On The Horizon: NerdCon Stories 2016

Hey there everybody,

Some of you may remember a little thing we did last year called NerdCon: Stories.

NerdConSome of you might remember because I wrote a blog about it. Others of you might remember because you actually came to the event.

For the rest of you: Nerdcon is a convention I started with Hank Green and his team. We wanted to start a new convention that focuses on storytelling in all its forms.

And so we did.

And I’m not going to lie to you, it was pretty great.

We brought in podcasters, musicians, poets, authors, puppeteers, and talked to all of them about stories, audience, genre, and more.

nerd con puppets

(If you’re wondering what’s going on in this photo, that’s fair. You kinda had to be there.)

There were panels and discussions. There were puppet shows. There were presentations and plays and signings and hugs. And kind of a surprising number of games. Some folks played Superfight, and I ran a game of The Extrordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which you can watch in it’s fullness right here.

We also had a debate based on the continued shame I have to deal with because my son puts on his socks and shoes by doing it sock-shoe, sock-shoe, rather than sock-sock shoe-shoe, as god intended.

We had panels about storytelling through song, podcasting, and performance. There were panels for fandoms, and about movie adaptations. We talked about diversity, activism, and sex in stories. There was singing and dancing and poetry and a birthday party.

nerd con hank music performance

Tons of these were filmed, and you can see them on NerdCon’s YouTube channel, or listen to the rest on their podcast.

There was a Giant squid from the Cephalopodcast. He was hanging out with Joseph Fink from Welcome to Nightvale. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

nerd con giant squid

Except it isn’t once-in-a-lifetime. We’re doing it again this year, only bigger and better.


(But in the same beautiful space)

This year we’re bringing in even more guests. There will be live podcast recordings, workshops on copyright, improv, and game design. Panels about art, self promotion, and mental health.

The exhibitor’s hall is even bigger than last year, with more vendors. The Worldbuilders Team is going to be there again, too. Rocking the booth and having an awesome time.

And I’ll be there too. I’ll be on panels and playing games. I’ll be talking about stories. I’ll be recording my podcast with Max live at the Show.

The full schedule is available for perusal right here, and it’s packed with amazing stuff.

*     *     *

I’ll be honest with you folks. I’m super proud of this convention. Last year people came up to me and told me that it was the best convention they’d ever been too. One person told me that it was the best time she’d ever had in her life.

The chatter on twitter was pretty flattering, too. Here’s one tweet that particularly warmed my heart.

I’m cutting down on conventions next year. I’m getting too busy, and I don’t like being away from my kids. But this con is something special. We built it to be welcoming and warm. We hand selected the guests to be clever and funny and kind.

Best of all, this convention is small enough that I actually get to hang out with people. It’s not just a seething mass of bodies like San Diego or NyCC. So if you’re looking to catch me at a convention and hear me talk about stories, games, and life in general, this is the place to do it.

The convention is October 14-15, and you should get your tickets soon. It’s a comparatively small convention, so it’s possible that tickets might sell out if you wait too long.

You can get your tickets here.

I hope to see some of you soon,


P.S. If you came to the convention last year, could you share how you felt about it in the comments below? It’s kinda *my* convention, so of course I’m fond of it. It’s like my baby. But the testimonial of people who were actually there tends to be a little more unbiased, and therefore it carries a more weight than mine….

This entry was posted in conventions, cool things. By Pat31 Responses


  1. Posted September 9, 2016 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    This convention was amazing! The depth of topics in the sessions were fun and thought provoking (even now)! Definitely something for everyone here, whether you want to hone your writing or like hearing people’s stories. Definitely felt like a fun little community!!

  2. AprilWhiteBooks
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    In our family, each parent takes the kids when they’re 12 or 13 on a special trip that’s just the two of them. Nerdcon was my trip with my 12-year-old son last year, and it was “the best weekend ever” for both of us. He watches every video Hank and John Green do, I read everything Pat writes. Because of our weekend together at this amazing con, our storyteller horizons have expanded in all directions, and I was able to introduce him to adult cons in a safe and really harmonious place. We’re going back this year – it’s the only thing my son wanted for his 13th birthday. He’s going to play tabletop games and maybe watch a D&D game if he can find one in the vendors hall, we’re going to any of the kaffeekatches we get in the lottery, and we’re both really looking forward to the featured events in the main auditorium. I’m intrigued by the podcast panels and events, storytelling in game design, and the panels about feminist lit. There really is something that appeals to everyone at Nerdcon, and something new to discover about stories and storytelling.

    • Posted September 9, 2016 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

      One of the things that made me happiest about last year’s convention was seeing parents there with their kids…

  3. slsmitty25
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    I went last year and it was my first con that I’ve ever attended. I loved the small scale of it. It felt personable and accessible. The other attendees were fun, polite people. For me it was a great experience to learn about podcasts, vlogs, puppeteering and so much more. I’m coming again this year and can’t wait to learn so much more that I can share with the students at my high school.

  4. Shadow14
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    It was the first convention I had ever attended. I was blown away by the feeling of inclusion and welcome and fun that I experienced. Everybody I talked to, everybody I sat next to, everybody I waited in line wirh, all said and felt the same thing we were so happy to be there we were having so much fun and we didn’t want it to end. It wasn’t too crowded and I can’t wait for this year. I felt like I had found my tribe, my people :)

    • bilius
      Posted September 10, 2016 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      Hear, hear! to your comment about finding your tribe at NerdCon last year. I went to school for a certain artistic field, and though I enjoyed the work sometimes, I always felt like I wasn’t quite clicking with the culture surrounding this field. When I graduated, I decided to start writing stories instead. NerdCon was my first convention, and when it was done, I finally realized… oh! *These* are my people! It was the first time I’d felt like I was in a community of other artists who were speaking the same language as me. The entire event felt challenging, inspiring, inclusive, and joyful. Looking forward to this year!

    • Posted September 11, 2016 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

      I’m so happy to hear this. It’s something we worked very deliberately to create in the convention. From the subject matter of the panels, to guests we invited, everything was done in an attempt to make things feel inclusive and welcoming….

  5. smurtonen
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Daaaaaaang. I wish I knew about this sooner. Vancouer island and Minnesota are just too far apart on short notice. ???? It sounds like an amazing convention that will be on my wish list for next year. Keep being awesome!!

  6. Lienhartaw
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    This convention felt a little bit like walking into your local bookstore and being informed that all of your favorite characters -past, present, and future – are real, and hanging out there too.

    It was super great. I’ve enjoyed other cons too, but none of them have felt quite as homey or as human as Nerdcon did. The world is a better place because this convention exists, and I can’t wait to go back. I’m gonna try to get there on time for Dungeons and Dragons yoga Friday morning. See you guys there! <3

  7. Manda
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    I had a great time at NerdCon last year! My husband had to work and none of my friends wanted to fork out the money so I went by myself. Honestly, people were so friendly that it didn’t even matter. I’d sit down before a panel and find myself immersed in conversation with everyone around me. I got to meet one of my favorite authors. I attended some wonderful, informative panels on writing. Some of the programs were really funny. John Scalzi was hilarious!

    I only have one gripe and it is a small one. I left a panel early to get in line for Writing About Sex with Jacqueline Carey (and others). When I arrived, the line had already wrapped around the corner and down the hall. By the time the halls filled with people, it had tripled in length but the line barely moved after they opened the doors. None of us could understand why until we rounded the corner. There was still a line, of sorts, along the wall but most people had decided to crowd around the door and push their way inside. As a result, two-thirds of the people in line didn’t get in and the majority of us had arrived before the break. Still, that was a small annoyance in the grand scheme of things.

    I’m really excited to see Daniel Jose Older on your guest list. He is an amaaaazing speaker and a great writer too! I really hope I can scrape together enough money this year!

  8. krystalobrien
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    My husband and I came from Virginia to Nerdcon last year. I was so nervous because a) I had never done any con of any type b) We’re in our 40s, not kids even though we think we are, and c) we’re introverts, like most nerds. But we got brave and pulled ourselves out of books/podcasts/hamilton cd’s and met up with our in-laws from California there. Thursday night a bunch of strangers met at a sports bar and we all took the brave step of meeting someone new. It was a BLAST! We not only got to see so many of our literary and entertainment favorites, but we met people from everywhere! Everyone was so nice and the crowd was the perfect size. By the 2nd day, there were so many familiar faces. Also, it was not so big that the guests couldn’t come out and talk to us. Pat, you walked right up to us in line for a signing and just started talking to us. Maureen Johnson did the same. It was just a dream. We kept in touch with the people we met and this year we’re meeting up again on Thursday night for adult beverages (there are benefits in being the old people) and we’re even renting an airbnb with people we met last year. I just can’t WAIT. Thanks for making this thing!

  9. Webster
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    NerdCon was fantastic last year, and I can’t wait to go again! It was my first conference, I didn’t know what to expect, and I had a great time from beginning to end. :)

    I wrote a little blog post about my experience at NerdCon: Stories. Read it if you’re looking for more reasons to buy a ticket. There are a few pictures, quotes, and a story about Pat:

  10. Xarrant
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    Damn, I already have plans on October 15th. This is definitely going on my to-do list for 2017.

  11. DawnC
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    This WAS the best thing I did last year…for several days, I found I didn’t have words to express how much I enjoyed it except to tell people, “It changed me but I can’t explain exactly how I’m changed.” It was like fireworks, unicorns, and 3,000 of all sorts of new best friends. My face hurt from being so happy all day.

    There. I finally found some words. Not maybe all the words, but some. And it took almost a year to find them. Whew.

  12. Leahdotexe
    Posted September 10, 2016 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    Well, here’s the review I left on the Facebook page after attending (and volunteering!) last year:

    I’ve never felt so warm, welcome, safe, and understood in a crowd of thousands. It felt like every single person there — panelists, celebrities, attendees — was instantly best friends with everyone else. It was… just astounding. I’m in shock right now because I can’t believe it happened and I got to be a part of it. I’m freaking out a little because now it’s over and I have to go back to the real world.

    But for now I feel empowered and magical and inspired and grateful and hopeful and lucky. I want to keep this feeling forever.

    I’m volunteering again this year (woo!) and super excited for it. This time I’m bringing something to take notes with — I saw a lot of people in panel audiences taking notes on paper or laptops and I was envious. I’ve never attended a con that felt so much like a college class — in the best possible way. I’ve never learned so much or felt so inspired and uplifted after a con.

    Nerdcon: Stories was definitely not my first convention, but it was by far my favorite convention. It’s undeniably special. You, Hank, John, and the rest of the team have made a beautiful thing, and I’m lucky enough to have it right in my backyard. Thank you.

  13. Ra.bennett
    Posted September 10, 2016 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    Perfect. It was perfect last year, and this year I think it will be perfecter. What’s even better is that it is still so young and the people are so passionate that suggestions make a difference.
    I suggested an RPG called Dread after last year’s con. While I am sure I couldn’t’ve been the only one, they are actially doing it this year.
    It already felt personal because of the intimate scale, but now I can guarantee that I will do what it takes to keep being there for as long as you keep doing them.

    Thank you, for spearheading this, Pat. It has become one of the most anticipated times of my year.

    • Leahdotexe
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

      I also suggested Dread! It’s such a great game and perfect for this convention. I was excited to see it on the program.

      • Ra.bennett
        Posted September 19, 2016 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

        Something cliche about great minds and thinking alike rings true. :)

        It is a fabulous storytelling medium though, and I can’t wait to see all the great people on the panel collaborate on it.

  14. blackhummingbird
    Posted September 10, 2016 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    As soon as NerdCon was over last year, I was looking forward to going this year. It was my first convention and I went based on location and faith in Hank Green (hadn’t even heard of you yet). I knew very few of the featured guests last year but I loved every panel, show, game, etc. that I attended. Everyone was so respectful and kind I immediately felt a sense of community and ‘discovered’ so many great creators. My experience last year was definitely one of the best experiences in my life, a perfect blend of hilarity, community, social awareness, and creativity. I was in a bad place this time last year and I drew (and continue to draw) a lot of strength from my time at NerdCon. I doubt this year will mean as much to me personally, just because the bar is set so high, but I have no doubt that it will be just as good, if not better, as the first year.

  15. ced
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    I checked out the NerdCon schedule, and managed to misread every “signing” as “singing”. And I believed it. Can this be a thing? Can I have my books sung?

  16. gwydda
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    Are you actually ever going to finish the series? Please, man up, stop avoiding the topic, and tell us what’s going on. We are getting tired.

    • gilgamesh
      Posted September 13, 2016 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

      I completely agree, it’s been over 5 years, at what point are we allowed to ask for an update without people saying we’re being assholes? Or that Mr. Rothfuss is not my bitch.
      I’m not even asking for a date of release or anything like that, just a hey I’ve actually been working on the third book, I’ve finished the first chapter, first draft or something along those lines. Instead of news about all the other things he is doing and wants us to spend our money on.

  17. DanMoran
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    NerdCon sounds like my kind of con. On one hand, MN is so far from SC; on the other hand, my in-laws live there so it is not far enough. I’ll have to think about it.

    RE: sock-sock-shoe-shoe – tell your son he’s a meathead. It’s a compliment. (if you don’t know the reference, Google ‘All in the Family’).

  18. cj011001
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    My daughter brought Nerdcon to my attention last year as a fan of Hank and John Green and I’m waiting for book three so we got tickets but could only come on Saturday. We had an amazing day finding so much more offered than we had expected. I think the blending of stories with music was wonderful. My daughter is so passionate about writing and stories, song and performance, that I am truly looking forward to this years con and am taking time off work to come and given her the heads to skip school. This is learning opportunity beyond academics. Thanks for keeping it here in Minneapolis. It’s wonderful to have something this good close to home.

  19. JasonEnberg
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Friday was great last year. I enjoyed all the small / breakout panels and the main stage events were great. Some great topics in the small panels. The main stage events were all very creative and funny. Incredibly fun and interesting.

    But on Saturday the attendance was much larger. And as was mentioned above the small /breakout panels couldn’t be attended because they filled before the passing time between panels even began. So at best you could only go to every other panel as you had to wait in line to get into a panel. And if enough people didn’t exit the previous panel you didn’t get in and were force to view whatever the main stage panel was. The only panels I was able to attend Saturday were the panels in the main stage room and could not get into any of the panels I wanted to attend on Saturday.

    Some suggestions for fix the issue:
    – Larger rooms.
    – Have overflow video only rooms. At least I can watch the panel even if I can’t ask questions / participate.
    – Ticket system. At least I know which panels I can attend and not have to be in line and not get in.

    • Posted September 13, 2016 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

      So… Did you fill out the survey we sent out?

      Also, did you see how we’ve changed things for this year? (As in, we’re already doing a lot of the things you mentioned here.)

      • JasonEnberg
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

        Yeah, I replied to the survey.

        Great I’m glad to hear you had already addressed this. That was the only problem with a really great convention.

  20. 1999Brock
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    As somebody who dearly wants to go and for monetary reasons will not be able to this year, is there a way to obtain your beautiful convention T-shirts without physically being there? Or, will the same shirts be available next year?
    Thanks much!

  21. Posted September 15, 2016 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    I attended last year. I had a great deal of anxiety about it at first. Here I was in Minneapolis… why Minneapolis? And I had no one there with me. I didn’t know anyone that was attending. All I knew was that I loved listening to the Green brother’s various youtube shows and it tickled me that you and Hank would collaborate to make a convention about storytelling.

    I wanted to be there. To be at the beginning. To witness something brilliant come to life. But I also recognized that I was out of my element. I don’t like conventions. I don’t like crowds of people. It makes me uncomfortable, anxious, and stressed. Every convention I’ve ever been to I felt so disconnected with the people around me that I just wanted to escape after the first couple of hours.

    But with Nerdcon, something different happened. I quickly came to realize that I was surrounded by people that felt the way I did. We had our noses in books, we found it uneasy to make eye contact, and we just wanted to be left alone in our own corners. At lunch time each day I did something very uncharacteristic of me. I made a point of finding a table with people I had never met before. I asked if I could join. And when the moment was right I asked how the convention was going. For some reason this seemed to open the door with so many people. The more I learned about my fellow attendees the more I realized that I had come home. These were my people. This was my tribe.

    I came to the convention hoping to get inspiration for my own storytelling. Not only did I come away with that inspiration, but also the encouragement of new friends. Last year was the first year that I actually managed to complete NaNoWriMo, and it was due in large part to my experience at Nerdcon: Stories.

  22. WhatWhat
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    I attended NerdCon last year after Mr. Rothfuss posted about it. And then I found out WtNV would be there (writers and the voice actors). And then Paul & Storm would be there. I was amazed. It was worth the trip from Southern California. I am not a con-goer, but I had been to a few before back in my early 20’s. I’m now in my late 30’s. I never felt out of place, or too old. I loved this Con. When I started to get tired and done being around people, I just parked myself in the main auditorium and watched all the panels. It was perfect!

    The line was long to get an autograph from Patrick Rothfuss, but he worked very hard to see as many people as possible. I really appreciate how he goes out of his way for his fans. When it was my turn, I felt like I had his full attention and did not feel rushed. He even took an extra moment with me when I gave him a book for Oot. I was so touched.

    I also came away from NerdCon Stories with a list of authors to read. I have since read EVERY book by Rainbow Rowell.

    As soon as tickets were available, I signed up again. I booked the same hotel. I bought my plane tickets. It is worth the expense! I’m already trying to read up on all the authors attending this year. So many books to read! Love it!

  23. AWachtler
    Posted October 2, 2016 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    As an attendee of the inaugural Nerdcon: Stories, my face (also) hurt from being so happy. But it didn’t take all day to get there. My cheeks were burning by the end of the first session. Mostly because of the thoughtful, hilarious speakers, but also because I saw you (Pat) sneaking around the stage right wing to check out the show. Minutes in, and the one thing I hoped for had happened. You became a real person to me, not just a face on a dust jacket, and I had a story to tell my friends about your sly ways.

    Meeting you when you signed a copy of The Name of the Wind for our school library and hearing your encouragement when I told you I was starting my first created world novel was thrilling… and added to the face-hurting.

    I drove home with a new appreciation for the wide variety of nerdy types:

    The awe-inspiring, talented ones on stage; the fans devoted to one author or character; the travelers from all sorts of interesting places; the confident and shy; the professional and proudly amateur; the seekers; the families sharing their passions with one another; and the loners observing from the side rows, always welcome to join a conversation or food table (me).

    Did I find “my people”?


    But it turns out “my people” are more diverse than I expected.

    I encourage anyone who thinks this con sounds interesting to join us in 2016. It’s not too late to make your face hurt.

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