At Tracy and Laura Hickman’s myth workshop Friday, Tracy began to describe the benefit of outlines to writers by analogy: “If you hold a handful of marbles too tightly, the marbles start popping out.”

The immediate question from one witty fan: “So, the more you tighten your grip, the more marbles will slip through your fingers?”

As if this wasn’t enough to flummox Tracy, at Saturday’s “Waiting to Exhale” panel in the Writer’s Track, Tracy humorously questioned, “Has anyone ever plowed a field with a tractor beam?”

Panelist Bill Fawcett’s immediate rejoinder, “Sure, crop circles.”

Tracy’s quick defense: “Only at Dragon*Con do rhetorical questions demand answers.”

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at