From The Writers' Room Featuring Geek Actually

Cecilia Tan on Writing Geek Actually Episode 4 “The Long Con”

Writing this episode there were three moments where I suddenly connected to a character in my gut when I didn’t necessarily expect to. Those are the moments I live for as a writer, really. And as a reader, now that I think about it. A book is like a BLT sandwich. You’re in it for the bacon, but you need the bread, lettuce, and tomato to make it a sandwich. We need the whole structure to have a story that will deliver those juicy morsels in an effective way.

When I sat down to write this episode, we’d “plotted out” a lot in advance. The only way to have a team of writers work effectively together involves detailed, careful pre-planning. But knowing “the plot” isn’t the same as knowing WHAT HAPPENS. In my detailed outline, for example, I knew Elli would fly to New Orleans for the convention, Michelle would attend a BDSM workshop there, and Aditi would speak at the convention. Straightforward and easy, right?

But with Michelle and Aditi, each hits a moment that she doesn’t expect, where she’s emotionally unprepared for what she encounters at a con, while Elli’s the one who (maybe surprisingly, given how flighty she is) who IS prepared. Elli’s the one who understands the power of fantasy the most, the one who wields it like a tool. Aditi’s been so wrapped up in her writing (and writers block) that she’s forgotten it, and Michelle has been so focused on bringing other people’s fantasies into the world via publishing that she’s forgotten about her own.

In this episode I wanted to show a little bit about how a big convention is kind of a parallel universe where everything is magnified, and the whole point of going to one is that “you never know who you’ll meet.” The people you meet at a con will end up changing the trajectory of your life just by having met them. And everyone comes away from it having learned a bit more about themselves.

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