuff, including Michelle Sagara's post on how panels are not about you, the individual, maybe-not-so-famous author.

I did a little cringing, because I was on a panel at Convergence on the short fiction of Eleanor Arnason, and I took the panel over. I don't know what came over me: a brief fit of madness, maybe. Anyway, I talked about current writing and future plans for writing and actually described plots. I don't usually do this, and I wish I had kept quiet and let the other panelists talk about me.

In any case, Michelle Sagara is right: telling the plots of your fiction is a no-no, though I have always done it. But not usually on panels.

But I'm still inclined to think the panels I'm on are about me and my ideas. I don't do panels unless I have something to say about the topic, and then I really want to say it. If I am lucky, the other panelists will be equally interested in the topic and eager to talk.

I should add that I spent years learning how to talk intelligently in front of an audience, and I usually do not walk into panels cold. I have thought about the topic and sometimes have notes.


Paul Weimer said...

I loved your input on the THOR panel at Diversicon, though.

tate hallaway said...

Yeah, Eleanor, you're getting quite the niche with superhero movie panels!

Tyler Tork said...

It seemed to me that the column was mainly asking people to not treat the panel as an opportunity to do an infomercial on one's wares and to not crowd out the GOH.
I was at the "Works of" panel, and I don't think Eleanor has anything to blame herself for in doing most of the talking there. To start with, she wasn't the moderator; the format of the panel ended up as people asking questions and Eleanor answering, because the moderator thought that's what people wanted (and I thought so too). I don't think anyone felt cheated.
Now, if it had been set up as a round-table discussion and the author showed up and talked over everyone, that would be different. It seems about as likely that Eleanor would do that, as that she would flap her arms and fly around the room.
Likewise, whatever the panel is about, the ideas of the panelists on the topic are exactly what the audience wants. If one of the panelists is a BN they might want to hear more from that person, but all the panelists are there for a reason, and it would be wrong of any of them to take over entirely (and wrong of the moderator to allow it). So, Eleanor, once again, resist the urge to fly around the room. :-)

Eleanor said...

Thanks for the comments, Paul and Tyler.