Monday, July 25, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 - Day Four & After Action Report

You can see the signs as you arrive at the convention center on Sunday morning.  The little villages built around the convention center itself, like the real life version of South Park and the Fun Zone near the Transit Center, are gone.  Workmen are stacking the facades into the backs of trucks in preparation to haul them away.  The giant robots at the end of the road, promotion for a movie called, "Real Steel," are missing too.  Presumably they were disassembled and hauled away as well, and didn't walk away on their own.  The crowd waiting to get in, while still considerable, doesn't press upon you in the same suffocating way as they did for the last three days.  
This is fourth, and final day of Comic-Con 2011.  
My usual plan on Sunday is to see if there are any last panels I want to attend, walk around the convention floor one last time, and say good-bye to the people I know that might still be there.  This year all the people I knew left before I did, so that final walk through the thinning crowds was a nostalgic one.  
I attended just one panel today.  
Speculative Fiction
A panel of science fiction writers brought together to discuss why they write speculative fiction and what they want their readers to take from their works.  The three panelist whose work I am most familiar with were Greg Bear, Vernor Vinge and Timothy Zahn.  Also included were James S.A. Corey (author of Leviathan Wakes), Gini Koch (The Alien/Katherine "Kitty" Katt series), Ernest Cline (Ready Player One), Kristen Imani Kasai (Tattoo) and Michael Cassutt (along with David S. Goyer, wrote Heaven's Shadow).  
This panel represented something that I would like to do more often myself, get together with other writers and talk about writing and stuff.  Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy, a well known science fiction book store in San Diego, did a good job of moderating the panel, as she had other panels I had attended.  The panelists seem to enjoy the discussion and her questions to them engendered some lively exchanges.  For example, when asked about his current work, Greg Bear described it as a "short novel," reminincsent of those written during the golden age of science fiction by Poul Anderson and Roger Zelazny.  To that, Vernor Vinge quipped, "I'm trying to figure out how to write a shorter novel."  
There were two questions Ms. Hart put to the panelists that intrigued me that intrigued me the most.  The first was, "What motivates you to write speculative fiction?"  The other was, "What inspiration do you want readers to take from your work?"  I've been mulling over my answers to those questions since the panel ended.  The second one in particular seems to be an important question a writer, or any artist for that matter, should consider about his work.  Once I come up with my answers I'll post them here in my blog.  
After Action Report
Now that the convention is over, I'm taking stock of my experience to see what I gained from it.  
As I ride the train home, I can already feel myself wanting to do more.  Write more.  Submit more.  Publish more.  From that standpoint the convention is almost always a success.  I can not remember the last Comic-Con I went to where I did not feel primed and ready to get back to writing, determined do what I could to make sure the next time I went to the Con it was as an invited guest.  
This year I did pick up a couple of tricks to use in my writing.  I used something I heard in the Marv Wolfman panel to rewrite and improve a scene in a story I'm rewriting to submit.  And I set myself the goal, and with the writing of this entry achieved, of writing a blog entry for each day of the convention.  This is the something I've tried to do in the past, but this is the first year I succeeded.  
This year, though, I am going home feeling the desire to be more business like in my approach to the conventions I attend.  They are and always will be fun things to do, but I need to use them to get more of my work published.  Over the years I have left too many conventions without any genuine prospects for getting more work published and I want to change that.  
Related to that is a desire to stay closer to the convention center itself.  In recent years the cost of a hotel room in downtown San Diego has driven me to get rooms farther out and take the trolley to the convention on a daily basis.  But doing so puts a definite limit on the amount of time you can stay at the Con each day.  The trolleys only run until midnight.  If I want to attend on of the numerous parties that are had around the convention at night, I'll need to be able to stay later than I'm doing now.  
I've described the convention to others as a "geek-fest," and the people that attend it as "my tribesmen."  My goal is to be the full time village shaman and make my life like Comic-Con every day of the year.  

For anyone interested, you can see photos I took of the people in costume by clicking on this link: Comic-Con 2011 Cosplay.


Blogger slcard said...

Hey Chief!

I finally had a chance to catch up. Comic-Con sounded like lots of fun, but I'm miffed at this Village Shaman thing? Isn't being the chief enough? Oh sure, now you're magic, but what do we call the Shaman?

I read in one of the recent posts that you're planning to live more of an experimental life. Sounds a little shady to me, but I like the part about being happier. You sound happier in these posts... and funnier. Good for you!

August 3, 2011 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Erick Melton said...

Being the shaman is better. None of the pressure of actually running things. And about living more experimentally, it comes down to doing more than thinking about doing.

Happier...? Hmm... Maybe. I hope so. Trying to be too busy to notice, and maybe that's key, you think?

August 3, 2011 at 7:23 AM  
Blogger slcard said...

So long as the stuff making you so busy, makes you feel good. Otherwise, why bother?

And, okay, I'll accept the new job description of Shaman. I'll have to check with Barry to see what the proper title is for such a beast.

Oh, and I like the new photo. Cute! But I still would have prefered the one of you and Tybalt.

August 4, 2011 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Erick Melton said...

I do tend to overanalyze things at times. Maybe part of living more experimentally is accepting the results?

August 10, 2011 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger slcard said...

Bud, stop looking for results and enjoy the experiment!

August 12, 2011 at 4:30 AM  

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