Sunday, August 20, 2017

Shore Leave 39 - The Saturday Panels

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Woohoo! All the free books I put out evaporated. And I have a request for another copy of Human 76. I hope everyone enjoys them! 

The free books I put out at Shore Leave 39
The free books I put out at Shore Leave 39 - gone in a flash!

Group meeting image designed by Freepik
Designed by Freepik

I've been a bit busy lately, so I'm behind in posting info on the panels I attended at Shore Leave. This is all very appropriate with the panel "Your Writing or Your Life" being discussed here. So, finally, here are the panels I attended on Saturday and a few notes on each!

Saturday Panels
Scheduled times:

11:00 am Your Writing or Your Life
 1:00 pm Defending the Lighter Side
 2:00 pm The Art of Secondary Characters

Your Writing or Your Life
Writers often experience conflicts between their writing and their family and job obligations. Can one use such conflicts productively? How does one build a firewall between work and the rest of life?
Stephen Kozeniewski (M), Heather E. Hutsell, Lorraine Anderson, Laura Ware, Kathleen David

This one was more of a confirmation that other writers have the same problems I have trying to find the time to write. It was worthwhile to attend if only for that reason. They all said that people making a full-time living writing are rare; they are called unicorns. The panelists did have a few suggestions, but admitted they won't work for everyone:
  1. Having a word goal for the day is sometimes useful
  2. See your writing as something of value 
  3. Outlining works for some writers
One of the biggest factors is having family support for your writing. They should see it as a job, and that you are working. It isn't just a hobby.

When your work is interrupted it can be hard to pick up later on. Try retyping the last few sentences to get restarted.

One of the panelists said, "Remember that any amount of time can be used for writing. It takes about 15 minutes to write a page. Do it every day and in one year, you'll have a novel."

There were lots of personal stories about the difficulties each one faced when working on a story or editing. The main point is that every writer has to work around the situations that come up in life, and you have to keep writing, even if it is only a little at a time.

Defending the Light Side
In fiction, as in real life, upbeat and happy are often equated with silly fluff lacking substantial themes and intelligence. Or dismissed as childish. Those claims are often inaccurate, however.
Rigel Ailur (M), Christopher L. Bennett, Michael Critzer, Roberta Rogow, Andrew Hiller

The point of is panel is to say, "There is a place for fluff."

Whether it is a cozy mystery, a sweet romance, or just plain, silly humor, it shouldn't be dismissed, especially if it brings pleasure to the reader. There must be a balance to the amount of humor, however. If it is overdone, only the bad effects come through and the humor is lost.

Some publishers specialize in lighter writing, such as cozy mysteries. (Note: mystery writing seemed to be the focus of some of the panelists, and the genre was brought up often.) Characters like Jessica Fletcher and Miss Marple may not be realistic, but few can argue that they have not been successful—and have brought much enjoyment to their viewers and readers.

Readers often need a break from drama in either their reading or in real life. Lighter stories can bring that relief. Certain types of these stories, such as a sweet romance, can have a wider appeal and be more appropriate for a greater age range, for instance, than a steamy "adult" romance.

There was a long discussion about dark humor. One must be careful with this. There are times and places where this is appropriate, but the writer (or speaker) must know their audience. Not everything is funny for everyone, but that doesn't mean it is bad or wrong.

The Art of Secondary Characters
Supporting characters can fade into the background or steal a story. Our authors discuss how to know which is appropriate, and the craft to making such players come alive when the story needs them.
David Mack (M), Heather E. Hutsell, Richard C. White, Dave Galanter

This panel brought up the question, "How do authors decide if their secondary characters fade into the background or steal the show?"

Here are some thoughts on secondary characters:

First of all, don't hold back when creating your secondary characters. If they are strong enough, they can be put into another story or a book of their own.

There is a difference between secondary and supporting characters:
Supporting character
  1. these are more important characters in the story
  2. may appear throughout
  3. often a sidekick
  4. may be used as a POV character
  5. has agency in moving the story along
Secondary characters
  1. may only appear briefly, but more than a cameo
  2. are often used for backstory
  3. almost never used as a POV character (not in the story long enough)
  4. does not have agency in moving the story along
In a shared world, others may use your secondary characters in different ways.

Again, don't hold back with your secondary characters—they can make a good story a great story!

Up next - the Sunday panels!

© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


  1. Greetings from the UK. I enjoyed reading.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

    1. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to read it - and comment! It's nice to know somebody reads my blog!

  2. Love #1 and 2!!! The struggle is real. You know it. I know it. But here I am, out on a Saturday morning, going to work for a few hours while the kids watch television and play video games. As well, it's pizza for dinner tonight, so maybe even I'll get out for a bit later!! [can you tell my hubby is out of town. hahaha :D]

    I LOVE the lighter side!! People need to laugh, to smile and swoon and remember that life isn't all sadness and politics. I would much rather read a book that scares the bejezus out of me and then makes me chuckle on the next page as my heart pounds and I have to look over my shoulder to see what's there. <3 <3

    Happy Writing, Kevin!!
    Tweet me if you want to do a writing sprint today. I'll hop on over there.


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