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Wizard World Con Report, Part I

A backdrop with the Wizard World Comic Con Logo and the silhouette of a city.
Credit: Wizard World

I apologise for missing last week’s post. I was busy with a special writing project that was due any day and so I didn’t have time to post anything except to my Facebook page. You can visit my Facebook page for any updates in between blog posts. 

I promised you a fuller report of Wizard World Comic Con Sacramento in my last post and so that’s what I have here for you today. However, I don’t have enough time to go over all three days of the con in one post, so I’m going to break up the coverage into three parts. The con offered a lot of great events such as cosplays and panels on comic book creation, including art and writing. I’m not a costumer but I just dug seeing the people who are and that go way, way out with their apparel! And that’s a great thing. To see what I mean, check out the photos in my last post if you haven’t done so yet. 

But my favourite part about sci fi and fantasy conventions is talking to the other artists and writers as well as attending their panels. Panels by experienced writers and artists don’t only give you great tips for your own work or insight about what goes into your favourite comic book series or novel series, but they also give you motivation to create and read more. And even though this convention emphasised comic creators, many of the creativity panels--especially the ones on writing--work for fiction in any medium whether it be comics, prose books, TV, movies or even video games. So here’s the more detailed highlights of Wizard World Comic Con Sacramento that was held at the convention center in downtown Sacramento, June 17 through 19.

Day 1 of Wizard World

I don’t have a lot to say about day one, since I was only at the convention for a couple hours and only attended one panel and it wasn’t even the whole thing. I went there that late, hot Friday afternoon mostly to pick up my admission wrist band and check out the refreshing air conditioned dealers room which was almost the size of the Golden 1 Center arena. Dealer booths covered at least a good three quarters of it.

So after I looked around at some art and talked to a couple comic book creator friends at their booth, I sat down at the panel that was going at the Creative Stage set up their in the dealers room. The panel was called “From Beginning to End: The Art of Plot”. There were at least three panelists there. The main one was comic book creator Victor Dandridge and one of the others was novelist Todd Gallowglas. I did not take notes on this panel, because I was only there for about ten minutes, but I do remember Todd saying something like that one of the things he does to motivate himself to write and finish his books is that he puts his empty wallet in front of him at his work space and that reminds him of the bills he has to pay. And another panelist said that, for him, there’s no such thing as writer’s block and that it’s only a fear of writing. If I remember correctly, he said that the easiest way to handle it is to write anything no matter how much of crap it is. Whatever, I believe this approach to writer’s block and have heard of it from other pro writers. Just write the rough draft and complete it; there will be plenty of time for revision and even re-creation later.

Day 2

As far as Saturday’s writing panels I attended go, the first one was called “Modern Mythology, Classic Horror and the Devil Incarnate”. The main panelist was Richard Kadrey, writer of the comic book series Lucifer, which was no wonder they named the panel the way they did. But much of this talk discussed the dark genres such as horror and dark fantasy although Kadrey said he does not like the word “dark” because it’s a relative term and that he doesn’t like being labeled as a dark genre author. This is a problem that many writers have when their books have been published and marketed, especially famous authors because they tend to be looked at only for the genres they mostly write in. I don’t plan to limit myself to writing dark fiction or science fiction for the rest of my life, even though they’re my favourite genres and I’ll regularly write in them. But because I like literature that is dark, especially supernatural fiction, the word “dark genre” doesn’t bother me in the least.

The problem one of the other panelists, author Genese Davis, had with the genre label of “dark” was that it scares people away from buying, reading or watching things in that category. But my belief is that if it scares those people away, then that’s not our target audience and that’s probably a category of fiction not for them. That is why we classify fiction into genres. Personally, I want to know what I’m purchasing or checking out before I spend my money or time reading the book. I do read outside the speculative genre, but when I want to read in it I want to know where to find it in a book store or library.

Kadrey went on to give a really great writing tip. That tip was to that when we write to go into the project with as much ignorance as possible for better creativity. I believe what he meant by this was that if you write with as little conceived notion as possible about how you want your story to turn out, it will more likely come out as a unique piece. It goes along with my personal philosophy about writing, especially fiction writing, which is that it is a journey. It’s a trip that you take into a conceived time and space, into a setting of a sort, where you don’t know what you will come across or how you will get to the end. Approaching fiction writing in this way helps you to develop your story in directions other writers haven’t taken before and it makes it more enjoyable for you as the writer. I mean, who wants to take a trip knowing ahead of time exactly every detail they are going to see? That would be boring and unenriching.

The panel also discussed mythology in today’s pop literature, TV and movies. Richard talked about his approach to his Greek god characters in his novel, Sandman Slim. He said that every Greek deity “is a jerk” and that this makes their characters ambivalent and he wants to keep the continuity in that trait between his stories. This is why the Greek deities continue being popular in today’s story-telling because, unlike many of the other deities of mythology, they are flawed and very human-like. The difference between them and humans is that the gods are immortal and they have powers that exceed the strength of humans.

As far as the Satan character goes, Kadrey mostly talked about how the devil is depicted in his own work which is as a hero, particularly in Lucifer. So the version of his Satan derives, as he explained, from Milton’s in Paradise Lost. He discussed the Satan/Lucifer character more in his other panel I attended that day, which I will talk about in the next post.

“Circa Sixty Years Dead” Update

I just finished the back cover summary for the print edition of “Circa”. I’m going to add it to the back cover in the template and will submit the book for publication during the week. Hopefully it will be available for purchase by the next post.

Until then . . .


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