Monday, April 28, 2014

Lessons of Comic Con

I think it's pretty obvious from my blog that I write, and that one day I hope to be a published author.

What many - okay most - of you don't know is that before I got serious about writing for a broad audience, I wrote a bit of fanfiction. (I won't divulge my penname here - it's not important, and outing myself as a fanfic author should suffice. Although, it IS important to state that I will never take the stories I wrote as fic and try to pass them off as 'original' fiction. It would be a disservice to myself and to my readers - giving them shallow, underdeveloped characters - and would feel unethical.) The reason I mention this here is because the fact that I'd written fic gave me an interesting opportunity this month. I was invited to sit on a panel at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience to discuss the impact of fanfiction on the publishing world.

At first, the idea of sitting at a table to discuss fanfiction was a little...unnerving. But it was an excellent opportunity to be a part of Comic Con, so I decided to do it. What I didn't realize at the time was that there were a lot of writing panels at Comic Con. A LOT! I was excited to attend as many as I could - and none of them were disappointing.

I learned some pretty important truths during those three days, and I'd like to share them.

1.  There is nothing shameful about having written fanfiction. It was a great way to exercise writing muscles that I'd forgotten existed, provided an incredible kinship that resulted in talented crit partners, and offered a ready-made audience for someone who wanted to know if they could affect a reader with their words. (I could, and I did. It's an awesome feeling.)

2.  In meeting many other authors, some who were there to present their craft during panels or on the main vendor floor, I came to the conclusion that I AM an author. I CAN be published if I keep working, keep writing, keep the faith.  Save me a spot at a future Comic Con, I'll be joining you. 

3.  Commitment to my passion is key. I need to set aside time every day to write, to research, and to read. A completed, edited, query ready novel is my goal. I'm getting close with my latest manuscript, and I have two others on the shelf to query later.

4.  My excitement about writing is powerful, and when I share it with people I meet, it connects us. My quest is to turn that in-person excitement and energy into a query that exudes the same passion.  There's an agent out there waiting for my story, I just need to find him/her and knock their socks off with my pitch.

5.  I have an amazing support system. My husband (who prefers sports to books) attended my panel, and is behind me 100%. He tells me, "You can do anything." A couple of my kids were there, too. They feel my distraction when I'm writing, and yet, they support me.  The resolve that grows from their support is intense. I want to succeed for them, for the sacrifices they've made to allow me to chase my dream.

6.  If I quit, I'll never be published.

7.  Fans/geeks/nerds are the best kind of people. Creativity thrives in their midst.

8.  I want to sit on a panel for my own book one day. 

And on that note, I'm heading back to my writing cave. I have a chapter to finish.