In honor of the massive blogging event Kendra and several other “Indie” authors are hosting on their blogs this week, I’m carving out a bit of time to participate in one of my favorite activities—Character Encounters!
The setting: We’re supposed to pretend Indie e-Con is a real live convention in a big building in Dallas, Texas. I’ll warn you right now there won’t be a whole lot of description, as I’ve never been to a big convention in Dallas. Or anywhere, for that matter.
What about the Celtic Festival?
Not sure that counts. The Nevada County Fairgrounds of Grass Valley, California aren’t exactly in the same class as a big convention center Dallas, Texas.
Fair enough. *Smirk*
Och! Bad pun, boy-o!
OK, silence in the Peanut Gallery, please. On with the Encounter!
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Disclaimer (for those new to my blog): I use the terms Anka and Ank’ to describe myself and other writers, but full credit for their invention goes to Kendra E. Ardnek. No copyright infringement is intended. This is all in the spirit of fun.
I’d never seen so many people in one place in y whole life. Well, maybe that one time we visited San Francisco….
People in regular clothes—jeans and hoodies, a few girls in skirts and dresses—others dressed like characters from their favorite Indie novels…most of which I didn’t recognize, being sadly out of the loop due to not owning a Kindle or having a regular income to buy new books. The girl in the red dress with more jewelry on than seemed possible for one person to wear, though—no fan of Kendra E. Ardnek’s Rizkaland Legends could mistake who she was supposed to be.
I smiled to myself, adjusting my ankle-length blue taffeta frock. Good thing I hadn’t gotten around to shortening it yet, I mused. Somehow it just wouldn’t have seemed a WaterPrincess-y otherwise.
It occurred to me then that the Water Princess did in fact wear shorter dresses later in the book…but I figured, hey, if I’m going to dress up, I might as well go all the way.
Or at least half, I reminded myself, frowning at my unadorned fingers. Another result of having no income—no funds for a proper Water Princess Ring, neither. It was only by a miracle I’d even been able to attend this event.
I made my way through the enormous convention center, marveling that all these folks gathered were writers like myself—each with stories to tell, imaginary people and worlds in our heads just aching to get out and be shared with the world. Excitement welled up inside me, manifesting itself in a huge grin and friendly nod to those I met.
“Nice costume!” several people called out in passing, for which I thanked them as best I could. Really, it would have felt more like a proper costume if I’d been able to embroider the thing—or at least add some trim—but this had been kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. One doesn’t turn down free tickets to something this fabulous.
“Hey, Water Princess,” someone else called, “watch out for Amber!”
“Meh, Amber better watch out for ME!” I returned, giving what I hoped would be a not-too-pathetic karate-chop and earning a laugh from my fellow con-goer.
I couldn’t help but scan the crowds for a certain imaginary ginger of my acquaintance, who might be dressed in a red tunic…but instead I spotted someone else entirely.
A tall, lithe man with raven-black hair, a pale complexion, and a decidedly Roman nose, dressed like a working man of the last century—somewhere between the 19-teens and the 1920s or ’30s—looked about him with confusion in his twilight-gray eyes. Upon catching sight of me, however, he smiled, seeming relieved. He placed his right fist across his chest and bowed from the waist. “Greetings, Anka,” he said.
“Hullo, Victor,” I replied. “Say, aren’t you a little out of uniform? I usually imagine you in tall boots and embroidered tunics.”
“You forget, Anka, that in the World of Men, I must look like a Son of Adam. Elven garb would seem out of place among your Race. However,” he added, looking about at the various outfits of people around us, “perhaps no one would notice, considering some of the costumes I’ve seen today.”
“Actually, I’m not sure they can see you at all,” I confided.
As if on cue, another attendee walked past, complimenting my “costume,” but ignoring Victor entirely. I noticed Victor saluting anyhow.
“You are the polite one,” I quipped, “greeting someone who can’t even see you.”
Victor blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“You waved to that other Anka just now.”
“I greeted both the Anka and her companion,” Victor stated, as if correcting me.
“Her companion. Didn’t you see…?” He paused in mid-sentence, slowly raising his eyebrows and trying not to smile. “Ah, I understand. Your fellow Ank’ can’t see me…but neither can you see their imaginary friends, who have accompanied them to this grand event.”
“There are more?” I squeaked, looking about eagerly. I saw only Flesh-and-Blood people—and I could tell even the more fantastically-dressed ones were Flesh-and-Blood because…well, it’s hard to explain in words, but they just didn’t have that air of the imaginary that my friends had whenever I encountered them in Real Life. “Fascinating,” I murmured. Then I turned to Victor again. “Are you here to glean some information for your own writing?”
A cloud passed over his face, and I could tell that painful memories came to his mind. “I did think perhaps I could learn from these other Ank’,” he admitted, “but this event is so massive…I must own myself rather bewildered.”
“I’m a bit overwhelmed, myself,” I confessed. “Well, let’s just sit in on whatever lectures we can and not worry about attending all of them or participating in everything…much fun as some of the activities sound.”
Victor nodded. “A wise plan, to be sure. I see that some of them are willing to critique others’ writing; will you take advantage of it?”
“I’d like to,” I answered. “In fact,” I added, smirking, “I was thinking of submitting a snippet of your story, if you’re agreeable.”
“I would be honored. But take care not to reveal too much just yet. It wouldn’t do for them to know exactly who I am before they even read my full story.”
“Catch me!” I chuckled. “Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the surprise. Say, we’d better hurry if we’re going to get in on today’s critiquing session on time!”