My first Comic-Con live blog!

Click to see my schedule!

Click to see my schedule!

Have I mentioned that I’m going to San Diego Comic-Con 2013?

Guess what. I’M GOING TO SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2013.

AND I’M GOING TO LIVE-BLOG IT FOR NO APPARENT REASON.

This post will be updated sporadically throughout the weekend. I’m heading out tonight, and will be there from Friday to Sunday, during which time I—being who I am—shall attempt to track down the likes of writer/director Joss Whedon (Avengers); the cast of Veronica Mars, How I Met Your Mother, and Doctor Who; authors Neil Gaiman, Marie Lu (Legend), Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me), Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor and Park), and others.

Stay tuned. Or don’t. I don’t really care, I’m going to do it either way.

FRI. 7/19:
10:00am: The car has been parked. The cape has been donned. Let’s do this.

10:25am: HOLY ACTUAL EVER-LOVING CRAP I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY MEN IN SPANDEX IN MY LIFE. Getting in line for Ballroom 20 in hopes of seeing Joss Whedon and cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

10:36am: Spotted so far (cosplay) – Hawkgirl and Hawkman, a whole group of villains from Wreck-It Ralph including a float-y ghost from Pac-Man, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, multiple Katnisses, and a couple hobbits.

10:42am: Yeah so I’m in my Batman shirt and handmade cape I wore to the Dark Knight Rises midnight showing, and I still feel underdressed.

11:03am: Spotted (cosplay) – A WHOLE CREW OF BATMAN VILLAINS IN LINE BEHIND ME. WHEEEEERE’S RACHEL.

11:25am: Spotted (cosplay) – Slutty Joker, Slutty Finn from Adventure Time, Slutty Wolverine. Get it, girls.

11:35am: Still in line, but just found out they’re not letting people go to the restrooms and get back in line. Currently rationing water like I’m in The Hunger Games.

11:47am: Spotted – a man walking around with bunny ears on his head and an extremely proud expression on his face. Pretty sure he just killed someone for those.

12:35pm: Just got into Ballroom 20, after waiting in line for 2 hrs. Prolly not leaving. Will suffer through Bones panel until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then a screening of Almost Human, and then a spotlight on Joss Whedon. My nerd heart might explode.

12:45pm: Bones actors Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz are reading a fake script as each others’ characters and everyone is laughing and I don’t know what’s happening OMG help

1:00pm: So apparently Hart Hanson just accidentally dropped a major spoiler for the future of Bones. Spoiler alert: somebody dies and EVIDENTLY IT’S SHOCKING.

1:07pm: David Boreanaz seems like the kind of bro who takes selfies at the gym.

1:27pm: Some guy just came up to the mic to ask a question and ended up fangirling – “Dr. Brennan reminds me of my wife because she’s so smart and says very insensitive things to me.”

1:47pm: MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. PRODUCER COMES ON STAGE AND TAKES OFF HIS SWEATER TO REVEAL “COULSON LIVES” T-SHIRT. ENTIRE ROOM SCREAMING.

1:50pm: Mod just got us all to chant “September 24 on ABC.” What is my life.

1:53pm: Um the entire cast is way too beautiful.

1:55pm: COUUUUUULSOOOOOON

1:55pm: JOSS JOSS JOSS IS HERE JOSS

2:00pm: OH MY FRIGGIN’ GOSH THEY’RE SHOWING THE PILOT HELP ME CAN’T BREATHE

2:46pm: Guys. We just saw the pilot ep of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I can’t. The feels.

2:51pm: Girls, you will soon know about actor Brett Dalton. Trust me on this. If you don’t watch for any other reason, watch this series for him.

2:53pm: King Joss speaks – “I have this feeling that I have not had in a long time; I have assembled this team of extraordinarily talented and soon to be very full of themselves people… I guess I’m a little excited.”

3:00pm: Looking back, I used a lot of caps. I’m definitely not sorry.

3:24pm: Okay so I’m not sure how to tell you guys this, but um…Kevin Bacon just walked into the room.

3:25pm: KEVIN BACON.

3:26pm: And Shawn Ashmore is here. My inner tween girl is having an emotional breakdown. This is The Following panel, btw. I don’t even watch this show. This was an accident.

3:30pm: KEVIN BACON.

3:33pm: You guys realize that I will never let this go right. We can actually play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon now.

3:40pm: The mod cannot talk to him without saying his full name. “So, Kevin Bacon, what about you? Kevin Bacon, what do you think?”

3:43pm: From what I’m getting from this Q&A, everyone dies in this show and Kevin Bacon is left alone with his Chinese takeout.

4:03pm: Watching the Almost Human pilot.

4:50pm: Yeah. Almost Human pretty much just blew everyone out of the water, despite its eery similarities to I, Robot. Also, Karl Urban is in the house. *grabby hands*

4:57pm: Lili Taylor talking about how her character was originally a man, but Bad Robot changed it for her. You go, girl.

4:59pm: Karl Urban on preparing for his role as futuristic cop – “I HAD TO BUY AN iPAD.” World’s tiniest violin, Karl.

5:25pm: TV favorites panel. Clark Gregg is back – “If I could work on any other show, it would have to be Girls. I want to be one of them.”

5:58pm: Joseph Morgan started an online book club and would consider writing a book one day. Joseph Morgan is perfect.

6:20pm: The King is returning.

6:21pm: Joss Whedon – “Apparently I have a problem with taking too many jobs.” Don’t stop ever okay good.

6:24pm: Joss on ever taking his stuff to Broadway – “I mean, I wear the hands of jazz.”

6:27pm: Joss – “I’m not here for your entertainment, I’m here to make you learn, and grow, and cry, and riot.”

6:30pm: Joss on the change in costume at the end of Dr. Horrible – “Well this is pretty simple, Dr. Horrible’s wearing a white coat at the beginning of the movie, and at the end of the movie he’s wearing a red coat, which means that he’s lost his virginity.”

6:32pm: Joss on his work outside of action/adventure genre – “Sometimes you can’t solve all your problems with punching. Sometimes you have to sing.”

6:34pm: Joss on his favorite female characters to write – “People like the crazies, and it’s the closest I ever get to writing free-form poetry.”

6:42pm: Joss’s brain is not a bag full of cats. It is a bag full of one-liners.

7:05pm: Joss on writing – “I write from the inside out; I always start small, I start with one character, and how that character feels in his/her world.”

7:14pm: Joss – “As always, you know what matters most… it’s me.”

7:21pm: Okay, guys. I’ve been blogging from my phone all day, and it’s about to die. I’m going to be here until 9:30 watching the world premiere of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, but I’m signing off early. To be cont’d tomorrow. I really hope this has been mostly coherent. LOL who am I kidding.

SAT. 7/20:
10:13am: Just in case you were wondering, capes are actually quite useful in terms of staying warm. Today I’m planning on walking the floor instead of sitting in one room for 9 hours like yesterday. Ha, that makes me sound so crazy. When clearly… I’m not…

11:25pm: Somehow in the past hour I have acquired 1 free ARC, 1 free Terry Brooks book, and 1 discounted Ransom Riggs book that I plan on getting signed at 2pm. I cannot tell you how heavy my bag is right now.

12:49pm: I’ve managed to plant myself in the middle of the audience for a Green Lantern comic panel, where I will stay for the next 2 hrs until Neil Gaiman shows up to talk about Sandman. The things I do for this man.

12:52pm: I’m pretty sure no one is actually here for Green Lantern. Unless Green Lantern fans just don’t believe in applause.

12:57pm: Definitely gonna sneak out at 2pm to get Ransom Riggs to sign my new copy of Miss Peregrine.

1:28pm: There is one woman (out of 9 people) on this Green Lantern panel and she hasn’t spoken a word in the half hour she’s been on stage.

1:48pm: Boring GL panel over. The only woman did not speak.

2:01pm: I snuck out and went back to the exhibit hall, and somehow ended up holding the sign for Ransom Rigg’s book signing. So if you’re here, please come line up. Because my arm hurts. And I want you to hold the sign.

2:09pm: I’m realizing that today has been one long “somehow I ended up…” moment.

2:30pm: Just met Ransom Riggs. Had no idea what to say to him, so I just stood there and smiled. He looked afraid. We’re basically best friends now.

2:31pm: HOLY EFFING CRAP TAHEREH MAFI SIGHTING.

2:32pm: Okay, Tahereh is standing right next to Ransom’s booth talking to someone else. I am working up the courage to speak to her. Currently pretending to be interested in the booth next door.

2:37pm: Um. I…am not proud of the way I just word-vomited my love all over Tahereh Mafi. But she gave me a hug and told me I was sweet and I am just so overwhelmed with feelings right now oh my Lord.

2:39pm: Now walking away in shame-triumph. And I thought I couldn’t get any crazier after Ransom.

(*My phone died at this point in the day, but fortunately [unfortunately?] for you, I took notes the old-fashioned way so I could update later.)

4:10pm: Now at the Person of Interest panel. Actors Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel just walked on stage.

4:20pm: Jim on how he plays his character – “I just………….know I’m right all the time.”

4:35pm: Michael on his real-life wife playing his on screen love interest – “It’s a really interesting acting problem, because I have to keep erasing her wife-ness in order to see her as someone I don’t sleep with every night.”

4:36pm: Michael Emerson is so eloquent and intelligent when he speaks. I would listen to him talk for the rest of the day if I could.

5pm: Next up, Revolution. I don’t watch this show, but evidently they’re blowing up Philadelphia and calling it a “good time” so now I might have to.

5:06pm: Bad Robot panels are always fun because literally no one knows anything about anything.

5:08pm: LOL guys Billy Burks just looks so happy to not be on a Twilight panel, it warms my heart.

5:37pm: Sneak peek of J.J. Abram’s new show, Believe. Looks brilliant, as per usual.

SUN. 7/21:
10:13am: Wow, today is significantly less crowded than yesterday. This could also be because everyone is in the thousand-mile-long line for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary panel in Hall H. My friend Amanda went to line up at 4am. There have apparently been people waiting since 9:30pm LAST NIGHT.

10:15am: Heading to the YA fiction panel. Gettin’ my fangirl on.

10:26am: Oh my word. The panel before is a Lego TV series panel, and they just screened the most terrifying scene from anything I’ve seen all weekend. It was like a Lego nightmare. I’m dead serious. There are CHILDREN IN HERE who loved it, and I’m sitting here, psychologically scarred.

11:01am: On the YA panel – Chelsea Pitcher, Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs, Veronica Rossi, Mark Frost, Rainbow Rowell, Rachel Hawkins, and Rachel Cohn

11:09am: Why do so many adults read YA? Rachel Cohn – “Because the books are so good.” Rainbow – “To be 15 and 16 is a very powerful time in your life. We all want to revisit it.” Mark – “We’re just writing books for intelligent people, and the rest is marketing… Reading is where your soul starts to grow.” Veronica – “We just write the story that needs to be written.” Ransom – “I think a lot of YA is written about teenagers rather than for teenagers, and adults are starting to figure that out.”

11:14am: On popularity of sci-fi? Mark – “Yesterday’s sci-fi is today’s reality.”

11:16am: How do you decide what to write about? Tahereh – “I think it would be foolish to anticipate the trend, and try to write for it. You write what you love…it’s a consequence of your life. In YA, our books always end with a sense of hope, and I think that’s because that’s what we’re always looking for in the world.”

11:20am: On finding inspiration. Rainbow – “I have to give myself permission to have ideas.” Rachel Hawkins – “I was in a very dark time in my life, so I wrote my life-raft book.”

11:22am: How do you channel the authenticity of a teen voice? Rachel Cohn – “I find teenagers more interesting to write because they’re going through the “first” everything.” Mark – “All I had to do was hang out in the chat rooms of World of Warcraft. Writers are very sensitive, and we pick up stuff that most people don’t.” Chelsea – “I wrote a book about bullying and suicide, very obviously as a reaction to the stories coming out recently. It wasn’t a conscious decision to write as a 17-year-old, that was just where the story was.”

11:28am: Listening to people who are so in love with YA fiction and writing for teens makes me so happy that this is where I have decided to make my home.

11:30am: On world-building and pre-writing. Ransom – “A lot of it is flying by the seat of your pants, and asking yourself questions, then answering them.” Rachel Hawkins – “My editor was like, ‘Well what does it say in your Story Bible?’ and I was like, ‘…’ because I TOTALLY HAVE ONE OF THOSE. I am very low tech, and I attach specific notebooks to specific books.” Rainbow – “Things take shape in at first a very vague way, and then suddenly they will solidify.” Veronica – “I did a lot of research. But I don’t know that there’s any way to plan everything, because then there’s no discovery.”

11:44am: On writing “likable” characters. Rachel Cohn – “I struggle with that, and am always wondering if it’s a reflection of me. But then I realized that I have no control over whether or not people like the character; I can control whether or not the character is relatable.” Chelsea – “I think it’s important to show that the character grows, despite their flaws.” Tahereh – “Likability is so subjective. I think there are a lot of crappy people in this world who have a lot of friends?!” Veronica – “I go for emotional truth, not likability.”

11:49am: On writing series vs. stand-alones. Rachel Hawkins – “I have written one series, and am working on my next one, and every time I’m like, ‘NEVER AGAAAAAIN I WILL WRITE WAITING FOR GODOT FOR TEENS.’ But I think kids respond really well to series because they can revisit the world, and there’s a comfort level there.”

12:05pm: Do I go get my books signed at 12:30, or do I get in line to see Neil Gaiman…3 hrs early?

12:11pm: I chose Neil. I must be certifiable.

1:11pm: In an X-Men comics panel. The panelists are taking questions, and they’re making people say their names so that we all can say, “Hi _______.” I love Marvel.

1:19pm: What super power would you have? One of the writers – “Invulnerability. To sadness.”

1:25pm: Tom Hiddleston is apparently in the exhibit hall but I can’t leave this room because then I’d give up my seat to see Neil and so my heart is slowly breaking into thousands of pieces.

1:56pm: Ben 10 panel. Just had to explain the whole show to my two friends sitting next to me. Don’t know if I feel embarrassed or proud of the fact that I even have the ability to do this.

2:42pm: Here we go, Neil. People keep telling me that there’s a line outside this room that wraps around the building. I’m GOING to see this brilliant, wonderful man.

3:02pm: NEIL GAIMAN IS ON STAGE AND I AM STILL HERE THE UNIVERSE MUST HAVE TURNED BACKWARDS.

3:03pm: Neil talking about Ocean at the End of the Lane – “It’s the most personal thing I’ve ever written. When Amanda [my wife] was in Australia making her album, I was expecting attention, but instead I got occasional texts… So I decided to write a short story for her, to make her love me. I thought, I’ll put me in it, and things that she likes in it, and even though I’m both English and male, I’ll put feelings in it, because she seems to like those… Later I sent an email to my editor to say, ‘I seem to have written a novel.'”

3:13pm: Neil on writing long-hand – “I’m never going to do that thing where I go, ‘How do you spell “parallel”?’ and I Google it, and an hour later I’m on eBay buying something I don’t need.”

3:21pm: Neil on the new Sandman – “For me it’s scary, genuinely scary. Back when it first came out in 1988, I felt like there were 150,000 people looking over my shoulder as I was writing. 20 million people now are looking over my shoulder going *makes JUDGING YOU face*.”

3:38pm: Neil on success – “My creative process stayed the same, just worrying and drinking enormous amounts of tea. My biggest fear with success is that no one will tell me if it stinks.”

3:40pm: Neil’s advice to aspiring writers- “You write. You sit there, put one word after another, go somewhere where there is no Internet, and finish whatever it is. And remember–if you’ve ever made a pancake–there’s always that first pancake, where it turns out like something that doesn’t look like a pancake, it’s lumpy, weird, and black, and you either feed it to a child or eat it yourself. Writing is like that. Rewriting is about making yourself look clever.”

4:00pm: Standing ovation for Neil. I haven’t seen an audience do this all weekend, and this one is for a writer.

4:01pm: Aaaaand now my life is complete. Comic-Con is an official success. Gonna walk the floor until I get kicked out.

5:55pm: Got kicked out. That’s the end of SDCC 2013, and–thank God–the end of this enormous, typo-ridden blog post. Thanks for reading.

Samantha Chaffin

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8 thoughts on “My first Comic-Con live blog!

  1. thejaneite says:

    Dude, I’m so jealous!! If you see Doctor Who / Supernatural people, I’ll be doubly jealous. AND JOSS WHEDON!? Dude, one word: Dollhouse/Firefly. I think that counts as one word.

    You should keep updating us. It’s terribly entertaining.

  2. C.L. says:

    I love Gaiman. He’s thoughtful and interesting and eloquent and he gives some of the best advice. Also, the YA panel sounds fabulous!

    • samchaffin says:

      Mr. Gaiman was definitely my favorite part of the con. 😀 My friends can attest to the fact that I was having a meltdown in my seat. And yes, the YA panel was also great!

  3. Kim says:

    UGGGH, AWP has nothing on Comic-Con. Of course.

    I’ve gone to some small creative writing conferences, once to the big AWP in Chicago, and a handful of anime conventions (which are always frantic, exciting, and heart-stopping). Reading your live-tweeting made me feel like I was right there with you, reliving the thrill that only cons can bring. I remember seeing these tweets a while back, but it was awesome that you put them all in one place. These were some of my favorites, that either had me snorting with laughter or in tearful awe:

    11:03am: Spotted (cosplay) – A WHOLE CREW OF BATMAN VILLAINS IN LINE BEHIND ME. WHEEEEERE’S RACHEL.

    11:28am: Listening to people who are so in love with YA fiction and writing for teens makes me so happy that this is where I have decided to make my home.

    :40pm: Neil’s advice to aspiring writers- “You write. You sit there, put one word after another, go somewhere where there is no Internet, and finish whatever it is. And remember–if you’ve ever made a pancake–there’s always that first pancake, where it turns out like something that doesn’t look like a pancake, it’s lumpy, weird, and black, and you either feed it to a child or eat it yourself. Writing is like that. Rewriting is about making yourself look clever.”

    Neil is ALWAYS full of great advice. OMG. He’s such an inspiration. I love all the reporting you did on the YA authors. There were, like, NO YA authors present at AWP… and I learned a valuable lesson that week: if you’re looking to fangirl over your favorite authors, you should probably try hunting for YA and Middle Grade themed conventions. Worth the trouble, haha.

    You need to do this again when you go to more ocnventions. You were totally coherent and entertaining 😀

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