So, Bristolcon. Friends kept telling me it was good and I should try it, but for a couple of years things just got in the way, so it was part curiosity and maybe part guilt that got me there this time. I'm really glad I did.
The con is officially one day, Saturday, but a surprising number of people arrived Friday, as I did, so as not to miss anything, and there was a writers' equivalent of a folk evening that night in the bar - a very nice idea, though I could wish it had been in a separate room.
The day itself was busy and very well organised, even though I'm told one of the usual organisers had to be absent. The programme had three rooms almost constantly busy with panels, talks and workshops, plus a dealers' room, plus a con room. I managed to get invited onto three programme irems, which was a surprise; a panel on writing problems, moderating a talk on why YA fiction appeals, and running a writers' challenge, open to anyone who fancied having a go.
This was great fun, and especially pleasing, as some of us overran the time by half and I went a bit mad and read a short story that had grown out of such a workshop. It earned me some applause, and a big laugh at the end, which was reward enough, but then there was cake there for us as well - lots of cake - from the nice organisers, in case we needed extra inspiration!
What else? Well, I guess I should say that the hotel was a good choice, convenient from the train station with a big bar area plus a separate con room that even stocked free tea and coffee on a help yourself basis. And a dealer's room better than some I've seen, which hooked me into a bracelet, though I managed to resist more books because I somehow ended up with several freebies anyway and couldn't carry any more!
I met friends, as one does, but my overall impression was of how relaxed and successful everything was from start to finish - and the finish segued into what was promised to be a "truly terrible" film which con-goers had free entry to, so it was a very full use of that one day definition.
Me, I'll certainly be back for another go. This time I'll even remember to check the ticket in my programme to see if I win in the raffle . Definitely slipped up there, as one prize was a free next year's membership.