|My Teen Book Con book haul. Honestly, I'm surprised I|
managed to limit myself to eight.
Continuing on from where we left off on Friday, my group split up for the next panel. My best friend's brother and I headed to the graphic novelists' room while my best friend and a friend of hers who met us there headed to the "Take Me Away" panel.
We got the better end of the stick. The girls agreed that they enjoyed their panel, but that it wasn't great. (Particularly because one author was claiming she could write a book in one draft and the others were looking at her as if she were insane and then going on to explain how writing works in the real world.)
We met up and went to the rest of the panels together, and all of the ones I attended were fantastic.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words-Faith Erin Hicks, Mark Nasso, M.K. Reed, Bruce Small
Q: What gave you the ideas for your stories?
Faith Erin Hicks answered first, explaining that she found the material for her stories through experiences she had growing up and personal things she's working through. She added that many of the more fantastical elements of her stories come out of things she wonders about or wants to explore. For instance, one of her graphic novels stemmed from her wondering why people in zombie movies seem never to have seen a zombie movie.
Mark Nasso pointed out that the longer you live, the more your experiences feed into the stories you have to tell. The battles you had to fight growing up give you new perspective and new experiences from which to draw.
Q: What made you choose comics as a medium?
Mark Nasso had always been an artist, but as he grew older, realized he had something he wanted to say and new things he was passionate about. He had a story to tell, so he started to speak.
Q: How do you develop an art style that is all your own?
Bruce Small made the argument that you generally have to get over things looking similar. Your art naturally reflects the art you surround yourself with, at least at the beginning. Most artists begin by copying and that's okay. As you develop your art, your style will present itself and will morph into something that is entirely your own.
Faith Erin Hicks added, "You want your style to reflect your voice." Increasing technical skills is important, but you also want what you do to say something about who you are.
Q: Can you give some advice for those who want to create?
Faith Erin Hicks suggested that you simply start creating. She explained that she had literally cranked out over one thousand pages of comic work before she got anywhere. In fact, she suggested that everyone do the same and every one of the other artists agreed wholeheartedly.
M.K. Reed added that there is no set path. Everyone makes their own way toward becoming who they want to be and making their art what they want it to be.
Bruce Small and M.K. Reed agreed that artists need to practice drawing everything, but they should especially work on backgrounds. Backgrounds are intensely important and can be vital in going anywhere in the comics industry.
Faith Erin Hicks finished off the answer by adding that meeting deadlines is also crucial. You can be an extremely talented artist, but if you can't meet deadlines, you won't get the jobs you're looking for. "It's art, but it's also a business."
The Power of Memory- Leigh Bardugo, Jessica Brody, Bethany Frenette, Claudia Gray, Dan Krokos, Lisa McMann
Q: Is it difficult to write a story from the perspective of the opposite gender?
Both Dan Krokos and Lisa McMann agreed that it was extremely difficult and that both constantly had to refer to teens of that gender in order to make sure things were accurate.
On the other hand, Leigh Bardugo and Claudia Gray disagreed somewhat. They suggested it was more a matter of what type of person the character was. In their experience, some men were extremely difficult to write, while others were easy. The specifics of the character made the difference.
Q: What made you decide to be an author?
Leigh Bardugo claimed that she had always known she wanted to be an author. She was always talking to herself as a child and making up stories. She simply had to make the decision that she was going to finish something, even if it killed her.
Bethany Frenette told us that she had been terrified of the dark when she was a child. To remedy that, her mother told her to make up stories until she fell asleep. She did and she's been doing that ever since.
Dan Krokos added that, for most writers, real life just isn't enough. He has always gone off on adventures in his head and wanted to live in a story. His choice to become an author was simply because he wanted more from life than to live just one.
Closing Speaker-Sharon Draper
In the closing speech, Sharon Draper talked about being a writer and being a reader. She told us that being able to write is a gift and not everyone has it, but if you do, you ought to hone it.
(Dan Krokos immediately refuted the first part of that by responding on Twitter: "Don't listen to her--anyone can be a writer #TeenBookCon.")
She went on to encourage writers to go into writing because they love it, not because they want to be famous or want to be millionaires. J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer are exceptions, they are not the rule. Many great authors are never appreciated during their lifetime and you have to be prepared for that.
In closing, she reminded the audience that putting a book together should be just as engrossing as reading it. You should enjoy what you write. If you don't, you're doing something wrong. And she finished by reminding us that the things that scare us are often the things that need to be talked about.
|Probably my favorite signed book from Saturday. She really|
liked my new tattoo (Gates of Moria) and was eager to show
me her own Lord of the Rings inspired tattoo.
Maureen Johnson told me she liked my "fancy tattoo" and had a staring contest with my shirt (which happened to be the STARE shirt with her face on it). My best friend told Robin Wasserman that she thought her hair was awesome and Robin complimented her hair in response (both Robin and my best friend have intensely curly hair--think Merida from Brave).
All in all, it was a wonderful experience and one I'm so grateful to have been a part of. I left feeling so inspired and excited about the path I've chosen for myself. (For those of you scratching your heads in confusion, I fully intend to be a published YA author one day.) It was wonderful to see such a diverse and eclectic group of people all having chosen that same path and loving every second of it. It was deeply refreshing and I can't help feeling more inspired than ever to follow my dream.