I found Mary Rosenblum and we had a good hour-long talk about writing and character building and getting the character on paper and just how Completely Danged Incredibly Hard it is. She has lots of experience and lots of good thoughts and ideas on approaching character and getting it to work in the story. Obviously so, because I think she's really good at it and writes the kind of character-driven SF that I want to write.
After that, I had a reflective walk to the MAX station and a reflective ride to PDX. There was then a non-reflective wait in line to get a boarding pass (note to self: Print It Out Beforehand, one way or another).
Orycon was a different kind of con for me. I basically indulged my three interests: going to space exploration panels; talking to people about how to get the character deep, strong, and on the page; and having fun.
What's funny is that I did a lot less related to writing than I've done in the past: one workshop critique, no writing panels, and I even skipped one of the ORCs. I think I'm at the point where I know what I need to get into my writing, and I don't need to re-hear that it's not there yet. No offense to the critiquers, as they did very good critiques, but it was a message I've heard before ("there's a lot of good stuff here, but ...") and that needs to be addressed.
So I think that the rest of the year will be about starting to build that ability, through both focusing on it in new writing and focusing on it when revising old stories. There are stories "on the desk" that for me have that strong emotional character core, and the core isn't on the page. I'll attack those, through a mix of rewrite and redraft, and tackle it head-on.
It's all one step at a time, mindful practice, and keep moving forward.
But now, it's pizza time.