I arrived around 8 AM on Thursday, and helped set up the Xchyler booth. I have a story coming out toward the end of May in one of their anthologies. My notes for the first day are a little thin since I didn’t have my composition book with me, but here are some of the panels I attended.
Writing and Mental Health – It was interesting to see the correlation between being artistic or creative and having some sort of mental health issue. It’s a longstanding thing where the greatest of our artists have faced demons of some sort. It’s not limited to the great artists, but those are the ones people see. It comes down to identifying coping mechanisms, whether through medicine or cognitive therapy such as mental exercises like meditation.
Baen Travelling Roadshow – Toni Weisskopf went through a long series of PowerPoint slides showing the artwork and covers for books, and told stories about them. She discussed how they select their artists for a consistent look between all of their covers.
Using History and Folklore to Enrich Your World – This was interesting because of the tie-in to existing stories we’ve all heard. The idea that there are no original story concepts came into play, and it’s more a matter of retelling the base story in an interesting and compelling way.
|Howard Tayler moderating a panel|
Living with Mental Illness – Since I didn't take notes at this session, this one and “Writing and Mental Health” sort of blur together in my head. The subject interested me because everyone has varying degrees of challenge and difficulty in their life, so it’s merely a matter of whether it’s severe enough to require outside help and monitoring. Who do you choose while things are going well to assist you when things are not going well?
Crime: What to Get Right? – When writing about crime, details matter for realism. The challenge in my mind is that you don’t want to give idiots clever ideas to exploit just because you wanted to describe how to do something dangerous or stupid in your book. We want to create good criminals in fiction rather than cardboard cutouts who twirl their mustaches, so it turns out that it’s best to concentrate on motivations rather than specific details of how they do what they do.
|L. E. Modesitt, Jr on a panel about religion in fiction|
Religion in Science Fiction – This was the first of a couple different panels on similar a similar subject. How do you create an appropriate, believable religion in fiction? or how do you incorporate a real religion into your work? Based on what panel members had published, there’s clearly plenty of room for a positive view on organized religion in fiction.