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New York Comic Con 2013

On Friday, October 11th, I attended New York Comic Con! Comic Con is always a crazy, fun time, and this year was no exception. Actually, this was the best organized year yet, so maybe it was slightly less crazy than other years? For example, this year they placed microchips in the badges, and you had to tap your badges before entering the venue. When I first heard about this, I groaned and said, “It’s going to take even longer to get into the exhibit hall now!” But they actually set everything up outside of the Javits Center, where there is much more room. Better yet, there were no crazy long lines as everyone waited their turn to tap their badges. Once through, I waited my turn to enter the building, and then it was on to the exhibit hall!

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My first stop was, of course, to the booths run by publishing companies! This area wasn’t too crowded, so I was able to take my time and look at everything. Everyone there was super nice, too. For example, when I stopped in front of the Penguin booth, they asked me what I liked to read, and then went out of their way to open up a box of books so I could get an ARC of Rebel Springs. They were also giving away giant tote bags, which I grabbed and used for the rest of the day. When I passed Disney’s booth, I saw Victoria Schwab was doing a signing in a few minutes. I actually missed seeing her at BEA (her line was so long they ran out of books!), so it was nice to finally meet her and get a signed copy of The Archived.

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After that, I wandered the floor some more, looking at merchandise for sale and all the different cosplayers, before heading down to the conference rooms. I don’t know whose idea it was to have two literary panels back to back in the same room, but I want to shake their hands and thank them. For two hours I got to sit down, put my heavy bags on the floor, and listen to authors speak.

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The first panel was “Once Upon a Time in Fantasy Lit…” featuring authors Bennett Madison, C. Robert Cargill, Catherynne M. Valente, Soman Chainani, Emily Croy Barker, and Gitty Daneshvari. They introduced themselves and their books, and then went on to discuss everything from Disney animated movies to what fantasy creature they wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alleyway. As a lover of fantasy, I had a great time and wished the panel had been longer, because the authors were both interesting and informative. I’m definitely going to pick up their books in the near future!

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After a fifteen minute intermission, the next panel, “Kill or Be Killed: Crafting a Powerful Female Protagonist” started, featuring authors Amelia Kahaney, Kendare Blake, Danielle Paige, Lauren Oliver, and Lindsay Ribar. Once again, each author was introduced and talked a little bit about their books, before discussing their awesome female protagonists in their current and upcoming novels. In particular, I was very excited to hear about Lauren Oliver’s forthcoming Panic, and Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die. Both sound excellent. Ironically, they also discussed Disney animated movies. In fact, The Little Mermaid was mentioned in both panels (both favorably and unfavorably) by the authors!

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Once the second panel finished, I headed back to the exhibit hall. There was a book giveaway going on at the Harper Collins booth (spin the wheel, win a book), and I won an ARC of Cruel Beauty, a Beauty and the Beast retelling I can’t wait to start reading! I spent a little bit more time at the con (visited the Artist Alley to see all the beautiful artwork) before heading home, thoroughly exhausted. But I had a great time, and I’ll definitely go again next year!

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Distractions (the fun kind).

Progress report: I’ve managed to write every day since I started this new project on the 12th! This is very surprising, considering the distractions in my life:

I’m probably the last person alive to discover how amazing this series is! I’ve been wanting to watch it for awhile, but only just started a few short weeks ago. I’m in the middle of the third season, and hope to catch up soon. It’d be great if I could watch the new episodes as they air! But seriously, The Big Bang Theory is great. I’ve never laughed this hard over a TV show, ever.

I don’t play very many video games, but I’m a huge, huge fan of the Kingdom Hearts series. I own and played every game in the franchise, and right now I’m in the middle of their newest one, Dream Drop Distance for the 3DS (no spoilers, please!). What’s not to love about these games? Great music, a chance to interact with Disney characters and their worlds, and, of course, a compelling storyline. When I play these games, I end up devoting a few months of my life to them, trying to get every little thing so I can get the secret endings. Needless to say, this game is constantly calling to me, begging me to play it.

And, of course, books. I’m not happy if I’m not reading. I read as fast as I can, and still, my to-read list never shrinks! But I’m definitely not complaining!

So how does one compete against these distractions? My usual routine is: write first, fun stuff later. I’ll “reward” myself with some game time if I can pump out 1000 words in the manuscript. Things like that. I also find the writing itself fun, so it’s not like I’m forcing myself to get through work so I can go play. If there’s ever a time while writing where I do feel like it’s a chore, I take a step back. Churning out words just to make the word count go up does not equal good writing. If I’m not enjoying it, I probably won’t enjoy what I’ve written, either. Luckily this doesn’t happen too often. Maybe it’s all these distractions that help keep me happy!

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Music as Your Muse.

Do you listen to music while you write? For me, the answer is yes and no. Most of the time, yes, I’m listening to iTunes on shuffle. But sometimes I forget (I’m not one of those people that always has iTunes open and playing when I’m on the computer) and don’t even realize I’m writing in silence! I do prefer writing to music, but there are some times where I find it distracting. “Oh, I don’t like this song, let’s skip it. I don’t like this one either. What was the name of that song…” And the next thing you know, I’m on the internet, looking up videos on Youtube and reading about artists on Wikipedia. This is a distraction I definitely don’t need while writing! Overall, I do think listening to music helps–most of the time, anyway.

I generally listen to songs with lyrics. Sometimes if I’m writing a battle scene, I’ll listen to a movie soundtrack, but usually I’m listening to my very random playlist that consists of either Japanese pop or rock, American punk, or Disney animated soundtracks. Told you it was random! And sometimes I’ll hear a song and think, “That fits my story perfectly!” Cue playing the song on repeat. Like this:

I pretty much wrote all of The Sight Seer listening to this one song. It reminded me a lot of the main characters and the story they wanted me to tell. Will they get their happily ever after? Only I know the answer to that!

What type of music inspires your writing?