Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Shore Leave 39 - The Sunday 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

Okay, here are the panels I attended on Sunday and a few notes on each!

Sunday Panels
Scheduled times:

12:00 pm The Devil's in the Details
 1:00 pm Mixing and Matching Genres
The Devil’s in the Details
Writers build convincing worlds by including small details that pack a big punch. (“The door irised open.”) How does that work, who does it well, and what details are you hoarding for the perfect story?
Melissa Scott (M), Roberta Rogow, Stephen Kozeniewski, Glenn Hauman

Sneak in the small details; don't hammer them. Only hammer the points where, if they are left out, their absence will cause the reader to miss the point of the story.

An example of a small detail is how a character addresses others.

Skip details that will distract. A good beta reader can help here.

There are three areas you don't want to mess up if they are included in your story:
  1. The Civil War
  2. Horses
  3. Guns
If you get the details wrong on these, there are readers with specialized knowledge that will tear your story to pieces (some of the panelists mentioned personal experience here).

Details such as having differences within the same country in the same year can make a story seem more real to the reader.

On accents, a little goes a long way. Not every word a character speaks has to have the accent of the locale. Concentrate on the rhythm of speech.

You can write all the details in, then decide what need to come out (ones that don't help the story).

"Info dumps" are usually a bore to the reader, but may be useful in describing technology that doesn't exist.

Mixing and Matching Genres
Zombie cowboys. Superheros vs. vampires. Hard-boiled wizards. What are the rewards and perils of blurring genre lines? Does chocolate go better with peanut butter?
Greg Cox (M), Keith R.A. DeCandido, Melissa Scott, Roberta Rogow

Science fiction and fantasy work well in mixed genre stories partly because sci-fi fans will read almost anything (of any genre) if it has a sci-fi base. This is different from mystery and western fans who often want to read only "pure" forms of their chosen genre. This may be changing some for mystery readers.

While romance fans have a hard core of pure romance readers, it is another form where mixing of genres often work well. Romance lends itself to be included into many other genres (horror, paranormal, mystery, sci-fi, etc.) without feeling out of place. The only issue is which genre is dominant (which may affect how it is marketed).

Marketing was brought up more than once in this discussion. In a physical bookstore, if a book has any romance, for example, it is usually placed in the romance section. This may not be what the author wanted, but a bookstore doesn't have the space to put a book in multiple sections. This problem is somewhat eliminated with ebooks, but it still exists.

It was noted that the cover really does make a difference not only in getting a book noticed, but which readers it draws.

For mysteries, be mindful of what crimes would be committed in the period/location where the story takes place.

For all genre mash-ups, be respectful of all the genres involved.

I have to make mention of this:
While the panel was good, there was far too much giggling and joking between the panelists. There is a limited amount of time for these discussions and I really didn't want to spend it listening to the panelists laughing at jokes they were trading amongst themselves. They also started talking with, "I did a story..." too many times. It comes across as a sales pitch unless there is a strong need for the mention of their particular story. That wasn't always evident.

Final Thoughts

That's about all I have for Shore Leave 39. If there is anything you'd like to mention or for me to ask about during Shore Leave 40, please leave a comment!

© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

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