My weekend was a blur of costumes and amazing artwork. I attended Anime Revolution in Vancouver; a bit outside of my usual pastime activity, but I was there representing Academie Duello at a booth. At first I was a bit concerned because Anime really isn’t my thing. I was sure someone would find out that I didn’t belong.
“Hey you, the lady who looks confused and shocked, stop right there! You don’t know the secret handshake of coolness do you? Everyone get her!” – It was a real risk because I can fairly consistently identify Sailor Moon, but beyond that the characters become a blur of incredibly long hair in unnatural colours, and costumes that look really cold and uncomfortable. But I totally underestimated the experience, and overestimated the risk of being attacked for being un-cool Anime style.
I met some great people, (some I knew already, most I didn’t), saw neat costumes and got to view some truly beautiful art in the vendor’s room. I may never get into Anime, but I love to see talented people creating and being passionate and that was what the event really seemed to showcase the most. I even got a basic Anime 101 education from a few friendly volunteers. I now know who Lollipop Chainsaw is, that the main guy from Final Fantasy kinda looks like a pirate to me (but isn’t, I asked and he laughed), and that Robin (from Batman) wears black and blue now, not black and red. I also got a picture of the Master Chief from Halo (one of the two video game characters I recognized) holding one of our longswords. (His character totally uses a sword at one point in the game, which I had to remind his handlers when they argued with me. But the guy in the actual Anime costume backed me up, so everyone believed me in the end. People in actual Anime costumes totally have more knowledge authority than me, but we were both right.)
Me – “Can I get a picture of you with a sword?”
Handler – “But his character uses a gun.”
Me – “No, when he doesn’t have ammo in that one part, he gets a sword.”<I’m saying this in a voice that sounds like I have ever played Halo…I have not. But, I have watched it and the sword caught my attention.>
Handler – “Really? I don’t think so.”
Master Chief (guy in costume, totally backing me up) – “Yah, I have a sword. And an axe thing.”
Other fun things this weekend? It was my 12th wedding anniversary. I got my hair done (I look fantastic), and we went to a movie, where I totally go hit on by a hot guy (two hot guys if getting hit on by your own husband counts, and I’ve just decided it does). It was awkward because I didn’t realize he was hitting on me until I had been inadvertently flirting for a bit…then I bailed quickly, because I’m so not that person. But I was flattered. Does anyone else ever flirt accidentally? Something else I should probably work on.
What didn’t I do on the weekend? Write. Bad me, so I’m going to make up for it today. Probably… In good news the event wasn’t a total bust for writing. I’ve had a great idea for a graphic novel for quite some time, but the problem with the idea is that while I am clearly a genius in some areas, drawing is not one of them. But at Anime Revolution I saw a huge number of artists with signs up saying they did work on commission so there really is no reason not to pursue the project…maybe I can hire someone with talent to do the illustrations one day.
Graphic novels tell a story with words and pictures, and I used to think that the words were secondary to the artwork, and even less difficult to produce. After all, the art takes up more real-estate on the page. But I have recently decided my reasoning is flawed. Sure the art shows the story, but the authors of graphic novels are forced by space constraints to be efficient and, when all goes well, elegant with their storytelling. Efficiency and elegance are two things I strive for constantly (and probably will my entire life). Every time I write I am challenged to tighten sentences and paragraphs; eliminating words that are just not critical to the story.
Not all of us can be visual artists, but that doesn’t stop our participation in the world of graphic novels, and by doing so, learn some valuable lessons for other styles of writing. So, take up the challenge. Pick up a comic or graphic novel from the library or store. Then study the pictures on one or two pages (ignoring the words) and see what story-line your imagination creates from the images. Tell a story, keeping in mind the constraint of space. Read what you wrote and then re-write with the intent to be elegant and efficient in your storytelling; brutally efficient. Finally, compare your work to the words of the original author.