Making New Friends
What a blast! I’m attending Phoenix Comicon for the second year and it gets better every time. Daughter loves it, and I have to admit I’m loving it too. Along with people watching, which happens to be a peak attraction at an event like this, I also have the opportunity to learn from some great MG and YA authors. Panel discussions include Mythopic Worldbuilding, Writing for the YA Market and Making Your Fantasy World a Reality. Yesterday, I attended the Mythopic Worldbuilding, hosted by Terry Tibke, Travis Hanson, and J.S. Lewis. Great information from some awesome authors. Other authors attending the show include James Owen and Diana Gabaldon.
The best advice yesterday came from Travis Hanson…don’t make all your characters sound like you. It’s very easy to make all your characters have the same voice, which bores a reader to death. We tend to write people who resemble ourselves and it’s too easy to get into that trap. His advice? – People watch and you’ll find all different kinds of characters to draw from. Use people you know and their mannerisms to diversify your characters. This one hit home with me. I listened to him and imagined the characters in my book—making a mental note to go back and reread for just this type of consistency in voice. Big No-No. Thanks Travis!
Other great advice had to do with outlining. Each writer has a different take on outlining, but Travis, once again, made it clear that he needs to have an ending in order to keep the story on track. No need to outline everything, but at least with an ending already established, there is a destination to keep to. I realized that I had already done that since I knew exactly where I wanted my story to end. I let the characters get there in their own way, but it really did help to have that destination in mind. Without that, as all panelists agreed, a story can meander and travel all over the place, losing readers along the way.
Finally, a fascinating discussion on “stealing” vs. “borrowing” story ideas and characters from classic stories. Are these stealing or borrowing? Some books, mainly Twilight, could be a rewriting of Pride & Prejudice, as some of the authors agreed. Is that stealing? There are many stories “based” on others. It’s the retelling and the changes that make a difference.
Today, I’ll be attending the Writing for the YA audience and possibly the Fantasy World panel. Unfortunately, the second one runs at the same time as a Dr. Who panel and I have to admit—I’m a bit of a Dr. Who fanatic. I love the show and would love to see this panel. But then again, my novels don’t have a fantasy world, so I feel OK skipping this one. Travis Hanson will be at this panel and his advice is worth it in any case. I’ll let you all know what I decide later, but either way it is sure to be another great day of people watching, author scoping and fun.