Skip to main content

Convention Sketches

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.


These stories were also the inspiration for my book, Lost at the Con, which you can buy from my site signed, or acquire it on Kindle and Nook.

From the moment he stepped out onto the pavement in front of the transit station he was clearly lost. He tapped out the address to the hotel into his phone with one hand and guarded his luggage warily with the other, but to no avail. Confusion washed over his face like a cold sweat and it was apparent to everyone.

“Which hotel you lookin’ for?” A voice called out from the void.

“Huh?” He looked around, wondering where it came from.

“Which hotel you tryin’ to get to,” the voice asked again, revealing itself as a lanky black man in an oversized t-shirt.

“Ummm… The Mariott.” The nerd replied, unsure of himself, his voice breaking.

“You here for the Con, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Shit, man, I could tell jus’ by lookin’ at ‘ya.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, man, come on, the hotel’s this way.”

And without a second to think better of it, the pair of them were off on their way.

“Shit, man, the look on your face, I thought you were stayin’ at some place way out of town, but your place is close, man.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah, man. So you ready to party?”

“Ummm…”

“You ever been to this Con, man?”

“No. This is my first time.”

“Shit, man. This place is a par-tay. You guys for the con really know how to party, like, it doesn’t stop, man.”

“You here for the Con?” he asked, naively.

“No, man. I’m homeless. I work the conventions now and again setting stuff up, but mostly I’m just homeless.”

“Oh.”

“This place is always better when the Con is goin’ on, though.”

“It’s a lot of fun.”

They reached the intersection and the homeless man pointed down the street to the right. “Down that way, that’s where the party is all the time. That restaurant, it don’t close. There’s a party going on there from tonight through the weekend, it’s fuckin’ kickin’.”

He pointed down the left, “Now we’re gonna cross down this street, and then your hotel is gonna be right here close. C’mon.”

And they went as soon as the light changed.

“So, man. This is it. This is you right here, man. You just head up that walkway there and you at the Marriot lobby. It’ll be a party in there all weekend, too, for sure.”

“Thanks for the help, man.”

“No sweat, man. But now that I helped you, you think you can help me out, like help me get something to eat tonight?”

“For sure,” he said and without thinking his wallet was out and he had a crisp five dollar bill in his hand.

He gestured for the homeless man to take it.

“For reals?”

“Of course.”

Thankfully, he snatched the bill and offered his hand for a shake. “Shit, man. You’re all right. My name’s Sylvester.”

He took his hand and shook it with “Andrew.”

“Andrew, you should come on down and hang out tonight, man. You’re all right.”

“Maybe. I don’t know what’s going on.”

“For sure.”

“But seriously, thanks for your help. I really appreciate it…”

“My pleasure, man. My pleasure.”

They shook hands again and parted ways, never to see each other again. Andrew left thinking, I feel like that was money well spent, what a way to start a con, and he meant it.


The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

These stories were also the inspiration for my book, Lost at the Con, which you can buy from my site signed, or acquire it on Kindle and Nook.
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

Anatomy of an Opening: The End of the Affair

Instead of breaking down a scene from a movie, this time we'll break down the opening of a book. (Previously, I've done scenes from City Lights, Citizen Kane, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  I've also broken down the opening to Starship Troopers.

Graham Greene's The End of the Affair is absolutely one of my favorite books. The writing is lyrical and story heart-wrenching and beautiful. Greene's style of writing is such that he always has me gripped, whether it's the beginning of the book or the end. And he shows you so much about the character in his opening lines.

So, here are the first two paragraphs from the book:
A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which, to look ahead. I say 'one chooses' with the inaccurate pride of a professional writer who - when he has been seriously noted at all - has been praised for his technical ability, but d…

50+ Rules and Tips About Writing I've Collected Over the Years

I have twenty or thirty notebooks and journals filled up with snippets about writing, my plans for stories, bits of dialogue, interesting ideas, plotlines, scraps of short stories, and a dozen other things. I carry one with me at all times and it takes me a couple of months to fill one up.

One of the things I've kept in one of my notebooks was a collection of writing tips and rules that I've collected over the years in my travels. From teachers, from books, from wherever. Most of my career has been spent screenwriting, so a lot of these are most applicable to that, but I wanted to present them so they might be of use to you as well.

I've never stopped collecting these over the years and I never will.

To start the list are Kurt Vonnegut's eight rules of writing. They are the first in my notebook and, I think, the most useful. I'll add a star to those I think are applicable most to screenwriting. Some of these aren't applicable to everyone in every situation, but…

Anatomy of a Scene - City Lights

We're going to break down another scene this week, and it's one of my favorites in cinema history. It comes from the ending of City Lights by Charlie Chaplin, which I think is the greatest romantic comedy ever made. 
It's a touching film from 1931 and I would make it mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to learn to tell a story.
The scene we're going to be breaking down comes from the very end of the film, so if you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it for you. Go watch the film. You can rent it for $3.99 in HD on Amazon or for free on Hulu with a free trial or plus subscription. You should just buy the Blu-ray, though. You're going to want to revisit it.
For those of you familiar with the movie, or for those of you who are going to ignore my pleas to watch it and go ahead with this post anyway, I'm going to set this clip up a bit before you watch it.
City Lights tells the story of Chaplin's Tramp and how he falls in love with a blind flower …