Fire alarm had me up just after midnight but I still got enough r.e.m to enjoy the morning panels, with a help from Starbucks. First one I hit was at 10 a.m. ‘You Are What You Write … or AreYou?’ A fireman writes about firemen but how much of himself is reflected in the characters – we write from our experience but often from what wish we had experienced. When good people do bad things it’s more compelling than when evil people do bad things.
I followed that at 11 a.m. ‘Reinventing History’ – how not to let historical accuracy stand in the way of a good story. Research needs are fine but I would have liked more on how not to impose today’s morals on the historical period one is writing in. There was some discussion of period use of language. Informative & encouraging.
Gout out of the hotel for lunch at Burger Bratz (or something like that). Ordinary done well at a good price. Back for 1:30 -‘Pssst, Wanna Be a Professional Author’ – a look at getting in front of an audience to present – something I have some experience in – I wanted to see how a professional coach approached this topic. He was focused and to the point. But missed a few key points, for me, mainly dress as if you mean to be there, pick material suitable for your audience, & be interested in what you read.
After that at 2:30 was ‘Old Sins Cast Long Shadows’ – who does the crime affect besides the ‘doer,’ the ‘victim’ & the ‘hero’ – i.e. what about the schoolmate of the child whose father went on a killing spree? How to tell backstory without an info dump, & other structural concerns were talked about.
I opted to skip the 3:30 panels – two in a row is my limit & I might have opted out for the 4:30 panels as well just to really relax but I had signed on to be time keeper for: 4:30 ‘The Evil Men Do.’ I was expecting something like ‘how do you write about evil’ but it became a discussion about ‘what is evil’ as opposed to how do you use cultural ills – racism, poverty – to propel your story. In some ways it echoed the first panel: When good people do bad things it’s more compelling than when evil people do bad things.
The banquet was as expected – blandly good food, great table conversation & amusing speechifying & giving out of various prizes. A full day that left me both drained & invigorated.