23 September 2014

Takeaways from Rose City Comic Con

This weekend I went to a comic convention for the first time in my life. My concerns before the event were many: that I would feel old compared to the average convener; that I wouldn't be nerdy enough; that I would feel out of place because I wasn't doing cosplay; that I would feel overwhelmed by all the people and vendors and stuff, as I've felt at Wordstock in the past. (This last one was an especially big concern, since I've felt burned out lately and have been making a concerted effort to give myself time to recharge.)

But all my worry was, as usual, for naught. I had a wonderful time. The energy was laid-back, the other conveners considerate and inclusive, and the panels I attended fascinating. Plus I saw Hoggle and Sarah from Labyrinth! =*D

The following are some of my highlights from Rose City Comic Con. (Obviously could not share every single moment/quote because then this post would be far too long.)

Panels attended

Artists whose artwork I bought
Stuff people said that I'm thinking about
  •  It was either Chris Roberson or Joshua Fialkov who said that they feel physically ill if they go longer than a few days without writing, and if one doesn't have a similar condition, one can't be a professional writer because there isn't a good external return on investment. Breaking it down by the hour, writing doesn't pay well. So the compulsion to write must be stronger than all the good reasons not to write.
  •  When Jen Van Meter realized that the 40 pages of academic writing she was producing every few days in her PhD program was also writing, even if it wasn't storytelling. "Everything I write is writing. Everything I write is to a purpose." That's when she started self-identifying as a writer.
  • G. Willow Wilson said that, with the publishing industries being what they are, "one cannot afford to overspecialize." Many of the panelists in that discussion write in other forms besides comic books, notably blog posts, novels without pictures, and poetry.
  • "What you think you are good at and what other people think you are good at is not the same." - G. Willow Wilson
  • Chris Roberson said the best way to break into the comic book industry is to self-publish.
  • "Hire an editor. Don't not hire an editor. They're great and cheaper than you think they are." - Joshua Fialkov
  • Jen Van Meter always finds herself writing about communities that people form and how they set the rules. Is a theme that reoccurs in her work. Other panelists agreed that they keep coming back to same themes or questions, e.g. Dennis Hopeless keeps coming back to gray area between good & evil, which sometimes pisses superhero comic fans off because good guys aren't all good & bad guys aren't all bad.
  • "Writing is about truth.[...] The thing that makes stories resonate with people is the pieces of yourself that you put into it." - Joshua Fialkov. He added that people change, personal truths change, therefore one's writing voice(s) change over time. The key is to be tuned into your truth now and write from that place.
  • Maurice LeMarche said that the villain always has to believe that what s/he's doing is right or you'll end up with a one-dimensional character.
  • The discussion in the Ban This! panel reinforced/reminded me about the teaching power of story. Through stories, we as writers have a way of exploring or sharing alternative models of identity, of presenting new ways of being in and perceiving the world. And we as readers have a way of accessing these models and ideas even when our families or local communities don't offer or support them.

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