Conventions are events held in places that allow you to meet real-life heroes. Whether it’s your favorite author, actor, animator, or cosplayer, there is something about the air that breeds comfort.
I had a few moments to talk with some very inspiring individuals and ask them questions. In this article I’d like to talk about some authors in particular. Brandon Mull was one of them. He is the author of some very successful young reader, fantasy novels such as the Fablehaven and Beyonders series. When I approached him after the panel he held with Brandon Sanderson, he shared my enthusiasm about the books he created that I loved. Relating to characters and drawing lines between the writer and the writing was something that left me in awe.
Brandon Mull likes to draw inspiration from the people around him, and family in particular. If you have ever read any of the Fablehaven books, you’ll remember Seth. Seth is a rambunctious, curiosity-filled explorer that doesn’t know who to stay within the boundaries of set rules. He constantly throws himself into harms way simply because he is bored, and always makes sure to pack his kit in order to have what he needs to investigate the situation at hand. It was really exciting to learn that Seth is nearly the perfect representation of Brandon’s younger brother, and listening to the process of turning real-world inspirations into pieces of a story was fantastic.
Relating to characters and drawing lines between the writer and the writing was something that left me with awe.
To make things confusing, now I’d like to talk about Brandon. Brandon Sanderson was the other half of the Brandon and Brandon panel, and gave a very interesting contrast to the other author sharing the panel. He writes epic fantasy novels whereas Brandon Mull writes young adult or middle grade fantasy novels. They share some similar ideas but offer a lot of diversity in style, which is a relief to hear when you are someone that doesn’t follow a typical path.
Brandon Sanderson really likes to create a world first and focus on the setting of where everything is taking place. The characters become piece of the overall puzzle, and really come to fruition as the story unfolds. He writes and discovers, which all writers do, but for him it is all one cohesive picture. Character creation and setting go hand-in-hand for authors, and the big picture is something to focus on.
When John and I talked to Mr. Sanderson in person, he gave some really inspirational words. John asked simply, “How….How do you do it? Make an entire believable universe for others to be part of?” Brandon replied, “It is both easier and harder than you think at the same time.” He continued to tell us what he meant. It is easier to translate thoughts to paper than you would think. You think up plenty of awesome ideas every day, and you simply need to combine some of those ideas to make an even more interesting story. The harder part comes when you struggle putting those thoughts down. He talked about playing the trumpet as a teenager, and hearing the music he wanted to play in his head and not being able to play it out loud. “Something like that is really frustrating to have happen,” he told us. He encounters a lot of similar issues with writing, but after a while, “you get better at playing the trumpet.”
You think up plenty of awesome ideas every day, and you simply need to combine some of those ideas to make an even more interesting story.
One thing that I want to be sure and say about the authors doing signings and talking with us, is that they were, in my opinion, the most enthused and approachable people in the building. They took time for every fan standing in line, and really shared the passion of the worlds they create. Relating to everyone on such a personal level, and not the least was giving out free autographs rather than charging an arm and a leg. I’m looking at you Shatner.
It is moments like the ones we experienced with the authors that truly made FanX what it was in the end: A comfortable escape from the real world where you are able to share passions, feelings, and ideas. And a place to meet your heroes in person! Brandon Mull and Brandon Sanderson have a lot of great works that are in the process of being made. So, be sure to check them out if you haven’t because who knows, perhaps they will be able to deeply change your lives.