GeekGirlCon Recap

Thanks again to the great staff and volunteers for hosting us again at GeekGirlCon this year! We really appreciated the opportunity to do an experimental panel.

This year we wanted to do something a little bit different for our GGC panel, an interactive workshop on character design and story development meant to result in concepts to be utilized as a short-story in our next anthology. First we discussed character development styles and our authors talked a little bit about their individual methods. Finally we led the group through the design process by asking the audience questions. Everyone was unfailingly polite to one another and full of amazing ideas.

I am happy to say that we have enough grist to turn out a whole novel. Thank you so much to the many panel participants for joining us for what was, at least for me, the most entertaining and collaborative panel ever.

As promised, here are my notes for all to review. If you find yourself intrigued by any of the ideas below, write up your story and post it online. Send us the link to your story at Twitter (@TalariaPress), Facebook, in the comments below, or by email and we will do our best to link to your story.

Genre: horror

Main character:

  • Female or gender queer character
  • Young—maybe a child
  • Charismatic cult figure
  • Prideful
  • Angry
  • Naïve
  • Reliable
  • Loyal
  • Idealistic
  • Affinity for children
  • A villain (or someone who believes they are the hero, but are perceived as a villain)
  • True believer
  • Rebel- maybe wants to lead the group in another direction?
  • Maybe someone who doesn’t want to be there at all or anymore.

Setting: 1960s hippy commune/farm/cult

  • Pot farm/ poppy growers?
  • Religious beliefs may call for static population numbers, sacrifices etc.
  • Bakers- poisons
    • Pies, brownies
    • Tests of faith?
    • Religious beliefs may call for static population numbers, sacrifices etc.
      • Drugging for docility
        • Either drugs build up over time resulting in death, or some kind of lotto wherein a death is expected.
        • Survivors drugged to keep them happy in spite of deaths.
          • Maybe conflict arises when someone forgets to drug the brownies and someone is poisoned and everyone cared.
          • Communally raised children
            • Maybe adults are being eliminated in favor of children


  • Wants change, maybe a rebel
    • Finds a person who is trying to cheat?
      • Maybe a trusted person?
      • Nobody dies during random poisoning? A reverse murder mystery.
  • Upset about message hypocrisy?
  • Engagement with the capitalist system
  • Conflict over numbers of the flock
  • Conflict over narrow focus
  • Maybe kicked out of the flock?
  • Munchhausen by proxy?
  • Someone is developing an antidote? Maybe the main character?

As you can see, there was a real profusion of ideas, along with call-outs for homages to classic stories like Children of the Corn and Village of the Damned.

We are incredibly excited by the collaborative effort of our participants and look forward to sharing our efforts with you. Please look for a short-story inspired by these great ideas in our next anthology.

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