LeakyCon 2012: Day Two

Day two started off bright and early (well, early for people who watched vampires eat placentas until 3:00 AM) with the second annual Lit Day. Or rather “Lit Track” as it was called this year as the event was expanded to a whopping two days. Seriously, Lit Day = love.

The D Word: Diversity
Moderator: Kate Schafer Testerman
Panelists: Rebecca Sherman, Jennifer Laughran, and Maureen Johnson

Kelly and Cassie-wa had big plans of waking early, showering, grabbing breakfast, and getting to this panel on time. They made it to the last 20 minutes (we blame it on Twilight). Which they were kicking themselves over, because it was such a fantastic group of authors and agents. The panelists frankly discussed problems in the publishing industry, like how does one change an industry that says black people on covers results in fewer sales? Authors want to write stories that speak to their readers, but how can they do this when others are worried about the finances? Maureen Johnson lightened the mood (of course) by talking about how one could reveal aspects of a character without it being too overt. Like how could JK Rowling have revealed Dumbledore was gay without it being awkward in terms of narrative. Her point was that JK couldn’t write about Dumbledore’s dating profile on maturewizards.com or anything like that. Diversity is an incredibly tricky concept to define and create authentically. Really thought-provoking and excellent discussion was happening, and then some over-eager Ravenclaw raised her hand. She prefaced her question by saying it may be too advanced for the panel (oooof), and then blathered about privilege. Kelly and Cassie-wa cringed a little, but the panelists were pros and answered with ease.

Stephanie and Cassie-la joined in for the Nerdfighter panel which 1. John Green could also attend this year and 2. Subsisted entirely of audience questions. Generally audience questions are boring and painful (Cassie-la once sat through the Avengers panel at NYCC and a question was literally, “Could you all say ‘Avengers Assemble’ for me?”) but it wasn’t bad for an audience run meet up/panel/thing. It’s really just always fun to see John and Hank be in a room full of other people who love them too. Highlights include John telling us his favorite Harry Potter character is Evanna Lynch and also yelling, “DAMN YOU STARKID!” (They were in the next room and excessively loud. This exclamation was met with much cheering in our room!) John was also speaking about the pressure to recreate huge successes like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. He believes, “We don’t need to have anything like this again because we have this.” Talking specifically of HP, he said “It all had to come together for the perfect storm of awesome.” And then Hank tried to explain the shape of the universe or something and most of the brains in the room exploded. Apparently the universe is like a tshirt… but multidimensional. Oh Brothers Green, we are always learning new things from you!

Come to This Panel if You Think You Hate Romance
Moderator: Margaret Stohl
Panelists
: Stephanie Perkins, Laini Taylor, Daniel Ehrenhaft

Stephanie knew immediately that she wanted to attend this panel because she definitely thinks she hates romance. (Although right before Leaky she read Anna and the French Kiss in preparation for this and loved it, so perhaps the panel wasn’t quite as necessary anymore!) Kelly doesn’t hate romance, but is intrigued in the way people really disparage the romance genre. Margaret Stohl was a hilarious moderator who kept things interesting and moving nicely. Everyone on the panel had some really cool things to say about writing romance. Stephanie Perkins was especially passionate about this topic and says she will always openly admit that the genre she writes is romance – not romance as a subgenre which most authors do. Having attended Leaky last year, we already know of Author Stephanie’s “profound romantic experience” she had in high school with her now-husband, wizard rocker Jarrod (AKA Gred and Forge), so she spoke with a lot of passion and love for romance in general. She said, “Romantic love is the closest thing to magic we have in real life.” And somehow when SHE says it, it doesn’t make you gag, it makes you think! Laini Taylor also spoke of romance in novels as an escape from “reader’s dissatisfaction with reality disorder.” We can totally dig that. Finally, the panelists came up with possibly the best idea ever – Atticus Finch: The Law School Days. We all know Atticus was a total Lothario back in the day, and we want that story!  Then someone took it too far with Fifty Shades of Mockingbird.

How Not to Get Published
Moderator: Robin Wasserman
Panelists: Jennifer Laughran, Rebecca Sherman, and Kate Schafer Testerman

Across the room with Team Cassie- GO TEAM CASSIE!- the duo learned all about the crazy things people do to try to get their novels published. Basically, it was a glorious fifty minutes of watching agents tell horror stories and give tips. I.e. Don’t stalk your agent, don’t send them possibly poisonous food stuffs/attach your query letter to a jar of stranger danger jelly beans, and don’t drive past their house and yell at them for rejecting you, forcing them to move away. There also might have been some discussions about sexy fifteen year old cellist virtuosos. Yikes!

Then it was over to our second ever Mark Reads panel! Since we didn’t get through the chapter last year, Mark again read from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: “Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs.” The audience kept a count of how many lines could be interpreted sexually. Final Total: OMG, HOW DID WE NEVER NOTICE HOW DIRTY THAT CHAPTER IS??? Seriously, there are beds and furry loving all over the place. The more you know!

Girl Books and Boy Books
Moderator: Maureen Johnson
Panelists: Stephanie Perkins, Megan Whalen Turner, Lev Grossman, John Green, and Robin Wasserman

We got prime seats for this panel, sitting right in front of the actresses from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries! These ladies are just as adorable in real life, and we scored “I ❤ Darcy” and “I Got Binged” ribbons from them. Score of the weekend? Yes? Yes. Things proceeded into the slightly more serious panel with horror stories about boys being made fun of for liking books with girls on the covers and being dragged away from ::gasp:: books from female authors! Robin Wasserman brought up the dynamic in the literary world in which a man who writes about domestic concerns or romance is groundbreaking (like Eugenides, Franzen). It’s perfectly reasonable for boys to read books about these things if written by a man. But when a woman writes of these things, a pink cover is slapped on and it strikes fear in the hearts (and genitals) of boys everywhere. The panelists then discussed whether this gender divide was a result of parenting or marketing. While they each had different opinions on the subject, they all agreed that no one ever wakes up and says, “Today I will get up and reinforce damaging gender stereotypes!” It is something that is symptomatic of the culture. The panel then brought up personal examples of how gender has influenced their reading choices. We especially enjoyed John talking about his love for The Babysitter’s Club (did anyone not love those books??), and Megan Whalen Turner’s passion for this subject was really inspiring.

Help, My Boyfriend is a Vampire!
Moderators: Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman
Panelists: Lev Grossman, Laini Taylor, Amanda Hocking, and Stephanie Perkins

Perhaps one of the more hilariously dirty panels (besides Mark Reads Fanfiction, which definitely won the “raunchiest” category.) This panel revolved around the premise that boys and girls dating supernatural entities needed advice on how to deal with their problems, Dear Abby style. Supernatural bfs and gfs included vampires, angels, zombies, ghosts and even golems (obviously the golem should use J-Date). The conversation got so ridiculous, Lev Grossman felt compelled to point out, “I WORK FOR TIME MAGAZINE.” What followed were some pretty amazing hypothetical situations including a (sexy) Chupacabra love triangle. Once Maureen and Robin opened it up to the floor for questions, the nerds were all over it and it was amazing. Right away a girl raised her hand and talked about the problems she’s having dating a Norse god. After she spoke for a few seconds, Maureen gave her a very serious Stare and asked, “Did this really happen?” If only Cassie-la had remembered to ask her question in time! Specifically, “I’m dating a descendent of angels who may or may not be my brother….”

The Game Show
Moderator: Maureen Johnson
Contestants: John Green, Stephanie Perkins and Daniel Ehrenhaft vs. Megan Whalen Turner, Robin Wasserman and Holly Black

Set in the Palace of Versailles Grand Ballroom was the Lit Track version of “To Tell the Truth” with Team Alien versus Team Chupacabra. (Yes, Team Chupacabra became a running joke throughout the rest of LeakyCon for everyone else.) Throughout the game it was reconfirmed that John Green has been writing anonymous fanfiction since becoming a published author (although he did not mention writing about Peeps),  that Megan Whalen Turner kept a bunny rabbit in her hotel bathroom at some point that weekend WITHOUT ANYONE KNOWING, Robin Wasserman doesn’t eat fruit (seriously. Not at all.), and that Daniel Ehrenhaft is awful at telling lies. According to him, Burger King fired him for stealing a salad bar based on some fingerprint analysis. CSI: Burger King?

Our very lengthy day continued with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries panel! Those girls = still adorable , and lovers of Pride and Prejudice which we always appreciate. (We would like to thank Hank Green FOR NOT creating a vlog version of the last days of Anne Frank.) Besides question and answer time we were treated to a clip of the very chiseled and deliciously douchey Wickham. If that was Wickham, what glorious specimen of the male species will they find for Darcy? (SPOILERS: It is NOT Michael Aranda.) Also a quick pop-up at the end from a barefoot Melissa Anelli, who, much like the rest of us, was disappointed they couldn’t replay the Wickham clip. 

The night ended as per usual with wizard rock. If you have never seen some published authors dancing around to it we highly suggest it. Or just watching Lev Grossman dance would also be acceptable. (Read: hysterical and amazing.) You will not be disappointed to see that man throw up some devil horns.

We were also treated to some rather impressive bar thieving by the now barefoot BROS from the night before – pictured here. Luckily they wandered away at some point so we could continue our crazy jumping and yelling to the bands in peace.

Gred and Forge was up first and it was awesome – and we love watching Stephanie Perkins rock out to her husband’s band. Lauren was amazing, adorable, and tear-inducing as always. We freaking love jumping up and down to some Whomping Willows. Although this set was interrupted, and suddenly we found ourselves at EngagementCon! As a young man called his girlfriend up on stage and dropped to one knee, literally everyone in the room just started screaming – not cheering – literally screaming in absolute joy. (And she said YES, of course!) It was incredible. Matt and crew rocked out the rest of their set and were followed by Hank Green. Highlight of this was definitely his last song, where he was joined by Harry and the Potters to make “Accio Deathly Hallows” about a million times more punk rock than it has ever been. You know, we really don’t think there are enough versions of that song…

And then, at last, Harry and the Potters really brought the floor shattering rock n’ roll. They are always epic, and this year we were again treated to Evanna Lynch on bass – this time with a version of “Louie Louie” except you know… “Luna Luna.” Obviously.

So much love to all of them!

We turned in relatively early that night compared to the one before, because the next day we would be up bright and early for more Lit Track fun, followed by all kinds of crazy ball and wrock shenanigans!!

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