Enigmatic convention notes: How to write a graphic novel in one hour

March 11, 2013

Do you wish you had been at Toronto ComiCon this past weekend, to learn about writing graphic novels from Ty Templeton? Well, fear not, because you can copy my notes!

Warning: Notes were taken on an iPhone and have undergone minimal editing. 🙂

Comicon graphic novels

Triangle of fiction. Information. Action. Emotion.

Show the normal, change it with action. Resolving it emotionally

Intriguing normal.

Normal character, situation, event

The blankiest blank in the blank. Smartest girl in the family. Only man left in the universe

Plot. Character desires something and makes an effort

Sex, violence, suffering, wickedness, comedy and novelty

Tallest girl in the school wants to be shorter

Creepiest zombie in the graveyard wants a date with a living girl. Loneliest geek at comicon wants to become friends with Stan lee

Unexpected gain or loss- she becomes the basketball star and finds love with a tall boy

Set pieces. Scenes where the location plays a part. North by northwest

The roof, to be alone

Earning karma , rescuing cats and things from the roof

Roadblocks make the story longer and show off how the character solves problems

Money and finding a surgeon who will help her

Figure out what you want the solution to be first, then invent the fix

Tragedy and comedy. Ending in disaster, or life continues on (marriages)

Six kinds of fiction: Plot tale sketch character piece monograph

PS: I’ve got my G road test tomorrow morning, so wish me luck!

Toronto Comicon with TNG

March 9, 2013

Hey, friends and followers. I’m a bit tired after my day at Toronto ComiCon featuring most of the cast of “Star Trek, The Next Generation”, but I’ll share some of the highlights and some pictures. 🙂

Got to the Convention center around ten minutes to 11am, which was when the Con was supposed to start. It was at least 11:30 by the time I finally got onto the Dealer’s floor, and I spent nearly half an hour waiting outside. It wasn’t bone-chillingly cold today, but it wasn’t really warm either, and I hadn’t wanted to lug a heavy winter jacket around with me. Luckily, my “Can’t Stop the Serenity 2012” zippered hoodie was pretty good at keeping me warm.

I wandered around the Dealer’s room a little, picked up a flyer for the November TCON Doctor Who convention, said hi at the Toronto Browncoats fan booth, and found the one comic vendor who regularly stocks a good supply of Dark Horse graphic novel collections. Picked up Buffy Season Nine, volume 2, which I’ve been looking forward to, at a great price, and then I hurried off to a talk on “How to write a graphic novel in an hour.”

That was a great talk – there wasn’t much graphic stuff in it, except for a bit of discussion of ‘set pieces’ – scenes where the setting is important to both the plot and the character. But the guy talked a lot about fiction and plot in general, and mentioned some interesting stuff about the four other kinds of fiction other than plot – Tale, Monograph, Character Study, and Sketch. The audience really loved it, especially when he called for volunteers to judge the plots we worked out on 6 criteria: sex, violence, suffering, wickedness, comedy, and novelty.

After the Graphic Novel talk, I planned to go in for the Innerspace taping, but was tempted away by the next line, where people were lining up early for the Brent Spiner / Michael Dorn joint Q&A session. So I hurried off to the food court first – because I knew that if I joined that line, I’d be busy with Q&As for a few hours, and would need some pizza to keep up my strength.

Important Con Note: Always remember to double-check what a line is before you join it. There was a couple who got the Innerspace line mixed up wht the Brent and Michael line, for instance. I also saw a line of people mostly pointed at the food court, and figured that there was actually a long line for pizza or something else. Turned out that it was Patrick Steward photo ops. 😉

So I got into the Brent and Michael line with my pizza, ate it up quickly, and got some fanfic editing done on my Palm Tungsten – the first time I’ve used it for revision in many years now, but I think it went well. Then I got back up and they brought the lines in, and I got a pretty good seat. Michael and Brent played off each other pretty well, talking about how many hours they spent in makeup chairs over the years, and Brent did this really really good impression of Patrick Stewart.

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It’s good to be back home.

July 8, 2012

I had a great day at Polaris, but it’s nice to be back in my own apartment in Hamilton after having had so many adventures over the past two weeks, in Lawrence and Toronto.

The place was 33C when I got in, because of the summer heat and my leaving the air conditioner off to save on energy. Last I checked, the kitchen thermometer was saying 28 after a few hours of full power conditioning. 😉

A few more Polaris highlights – waiting for over an hour to volunteer help set up the autographs room, which I didn’t get a chance to because nobody showed up to unlock the room, sigh. (But I got some extra credit with the volunteer people, including a volunteer pin that I didn’t quite qualify for based on my hours. 😀 ) Got my picture taken with Miracle Laurie, had this big crazy grin on my face.

Also panels for: Ad Astra convention, Castle, Star Trek, Isaac Asimov, Chuck, and Doctor Who. And I made pretty good time driving back. I’ve been keeping track of my mileage for car trips, to help figure out how much I spend on gas going places, and from the Best Western parking lot to my building was exactly 100.0 kilometers.

Polaris 26 begins

July 6, 2012

I’m so excited to be here!

My day started back in Lawrence Kansas, before 4am local time, and has taken me through three airports, and one Swiss Chalet restaurant.

Got to the Polaris venue around three this afternoon, got signed up for volunteering though there weren’t many volunteer spots left open for today. I’ve participated in the Star Trek geek-off, come in third but very much awed at the level of knowledge shown by the winners. And I was able to watch some of the Constellation awards.



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Superstition and trying to avoid bad stuff happening

June 9, 2012

I just got back from a Browncoats Shindig at the Yonge street Elephant and Castle pub in Toronto – had a great time, met a few new people, had a great steak sandwich. 🙂

But something was on my mind the whole time, especially getting from the Union Station bus terminal to the pub and back again – not hurting my knee again.

As I might have mentioned, I managed to fall and hurt my knee twice during April – both times in Toronto. This was the first time I’ve been back to Toronto since the Avengers, and I was going to a pub in the Yonge and Dundas area – which was exactly what I was doing when I fell the last time, on my way to a Doctor Who Society of Canada pub night.

So I was being very careful of where I was stepping and my balance and and sign of weakness in my legs and if there was anything damp on the ground – which is all pretty good stuff to be aware of if you don’t want to fall down. But I also felt superstitiously that I needed to make some other change in my routine if I wanted to avoid another painful tumble.

On my way there, I took the underground PATH again, (because I’d left my shades in the car, in Hamilton, and it was bright and sunny outside,) but I especially didn’t want to go anywhere near the part of the PATH where I’d slipped on a wet floor, so I ended up taking the West route up and crossing over from the Sheraton to the Bay, instead of walking the most direct route. (I also had more than three quarters of an hour from the time I arrived at the bus station before the Shindig was supposed to start, so I was killing time a little.) And on the way back, the sun wasn’t so much a problem so I walked on the sidewalk, all the way down Yonge street.

It seems odd, to get this superstitious about something like hurting my knee, but then, I had thought I was taking reasonable precautions the last time, and then my attention slipped for a moment and I hurt myself anyway. Superstition, might be, on some level, a bit like an allergic reaction in the brain, when you want to avoid a bad circumstance or get a good outcome but you can’t be sure what patterns are important to pay attention to, so you start following all kinds of patterns even though on a different intuitive level you feel that they won’t make a difference.

At least my knee is doing fairly well tonight.

Bittersweet news for the Toronto fandom scene…

June 4, 2012

I got an email yesterday with an announcement from the TCON Promotional Society, which is the fan non-profit that runs the Polaris convention in Toronto every July, and also holds the Constellation awards to celebrate excellence in science fiction movies and television, here in Canada and around the world.

The news was disappointing. This summer is apparently the last time that Polaris will be held in its current format. TCON will be holding an event next summer, but the details haven’t been sorted out yet, and it will probably be smaller and less elaborate than Polaris.

The email didn’t go into a lot of detail about the reasons for this change, but there were some hints. The fandom scene in Toronto is growing and diversifying, and Polaris, as a big generic fan-run hotel con, is facing competition all over – competition for the disposable income of fans, for the time of their potential volunteers, possibly even for attendance with anybody who might schedule an event opposite them. And the expectations of the fans are rising higher.

I’ll miss Polaris when it’s gone. I had a great time on the two occasions that I attended, (I wasn’t really plugged into the Toronto convention scene before 2010,) and I guess I didn’t really value it as much as I could have. Since it’s been running under some name or another for 25 years, I really figured it would continue forever.

But I’m glad that I made a priority out of going to Polaris 26, even though it was a little tricky to schedule it as well as the CSSF workshop in Kansas. I’m going to have a blast, I’m going to spend money like a big shot, I’m going to rack up as many volunteer hours as I can, and I’ll go to the town hall on the future of TCON if they don’t schedule it against the Geek-off finals again. (Or if I don’t qualify for the finals this year.)

Most of all, if there’s another email that arrives in October, saying that TCON is holding a meeting in some library in Toronto to get input from the fan community, I’m damn well going to get off my butt and trek into the city for it, even if I’m not sure what I’m going to say. There were a few of those emails over the past year, and I thought about attending one of the meetings but never actually did anything about them. I don’t imagine that I could have changed this decision if I’d been part of the process… but I should have gone and spoken my piece if I thought of anything to say.

More Wizard World Toronto 2012 Memories

May 5, 2012

Previous memories.

Okay, so – the Vampire Diaries panel was a lot of fun. The panel was just Paul Wesley and Torrey DeVitto – and I think I didn’t realize for a few minutes that they were both married and castmates on the show, but it sounds like that’s a lot of fun for them. I hadn’t actually gotten to see any of Torrey’s episodes of the show at the time, because I was many months behind, though I’ve caught up to her first appearances by now, thanks to a small weekend marathon.

Jeri Ryan’s Q&A was scheduled in the same room next, and I’d heard enough to guess that Wizard World was going to enforce the ‘clear out of the room and let the people waiting in line have first choice of seats’ policy, so I actually took off five minutes early, when the volunteer mentioned that it was going to be last question, just to beat the rush – and that seemed to work pretty well, though I’m not sure if there was any chance of not getting back into the room.

Jeri was a lot of fun, telling stories about what it was like to be the new girl on Voyager and how she almost fell over on the bridge wearing a laser prosthetic piece over one of her eyes, because it took away her depth perception. She talked up her new show ‘Body of Proof’ a lot too, which makes sense because it’s still waiting on news for getting renewed. I asked her about if she felt she was typecast from having been on Voyager – “No, I feel like it gave me a lot of career opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise” – and asked about her favorite role since, which got her talking for several minutes about Leverage. I’ll have to check that series out.

My last event of the day on Saturday was a Doctor Who fan panel, which was a lot of fun. It was put on by a new fan group, the Doctor Who Society of Canada, which was apparently born at Fan Expo 2011, and they said that they’re looking for new members and had events regularly in the Toronto area.

After the panel, I hurried home so quickly I realized on the bus that I’d completely forgotten to collect the photo that I had taken with Amy.

Sunday morning, as I got off the bus at Union station, something unfortunate happened – I slipped on the slightly wet pavement and wrenched my knee. 😦 But I didn’t want to let it ruin my day, so I hurried off towards the convention center as quickly as I could manage, and soon I was in line to get back into the show. I’d inventoried my Buffy and Angel graphic novels Saturday evening, and managed to pick up several new titles, (getting a discount on a slightly worn copy of the last ‘Buffy Season Eight’) and I also remembered to get my Amy Acker photo.

Soon enough, I was headed back down to panel room B. First was the Quantum Leap Panel – Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell talking about the old days together, which was an awful lot of fun. I kept using the same trick of leaving the audience a few minutes early to get in line for the next one – hobbling actually, on my injured knee, but I managed well enough. Sean Maher’s Q&A session was next, and it was a lot of fun. He talked about some of his favorite bits of filming “The Playboy Club”, and being a part of Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado about Nothing.” I was able to ask him about his favorite moment of working with Jewel Staite – he said that moment in the Movie where Simon tells Kaylee that his one regret is not making time to be with her, and her reaction is ‘Hell with this – I’m gonna live!’ I also asked him if he had any notion of what happened next for Simon and Kaylee after the movie.

“Well, Jewel and I joked a bit about that. She said that if there was a Serenity 2, it should open with Kaylee like eight and a half months pregnant, really big. And she’s shaving Simon’s head, saying that he’s just too damn pretty.”

And the last Q&A panel of the entire con was Amy Acker. She was great, really funny and sweet, talked about Cabin in the Woods, and Much Ado about Nothing, and how she’s going to be guest starring on Person of Interest. That’s about all I can remember now – catch you later!

Somewhat faded memories of Wizard World Toronto 2012 – part 1

May 2, 2012

Because of the non-stop craziness of the A-Z challenge and continuing to do Six Sentence Sunday, I didn’t get to tell you anything about the Wizard World Toronto Comic Con, which took place April 14th and 15th. I had a really great time, (except for perhaps one moment that I’ll tell you about later,) and want to send a shout-out to the Wizard World team for a very well-run show.

I’ve been to Wizard World Comic Con in Toronto two times before. In 2010, it was actually the first fan convention I ever went to – I won a general admission ticket in a Toronto Browncoats shindig giveaway, and had a really great time, meeting Jewel Staite and Magda Apanowicz. I blogged quite a bit about the 2011 show at the time.

There were a lot of changes to Wizard World Toronto in 2012. They moved from the Direct Energy Center on the CNE grounds to the North building of the Metro Toronto Convention Center, a venue that I haven’t been to since the overcrowded 2010 Fan Expo. They also cut it down to a 2-day show, eliminating the Friday afternoon part of the schedule, and moved into April – the same weekend as the Ad Astra fan-run literary convention, actually. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t go to both Wizard World and Ad Astra this year, but I have no regrets about picking Wizard World.

I stuck with the same strategy I used in the March comic con of taking the GO bus into Toronto each day, rather than getting a hotel room downtown. I was also able to drive to the Hamilton bus station this time, in my new car, which actually made the commute a lot less stressful. I got to the South building pretty early on Saturday morning, armed with my barcode ticket printouts. It didn’t take too long to get one of the barcodes scanned and an official wristband sealed onto my person. Then helpful volunteers directed me up an escalator…

To wait in line, with the rest of the general admission peons, for the doors to the show floor to open. (Behind the advance VIP line, but they had to line up too, at least.)

But around 10 am the line started moving, and I went straight for the celebrity autograph area along the back of the floor. Not many stars were there yet, but I think there was a volunteer at Sean Maher’s booth, saying that he was on his way, so I waited around and got him to sign the two items that I’m trying to get signed by the whole Firefly cast – my Serenity blueprints book, and the graphic novel of ‘Those Left Behind.’ Waited a bit longer for somebody to show up at Amy Acker’s booth – eventually heard from somebody that her flight was delayed and she’d be half an hour – or an hour.

The rest of that morning went pretty quickly. Lining up for the photo op with Sean, by that time the word was in that Amy was on her way and a line was forming at her booth, so I joined the line, got her to sign an Angel comic and a head shot, then lined up to get my photo taken with her. I think around this point I must have grabbed a slice of pizza from the ubiquitous Pizza Pizza concession, and wandered the sales floor, looking for anything really cool I had to buy, Picked up some ‘Firefly’ promotional cards, wandered through the comic book stands looking at all the Buffy and Angel graphic novels, and realized that I had very little certainty of which titles I already owned, so I didn’t buy any that day.

I don’t really remember anything else before three in the afternoon on Saturday, which was the Vampire Diaries panel. Actually, I remember lining up for the panel shortly after two. And I think that I’ve rambled long enough for one post, so I’ll pick it up there next time!

Toronto comicon by hobbystar, day 1

March 10, 2012

I am typing this entry into my iPhone while waiting in line for a Nicole Deboer and Robert Picardo Q & A session, in the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

Con season for 2012 has officially begun.

I waited in my first line at 10:15 am this morning, for people who bought their tickets online to be let in.

It’s been crazy fun so far, emphasis on the crazy. So far I have:
Gotten two autographs from Charisma Carpenter, and one each from Robert Picardo and Kristanna Loken.
Bought my ticket for the Can’t stop the Serenity 2012 screening
Found two Angel graphic novels that I didn’t already have at the dealer stalls.
Spent eight dollars for a slice of pepperoni pizza and a bottle of water
Bought a ticket for Charisma’s photo op

I’m running low on cash, but have enough to grab some munchies before the photo op

Six Sentence Sunday is tomorrow, but I’ll have more of a Comicon report on Monday!


The Runnymede Runaround – a picture file!

October 8, 2011

I may have mentioned the Runnymede Runaround before – the Toronto Script Frenzy/Nanowrimo crew meets every other Friday evening, year-round at a Starbucks Coffee near Bloor Street and Runnymede road, if the date is an odd number. They call it ‘Odd Fridays at Runnymede,’ or OFAR.

When I first found out about OFAR, during Script Frenzy, I plugged the Starbucks address into Google maps to see how I could best get there by public transit from work, and then how to get home. The routes I got make up the basis of the Runaround – an unusual loop-the-loop that takes me through Burlington, quickly across Oakville and Mississauga to Toronto, and back to Hamilton – without much retracing, particularly because of the way the GO train and bus routes work out.

So, I thought that yesterday, as I went on the Runaround, I’d take some pictures on my iPhone and show you a bit of what it was like.

First off, the morning commute goes more or less as normal – get out of my apartment, catch a bus across the street, which takes me into Burlington along the lakeshore. Then transfer to two other buses in Burlington, one which goes up Maple street and to the Burlington GO train station, and then another quick ride a few blocks to my office. (I didn’t take any photos during the morning.)

Left the office at twenty after four or so.

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