My Pal from Minnesota and More C2E2!

Initially, Laura and I were brought together again because of our mutual love for Lord Huron. While things didn’t work as planned (the tickets sold out by the time we were ready to buy them), I think we had an even more amazing time than we would have in Chicago!

I felt bad because she came in on a rainy day, and even said MN was warmer than Chi! It was still cute though, because I ran towards her with two multicolored umbrellas and when she saw me she shouted: “Zoe, I’m so excited to be here!” That entire morning, she said even though it was raining and we were in a grocery store she was excited. I confessed I was too. Who cares when you’re with your best partner in crime?

That said, I was relieved that we had C2E2 plans on a rainy day. Mother Nature couldn’t have coordinated with us better. After eating breakfast and catching up, we rode to the McCormick Place. This time I went sans cosplay (though we both got complimented on our t-shirts) and got to enjoy other people’s costumes instead. It felt weird being on the other side of things. This time I was the one who got to be excited and throw myself into the arms of the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters and hold hands with the Skeksis from Dark Crystal. And yes, we did nerd out on taking photos with awesome cosplayers. The Beetlejuice couple was another favorite of mine, which got featured in the official C2E2 Twitter video. This time I wanted to relax and enjoy the experience with my friend, plus I hadn’t got to see the artist’s alley yet, so I went lighter on the panels. That’s not to say they didn’t happen though.

The first panel we went to was “Reinventing the Heroine.” The Texan female author was the funniest of the group, and I appreciated the mixed panel of reinventing the heroine from both a male and female writer perspective.

Reinventing the Heroine

  • Consider inverting stereotypes- the example given here was a male prostitute, but essentially, break apart every male and female stereotype and mix and match those traits to the opposite gender to make characters feel more dimensional.
  • Consider modeling villain after someone you like in real life, and the hero after someone you dislike in real life.
  • Find universal commonalities. (George R. R. Martin for example explains that he always though of women a people).
  • Read widely on perspective from outside your own regular experience. One of the panelists recommended “The Fisherman” which follows four brothers in Africa. I believe she is referring to the novel written by Chigozie Obioma.

There was nothing on the agenda until 3, but I’m glad Laura and I headed out half an hour later to wait in line for “Authors of Epic Fantasy.” We had just made it to the end of the blue tape line, and there ended up being four lines just to get into this panel. There were a lot more people attending on Saturday than Friday, and by now large lines were forming ahead of time just to get into a panel. At least that meant a lot of amazing costumes!

I am embarrassed to say that for such a popular panel, one that I insisted I would run people to get into no less, I did not recognize any of the names at the panel. With a years long work in progress fantasy novel under my belt, I just really, really, really wanted to get in. All the authors at the panel however, were extremely insightful and hilarious. The four authors were: Peter V. Brett (The Demon Cycle), Kelley Grant (Demon Rising), Naomi Novik (Uprooted), and Patrick  Rothfuss (the Kingkiller Chronicles).

Authors of Epic Fantasy

  • Epic fantasy is:
    • vast world, conflict, story
    • heroic character arc
    • high stakes, rise of nations, kingdoms
    • world building, typically Eurocentric middle ages
    • breaking tropes
  • Find key points, add complexity around it

Laura and I split up at the very end, and within fifteen minutes were already missing each other. It was the first time we’d seen each other since October, but it was funny we had a three day weekend ahead of us and were already having a hard time staying apart. I decided to end my round of panels the way it started. I went to “Breaking Female Stereotypes” and was surprised to see a familiar face, Ryan who I had met the day before, introducing the panelists. I really liked the woman who worked on tabletop games. I felt the panelists got along well together and even handled an awkward moment at the Q & A session well. The comic industry is more behind than TV and movies in terms of adding variety to the female body type, or giving her a non-objectified role. The emphasis here was to give a woman agency, purpose, and layers.

The night of course, was far from over for Laura and me. After resting and catching up for a couple hours, we went straight to a friend’s birthday party. We ended up partying like the good old days, have an emotional sobby moment on the couch where we reconnected, played cards of humanity and made friends. We were considering leaving instead of going to the Owl because we planned to meet an old coworker at 9 in the morning, but as I always say, No Sleep ’til Brooklyn. And yolo. That meant climbing trees, hugging the Logan Square statue, and drinking and dancing ’til four in the morning. Scott’s shirt even got a little torn up. In all it was a very successful day and night,

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