maH ghoSta’ maH leghta’ maH DIchDaq jaH

Translation of the Klingon: We came. We will go again.

I spent the last several days in San Diego.

And what a town. San Diego is a city famous for its agreeable climate, its tourist sites (SeaWorld, anyone?) and its historic Gaslamp District.

And its Klingons.

Four days in July each year, this quaint city of 1.8 million is invaded by all manner of goblins, vampires, Japanese school girls with hidden superpowers, Navi, power rangers and even the occasional Storm Trooper. Scratch that: many, many Storm Troopers. Comic Con is the intersection of hundreds of fandoms, each vying for limited space in the panel discussion, sneak peek sessions, or author signature queue that will set their hearts a blaze and induce geekspiration.

What drew me this year in particular was one hour of programming: a panel discussion on the Twilight Fanfiction community featuring six prominent writers from the fandom. As many of you know, my rebirth in writing came as a result of my participation in this fandom, and it was an honor and a delight to meet so many of these fine ladies and gentlemen in person after having online relationships spanning the last 1-2 years. (Click here for an article discussing the Twific Panel.)

As I know many of you who follow my blog are also writers, I wanted to pass along to you several things I learned the last few days that might benefit us as a community. There were many writing-specific sessions which I was able to attend, as well as observe the general trends that seems to be running through the television, movie, online and print community in the genres represented at this type of event. (And no, I don’t know how a panel from Glee snuck into the programming.)

  • Media is saturated with vampires. Several authors and publishers emphasized that the popularity of various vampire series the last few years (True Blood, The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Diaries), has pushed corporate types to an enough-is-enough limit. The blood banks are full and overflowing. Don’t try pushing any vampire fiction the next few years unless you feel you have a VERY unique twist, i.e. Dracula realizes his history of drinking blood and lurking in the shadows makes him ideally qualified to run for congress.
  • Don’t believe in stereotypes. So many Twific writers are assumed, for example, to be fat, sexually-frustrated housewives trying to relive their teenage fantasies through fiction. I’ll have you know, however, that some of writers have cheek bones that could cut glass and tower in heels (please see twific article linked above). Likewise, I walked into Comic Con expecting all manner of geek, dweeb, socially-awkward basement dwellers and D&D enthusiast. What I found was happy families, senior citizens, frat brothers, body builders, women who could walk runways in Milan, urban professionals, and everything in between. Turns out, you can’t judge a comic book by its cover.
    This is important when we try to think of our audience. Don’t write only to a target audience. Don’t be a slug, be a buck shot. Embed elements into your work that will stretch out to a large audience. And when you figure out how to do this effectively, let me know how?
    Hey, just because I see the road on the map doesn’t mean I know how to drive there.

  • Media is imploding. That’s right, IMPLODING. I mean, more like mushroom clouding. It’s turning in on itself, before expanding back out. If you’re a writer, you shouldn’t think that you’re simply writing a book. What you are writing is a multimedia package of fictional plot and promise. Your story will be a book, a website, a podcast, a video, a RSS feed, a twitter account, an online comic, a musical score, or any combination of these things. Same goes for your professional personality. You’re not just an author anymore, you’re a composer of multi-faceted media content. The proof is in the pudding here. Or, the blogger is doing the blogging, if you get my point.

    All in all, Comic Con was an unparalleled experience, one I highly recommend to anyone who can make the arrangements. If you have any specific questions, leave me a comment or tweet me at @killianmcrae.

    Till then, write long, and prosper.

  • One Comment  to  maH ghoSta’ maH leghta’ maH DIchDaq jaH

    1. Valerie says:

      Thanks so much for your update and I loved the write up – and I kind of wish I could have been there! Although there is always something else on the list to do in a given weekend! So thanks again for the reporting!! 😉

    Your two cents appreciated: