Apologies for the delay in posting this. The STR mobile studio broke down on the way home from GGC and required a little bit of attention to get it road worthy. Luckily there was a toolbox on hand and we got lucky. But, even with that adventure, it did not dampen the happiness I felt after attending Geek Girl Con ’12!
As I mentioned before, Sunday was all about the panels for me.
I started the day with Greg Rucka’s presentation on being a male writing female characters. the basic message was “respect your characters.” He was quite critical of people who write female characters as if they were men with breasts. Gender, he reiterated, is one aspect of character. It does not define the character.
Rucka went in to detail about his process for creating characters (both male and female) and what it takes to nail down the voice and behavior of a character. He talked about the challenges of writing outside of your experience. When writing about a pilot, it would be the responsibility of a writer to research being a pilot and maybe interviewing one or two of them. The same goes for spies (although Rucka admitted that spies did not like talking much about themselves or their trade). When it came to writing women, Rucka admitted that was outside of his experience. So he interviewed his wife and close friends. Then, they interviewed him, as the character he was writing. He said that he learned so much about his character that never explicitly made it in to the book, but shaped who she was as a character.
He also blasted the audience for continuing to purchase books which they did not like.
“You are buying books that you hate and you have to stop doing that!
If you are buying the Outsiders because you love Starfire, even though that Starfire bears no resemblance to the Starfire you fell in love with, you have to stop!
They will keep publishing them as long as you keep buying them.
The language of comics is money.”
He encouraged people to seek out small press or to create their own stories. That is what will allow independent creators to make a living as well as send a message to the Big Two that THOSE are the kind of books with the kind of characters people want to read.
After the Rucka panel, I scooted over to the “Stunning Space Science: Voyager — 12,396 days and counting” presentation. Imagine a NASA scientist talking about two probes which were launched 35 years ago. Now toss that image out of your mind, because Trina L. Ray was a ball of energy as she jumped back and forth between her laptop and the screen where she would eagerly point to some amazing fact on the screen.
I have never been all that excited about space or space exploration, but after listening to her presentation I want to be an astronomer! The presentation was fascinating and she made even the smallest of details (such as the rotation of the satellite) come alive. I spent half the presentation poking my daughter in amazement as Ray spouted some fact. (Did you know that the Voyager satellite transmits information at a rate of 36 BITS per second?!?!?!) With presenters like Ray inspiring them, I think it is safe to say that we could have a bumper crop of young astronomers.
After the Voyager panel it was off to How to be a Negotiation Ninja presented by Katie Lane. Negotiation is not something I enjoy. It smells too much like conflict and confrontation. So I figured I would see what tips Lane had for me.
Lane couched most of the presentation in terms of freelancers negotiating contracts. It made sense for the crowd. However she was also sure to include information for how the techniques could be used in every day life (such as negotiating with your spouse about a new pet).
There was so much information that there was very little time left for questions. In retrospect, I thin this was a good thing. Questions in a presentation such as that would likely skew towards something very specific and potentially not as useful to the entire group. The information Lane gave definitely got people heading in the right direction and everyone left feeling empowered and ready to negotiate.
It was time for a lunch break. I ended up sharing a table with Kyrax2 (aka The Batgirl of San Diego). She was in her civilian guise and her daughter and my daughter were fast friends. We chatted the time away, talking about kids, comics, and the trials and tribulations of conventions. She was charming, eloquent, and managed to balance the demands of being a parent, a spouse, and a panelist with charm and grace. Hopefully we will be able to get together again when we are all back in San Diego.
By the time lunch was over it was time for another loop of the dealer floor before rounding up the kids (who had parked themselves in the gaming area) and heading for home. I bought several books from Jason Thompson including King of the Rpg’s (vol. 1) for my older daughter and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath for me. He was kind enough to toss in a copy of his comic Hyperborea as well as a sketch of Bold Riley (he illustrated one of the chapters of the Bold Riley book I bought the day before). It looks like I was not the only one who found his booth. I saw several people walking around with both Bold Riley and The Dream-Quest. Since GGC is definitely not a comic book convention, it was nice to see that the comic creators who had booths there were making sales.
GeekGirl Con continues to be one of my favorite cons of the year. But I think it would be even better if I stopped thinking of it as convention and think of it more of a conference. A convention conjures up images of people who have the same interest gathering together to talk about the same things and buy the same products. Whereas a conference conjures up images of people with similar interests coming together to learn and listen. Geek Girl Con is not about buying things (although I am starting the campaign now for a Gail Simone action figure). It is about learning new things, celebrating the things you enjoy, and meeting people who have similar interests. I cannot wait to go back next year!