The LTUE 2023 Write-up: Day Three

Or, the final day.

And what a day it was. Guys, LTUE is a fantastic con. Awesome panels, wonderful people, so much writing energy coursing through its halls like the vibrant surges of a buzzing neon light.

Seriously, if you’ve not made it to LTUE before, you totally should. LTUE is incredible. And next year? It’s going to go even further. Why? Well, it’s a con named Life, The Universe, and Everything, and it’ll be year 42 for it. If you get that, it’s the kind of con you should be at.

Now, with that said … I am pretty beat. So I’m going to cut the preamble short and head right into the day three write up, because I’m ready to call it a night. As pumped up from LTUE as I am, it’s that kind of energy that can’t quite make up for the absolute exhaustion I feel from three days of pure con. At the same time, this energy will persist through the weekend and on through the next week. I am jazzed to finish off the newest Jacob Rocke adventure and then start work on Axtara – Magic and Mayhem. And hey, I even laid the grounds for the plot to Axtara 3 in my mind while I was attending this LTUE. Don’t worry, it’s not suddenly becoming a trilogy. Each book is still going to be standalone. I just love that dragon. She’s flying far, and she deserves it.

Anyway, hit the jump, and let’s go over what I went to today!

So, first up was Back Alley Healers and Traveling Doctors. Oh yeah, I was definitely going to this panel. And it was worth it; I picked up some neat things that I shared in the Discord channel’s writing hub. You may not have known this, but as medicine became a business, one of the first casualties was—and you’ll have to forgive me for not knowing the term here—but the wise-women-like woman healers, who had until it became a business been responsible for a lot of medicine, and therefore were “stealing business” from the new, licensed doctors. A similar thing happened with beer, by the way (and there’s an excellent Extra History series on that I recommend). Anyway, for quite some time they remained a much better option than the “official” doctors, who were still learning what the women healers knew.

Prior to that, it was quite common for wealthy people to be doctors, since they could afford the training, and then they were often socially expected to care for those who couldn’t afford medicine. Though as one panelist noted, it’s culturally very common for people to have stigmas against free medicine (and they offered a statistic from a free clinic they worked at about how many people would just cancel or no-show due to that concern), and noted this is sometimes why a “wise healer” might require people to do something.

They also went through what I recognized as basic EMT response procedure, suggesting that knowing such things could be useful if you’re writing about people that get into danger. In line with that came a notice that your adventurers (of whatever sort), if they are intelligent or wise adventurers, would certainly carry first aid materials. What those would be could vary, but they should have something. Also, they need to have a pulse and some breath, and not be suffering blood loss. Any of those three if not fixed lead to a dead adventurer.

The panel then discussed some neat folk remedies throughout history, such as honey for its antibiotic properties, use of spiderweb clumps to help stop bleeding, and other natural medicines that someone in your world should know.

Oh, and they pointed out how ridiculous the trope of “Tear the bottom of that skirt off to bandage a wound. You know, the dirty, dusty, muddy skirt end?” was. Which is a great point.

Another great point? We are disillusioned by how easy it is for us to find medical supplies. This stuff took work back in the day, and learning about where it comes from could help your setting become more real.

Lastly (at least for the context of this post), the final point discussed was that all healing should have a cost of some kind. It can be material, magical, monetary, but it needs to have a cost of some kind.

Oh, actually, I was pretty amused when they switched to Sci-Fi and two members of the panel shared medical things they wanted to see more of in Sci-Fi books, both of which are in the UNSEC Space Trilogy. Ahead of the curve!

Can’t miss this bit either: Who goes into rural areas? Missionaries, Mavericks, mercenaries, and misfits. If you’re doing a secondary character with medical stuff in a rural place, look at those character types.

Now, the next panel was Exposition Ettiquette … but I was on this panel, so I don’t have notes. Sorry. I was talking instead of jotting things down. On the plus side, however, this is a commonly requested topic here on the site for Being a Better Writer, so you can find that particular tag here and find all of what I discussed, as well as a whole lot more besides on the topic.

Next up, following a lunch, was on Disability Workarounds and Implants in Fantasy and Sci-Fi Settings. This was a pretty interesting panel, and I wasn’t certain what it would be, but very curious beforehand. Afterward? Absolutely worth my time.

So, this one started by talking about really well-done depictions of those with a disability that still made them work, with several examples coming up again and again. Both of which I will mention here: Geordie from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Hiccup. Both, they noted, were not an “instant fix” in the setting, and both were shown being used for strengths, but not in a way that advertised it in a “look at this!” sort of way. Hiccup’s leg is never ignored, but it isn’t constantly shoved at the audience either. It is simply there, and he makes use of his prosthetic in a way that works for his character. Likewise, Geordie can see heat with his visor, and since that makes his job easier, he’s happy!

I also grabbed the following tidbits from what came after that, in discussing disability in some manner in a story:

  • Don’t pretend a disability doesn’t exist if it exists.
  • If there is a cure, is it accepted by your society?
  • Accommodation means that the disability is just there and accepted.
    • “Sometimes accommodations are other people.”
  • “Disabilities do not need to be the center of the story.”
    • With regards to disability, coming out, etc, ‘People are “kind of done” with the angst, heartbreak, and the overcoming stories.’
  • Racism as we know it wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, exist in a fantasy world. It is its own place, with its own issues, and we shouldn’t copy and paste the real world, but build and invest in our own setting.
  • ‘Don’t make everyone equally prejudiced. That’s a planet of hats. Prejudice, even across a society, should be different and not identical.’

And uh … that was it for writing panels! Yes, I realize this is a pretty slim post, but there were a lot of other activities I got up to, including checking out a few panel types I’d never actually gone to before just to see what they consisted of. Such as a networking panel, a ‘Dungeon Master Tips’ panel, and a few other types I hadn’t tried before. Plus the banquet dinner that wraps the whole con up.

So that means I can sleep a little earlier, but seriously, I do recommend this convention so much. It is a writer’s paradise. If you make it to one writing con, make it this one.

And now, I rest. I’ll see you all Monday for some new Being a Better Writer. Max, out.

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