Journal: Leviosa Con Day Two, 7/9/16

The second day of Leviosa Con has been a whirlwind of elation. I got some pictures and signed copies of books that I will forever treasure, and have learned so much! Most importantly, the more I listen to these authors and agents speak, the more determined I am to follow my chosen career path of writing/publishing with my Creative Writing and Marketing majors.

The first panel of the day was “Booktube Tell-All” with Sasha Alsberg. Kat O’Keefe was sadly missing from the panel due to a family occurrence. Sending prayers your way, Kat! However, Sasha Alsberg is truly inspirational. She was so sweet and down to earth. She discussed hating the word “fans” and instead called us all her “friends.” She told us to be successful on Booktube, we need to be ourselves and show our passion for what we’re discussing. I loved this panel and everything that Sasha had to say. If I wasn’t obsessed with her before, I definitely am now. (And I got to hug her and take a picture with her and Lindsay Cummings!! EEK!! MY FRAGILE FANGIRL HEART!! ❤ )

The next panel, “Advice for Young Writers,” was probably my favorite panel of the entire weekend thus far. Lindsay Cummings, Stephanie Diaz, Sarah J. Maas, and Robyn Schneider contemplated the stigma behind young, female writers, and it was fascinating to hear the panelists opinions on the subject. The beauty of the YA audience was discussed: human beings struggling to make light of themselves, to understand the world around them, through literature and escaping into better worlds than our own. YA readers are voracious, they said. Tenacious and determined, and that’s why they wrote for the YA audience. This panel truly was a celebration of proving the villains wrong, beating the odds, and following your dreams. Never has an hour of conversation made me so proud of what I love to do until now. I even got my picture with Robyn Schneider, author of my favorite book so far this year, “The Beginning of Everything.”

Next, after lunch and some book buying, I attended the YA Fantasy Heroines keynote lunch. We were served a feast of chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, salad, and baby carrot cakes and cream puffs. I definitely have a bit of a food baby now. (Worth it.) During the lunch, Alexandra Bracken, Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, and Victoria Aveyard discussed the power of the female protagonist. It was feminist, it was uplifting, it was determined, it was encouraging, it was thrilling. I clung to every word.

The third panel I attended for the day, Career Planning 101, featured information on the publishing process, agents, and self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Certainly I am now aware that an agent is necessary for you to be the best writer you can be, and I loaded up on resources for writing and publishing of all kinds. It was truly fascinating to hear about the publishing process and writing itself from an agent’s perspective.

The next panel, “The World as Character,” primarily concerned world-building and setting. Katelyn Larson, Victoria Aveyard, Alexandra Bracken, Susan Dennard, Lindsay Cummings, and Roshani Chokshi were the authors selected for this panel, and I think the choices were perfect. The authors talked beginnings and the “fleshing out” segment of world-building, how to get to that point from an image. They discussed the escalation of story and how to reflect it in your world, setting research deadlines for worldbuilding, how to research world-building as a fiction reader, and to erase fear. This was probably the single most informative panel I’ve attended so far, and I adored it with every fiber of my being.

Finally, the panel we’ve all been waiting for… “Imaginary Boyfriends.” Oh dear lord yes. The panel featured Sarah J. Maas, Sasha Alsberg, Robyn Schneider, and Jessica Watterson. The panel talked tropes, and rambled about the sexiest guys in the book world. It was hilarious, if not very insightful; I loved every moment. Sarah J. Maas was an absolute riot, even with her husband sitting in the back of the room. I was literally crying from laughing so hard.

And with eyes full of tears from laughter, I got the rest of my books signed and headed back up to the room to get some much-needed rest after an incredible day. I’ve been having such a blast and am sad that it’s almost over, but this conference has definitely been worth all the money and struggle. It truly is the greatest thing I have ever been able to participate in and I am so grateful I’ve been given the opportunity. One day more!

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