At this year's Balticon, I will once again be leading the Liars' Panel. The panel is a fund-raiser for Balticon's literacy charity. It works like this:
• I’ll ask ten questions (time permitting).When it works well, the panel is screamingly funny, everyone laughs, lots of people make challenges, and we raise a bunch of dough to help kids get books.
• The panelists have seen the questions in advance.
• Each panelist will answer each question.
• Three of each panelist’s answers will be lies--though if we don't get to all ten questions, you may not hear three lies from each of us. I have no way to know if you will.
• No one else knows which answers are lies; even I don’t. We have not shared our answers with each other.
• After an answer, I’ll ask if there are any challenges.
• Each person who wants to challenge may do so by holding up a hand with a dollar in it. Panelists may challenge each other.
• If the answer was a lie, the panelist puts $10 in the bucket.
• If the answer was the truth, each challenger must put $1 in the bucket.
Two ingredients are essential to the panel working well: Panelists who can be funny in a short time, and great questions.
We have the first.
Which brings me to your opportunity: We need good questions. The ideal questions let the panelists tell interesting stories from their pasts--or interesting lies.
A few questions that have worked well:
• What's the weirdest gift you've ever received?You get the idea.
• What's the oddest purchase you've ever made?
• What talent do you have that few would suspect?
If you'd like to make me deal with embarrassing questions in front of a large audience, send me some questions. I won't guarantee to use them, and I definitely won't promise whether I'll answer them truthfully, but the best of the best are likely to find their way into the Balticon Liars' Panel.