Part two of my Art of Character post will appear in May, mostly because I need a little more time to complete my own character revisions! In the meantime, today’s topic was inspired by a recent experience at Salt Lake Comic Con/FanX.
This was my first-ever fan convention. It was one of my bucket list items. I rented a table in the author area of KidCon, where kids could play quidditch, attend a princess tea party, or navigate a dragon obstacle course. I talked to children, parents, grandparents, librarians, burgeoning authors, and random conference goers. People were happy, polite, curious, kind. And their costumes were to die for! There were hordes of Hogwarts students, plenty of superheroes and supervillains—even a group of aliens from Galaxy Quest. My very favorite was The Man in the Yellow Hat.
When I had time to explore the vendor floor, I was blown away by the massive turnout, the merch, and the absolute, unabashed enthusiasm for favorite fandoms. More than once that day I commented out loud, “These are my people!”
What drives all these passionate people? I believe it’s the shared love of story. It’s like we were all walking around going, “You like stories? Hey—I like stories too!”
Story provides an endless supply of positive benefits, including inspiration, escape, exploration, knowledge, and understanding. You get heroic characters to idolize, the thrill of vicarious adventure, and the possibility of recognizing yourself in the pages of a book. Stories examine the human experience. They ask questions about who we are, who we could be, and the things we share in common.
How amazing is it to be a part of the storytelling community? To create something shiny and new where nothing existed before? No matter what genre you write or what audience you write for, there is a reader out there who will connect with YOUR words. Authors have many different reasons for writing. We have different goals we hope to achieve. But that promise of connection is something I think we all aspire to.
That day at the convention, I met a tween who had read my book and who came over to tell me how much he loved it. The moment was a true bright spot in an already memorable day. Words on a page forged that connection. It reminded me not only of why I write, but how important is it for there to be lots of writers and stories out there—to fill that vital human need for story.
Growing up, Christine Hayes loved reading stories about creatures that curl your toes and legends that send a shiver down your spine. Now she loves writing about them, too. Her debut novel, MOTHMAN’S CURSE, was released in June 2015 through Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. Christine seeks inspiration by haunting flea markets and estate sales, searching for cool vintage finds with a story to tell. While earning her degree in music she visited Asia for the first time, and later moved there with her family for several years. She has been addicted to travel ever since. Christine and her clan now live in northern Utah. Find her online at www.christinehayesbooks.com.