Book Events, Books, Events

SDCC13: ‘When Girls Fall In Love’ book panel


LMZ_4383 copyA really popular book panel from San Diego Comic Con 2013 was the female fantasy panel titled ‘When Girls Fall in Love.” Moderated by the hilarious Sherri Smith, author of ‘Orleans’, the panel consisted of some superstar YA fantasy authors: Veronica Wolff (The Watchers series), Lissa Price (‘Starters’), Marissa Meyer (‘Cinder,’ ‘Scarlet’), Holly Black (‘Coldest Girl in Cold Town’, the Curseworkers series), Veronica Roth (the Divergent series), and Ally Condie (the Matched series).

The first question up for the panelists was about the battle of romance vs survival and which comes first. Wolff started by saying that she’s known for mostly writing adult romance novels, so romance always comes first for her. Price said that the concept for the world came first, but romance is key to the book. There’s not a lot of romance, but it’s integral to the story. Meyer says that romance was a catalyst from the start, but in book two of her series she wove it in separately. Black’s upcoming book is based on a short story, so world was established already. But without the romance, the story is so much bleaker; she says it’s also about finding someone who understands your jagged places. Roth said the main relationship in her series is a way to move the plot forward, and that so much changes regarding both in book two. Condie finished it up with saying that the premise of her books came from the question “what if prom were evil?” There’s an assumption of romance that isn’t always there. But without the romance in her stories, it would be a different book because it drives what happens. Plus, romance takes the edge off in heavy stories.

The next question was well put: all the women in these books are strong; how do the writers make her weak in the knees without making her weak? Roth says that in her upcoming book three there was some good imagery, thinking of the love interests as a collision of hard objects, and sparks fly. They don’t need rescued; they are two independent equals who collide. Meyer stated that equality is a huge thing in romance, asking what are the female character’s strengths and weaknesses, and saying that hopefully she’ll find someone who compliments her. Wolff says that her main character starts weak and grows strong, and she excavates that strength with the help of love.

Of course no panel with this set of authors would be complete without wondering about the love triangle. The moderator approaches it by asking which world would you want to be in? The guys are a guide to that world. How did the authors choose which one? Condie says that when one guy is better, it’s easy. But when both men have value, which provides angst, it’s much more interesting. She actually divided her husband’s good qualities into each of the two male characters. Price says that she put a person from life into a character, which helped. Wolff cracked up the audience by saying that her love triangle was based on experience. She continued by saying that it’s fun to play with the idea of friend vs hottie, and letting the protagonist decide.

The last question from the moderator was regarding believability in YA romance. In both YA and romance novels plotting is fast. How do they make things plausible? Meyer suggested putting them into dramatic situations, and sparks will fly. Black also talked about taking the characters to a different situation to trigger them, though there are always those people who meet and have an instant connection.

That was all from the moderator, and a few common audience questions rounded out the hour. As far as panels went, this was one of my favorites. There was a lot of laughing, insightful questions, and thoughtful answers. Every single one of these authors is excellent, I’d recommend you check them all out. Want more? Stay tuned, in the near future we’ll be posting an audio interview I conducted live at SDCC with both Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo (author of ‘Shadow and Bone’ and ‘Siege and Storm’) talking about their series. Stay tuned!

Book Events, Books, Events

SDCC13: Epic Fantasy Book Panel

LMZ_4372 copy

One of the highlights of the San Diego Comic Con book events is the Epic Fantasy panel, and like expected, it didn’t disappoint. There was a stellar line-up of fantasy authors there to talk about what puts the ‘epic’ in epic fantasy. The panel, moderated by ¬†Colleen Lindsey, consisted of Melissa de la Cruz (‘Frozen”, ‘Blue Bloods’), Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle), Daniel Abraham (The Dagger and the Coin series), Brandon Sanderson (‘Steelheart’, ‘Mistborn’), Robin Hobb (The Rain Wilds Chronicles), Raymond E. Feist (The Chaoswar Saga), and Django Wexler (‘The Thousand Names’).

Right out of the gate the moderator tackled the main question: what makes fantasy epic? Wexler started off by talking about the importance of world building, and how it allows a writer to “mash stuff together”. Feist said that he keeps all his world building in his head, but talked about how many labels are marketing driven, whereas epic is rooted in the old pulp fantasy. Hobb said that regardless of the world, she always needs to know the stories of the people’s lives in the world. Sanderson added onto that, commenting about how it was scary to build in someone else’s world, but that the characters are what it was all about for him too. Plus, epic allows him to ask “why not?”

The question evolved a bit when Abraham was up. The moderator asked him what it was like to finish a series, and he said it was a lot like high school, being happy to leave but sad to say goodbye. But stories end. Next up was Paolini, and the moderator wanted to know how the story evolved with his age. He replied that a lot of it was already established from the start, but that some things had to change as a consequence of things he created in the world. De la Cruz was asked what the difference for her in writing contemporary verses epic fantasy was, and she simply said “Dragons! Dragons are cool.” But she continued, talking about worlds, and how our world is always ending, and yet it still goes on. In her new book this shapes a scary future.

LMZ_4375 copyUp next were some comments about writing these type of stories and the importance of research. Sanderson suggested when writing epic fantasy to give the world quirks and shape the characters, and vice versa. Wexler stressed the importance of having a support structure for the story based on research, and Hobb added to this, saying that you have to know as much as the characters. She actually goes and reads children’s books on certain topics, as they have not only the basic facts, but often interesting and unusual tidbits you can’t find in large books. Feist said to fake it, and Paolini added to this, saying make sure you know enough to get by but also know how to say something with conviction. De la Cruz stated that reading is the best research, especially articles on various topics, which helped her make the future in her story more gross.

At this point the floor was opened up for audience questions. Among the common ones of “Where do you get your ideas,” and “do you listen to music when writing,” there were a few that focused more on some specifics of writing. One guy wanted to know about the physics of magic and how compatible and constrained the magic is. Also, how do authors know how much to communicate to the reader? Paolini answered first, saying that after the initial leap of faith in his books that magic exists through the manipulation of energy with the mind, the rest of it in his world follows the laws of physics. Sanderson added to this, saying that being consistent is the most important thing. If the writer establishes rules and sticks with them, they’ll be fine.

Want more? Stay tuned for more of our coverage of the book panels at San Diego Comic Con 2013, including exclusive interviews with Lauren Kate, James Dashner, and a special video interview conducted by Christopher Paolini.

Anime/Manga, Anime/Manga Events, Anime/Manga Interviews, Anime/Manga News, Anime/Manga Reviews, Events, Interviews, News, Reviews, TV, TV Events, TV Interviews, TV News, TV Reviews

SDCC 2013: ‘The Legend of Korra’ panel!

LMZ_4340 copy

For bender fans the San Diego Comic Con Korra panel is one of the highlights of the convention. Last year team members of Lytherus (specifically me and Mike) waited in line for four hours for Korra and still didn’t get in. Refusing to let that happen again I hit the lines at 5 am for the 11:15 Korra panel, and my early hours paid off.

The panel featured creators Michael Dimartino and Bryan Konietzko and producer Joaquim Dos Santos, along with the main voice actors for Korra (Janet Varney), Mako (David Faustino), and Bolin (P.J. Byrne). The main focus of the whole panel was Book Two, titled ‘Spirits’, which is set to release this September. There was general discussion about the journey the creators needed to go on to take Korra into a battle in the spirit world. Then they surprised the audience by showing the entire first episode of season two!

LMZ_4345 copy

The first episode shows life in Republic City now that the Equalists have been qualled. Mako works for the police now, and Korra is hard at work mastering airbending. Poor Bolin is all alone from the original three of the Fire Ferrets, but in typical Bolin fashion he’s working hard not to let him down. Then Korra and her friends (and yes, Mako is still her boyfriend, though it’s a bit rocky) have the opportunity to head back to her home town for a festival. Not long after they arrive they are attacked by an unhappy, aggressive spirit. Everyone tries and fails to stop it, including Korra, her father, and Tenzin, but in the end it was Korra’s uncle who managed to save the day by doing something that looked eerily like spirit bending. Earlier in the episode he was trying to convince Korra to come and learn about the spirit world from him, but Tenzin and Korra’s father adamantly refused. But after the attack Korra’s stubborn streak emerged, and she cut her ties with Tenzin (wounding him deeply in the process) and proceeded to accept the guidance of a new teacher.

To have so much happen in one episode bodes well for the rest of the season. And after the lovely treat the creators gave the audience a hint at what is to come. Most exciting about this was the revelation of the Avatar origin story.Fans are going to get to see how the first Avatar came to be. This news was accompanied by images of his animal companion, a cat-deer, and a few other cool spirit creatures. The panel wrapped up by the creators asking the voice actors general questions about how they got into this line of work and their thoughts on their characters.

All in all it was a most excellent panel. Be sure to check out the attached photo gallery to see a more detailed list of the team working on Book Two, and some image examples of new characters. And FYI, disregard the seemingly odd colors in some of the images, the photos were shot off of a screen and it registered funny on the camera.

September can’t come fast enough!

LMZ_4368 copy