Slept in a little later Saturday morning but made it on time to "Mixing Media: Print Film, TV--Authors Who Write in Multiple Media Platforms" with a fantastic bunch starting with the fantastic moderator Ellen Byron, Ann Cleeves, Gregg Hurwitz, John Sheppird, and Thomas Perry. Each of them have been involved with the process of either turning their book into TV or features or writing screenplays. Ann Cleeves said something interesting about the power of readers when asked if she ever personally wanted to translate her Vera books into screenplay format. She much preferred to keep them separate animals because they were. "Reading is much more creative then we give it credit for," she said. Each reader creates the play in their minds and she didn't want to disrupt that. There's a huge difference between print and play, much must be changed.
Writing a novel might be a solitary art form, but as Greg Hurwitz put it, a "script is an invitation to collaborate." Not only with other screen writers, but with producer and director. It's about the practicalities of putting together the live action from the written word. And Thomas Perry elaborated on this point when he suggested that you "take notes from smart people." Those you work with in Hollywood will give you "notes," suggestions, and it's a good idea to listen since they understand how much it all costs and the practicality of what needs to happen. Though Hurwitz advises not to take the notes themselves literally but to "excavate beneath the tectonics" of what the director and producer are trying to tell you.
They also mentioned a newish marketing category; "New Adult," a slightly older version of "Young Adult." These are the Young Adults that have graduated upwardly to their first job, first house, first truly adult experiences and there are books marketing to this demographic.
Then it was back to my room for a spot of much-needed writing. However, what I thought would be a simple, quiet time turned into a Preston Sturges scene. First the maid showed up. That's fine. I've worked on writing while a maid did her job around me. But I also decided to call downstairs to the front desk since some of our TV channels kept on cutting out. So they sent a man up, the world's second oldest man. An asthmatic man at that, wheezing and coughing as he did this and that with the cable and whatnot. But it still wasn't working so he called for help. I expected some young guy to pop up here. But the worlds first oldest man showed up, and they were both hard of hearing so they couldn't hear what the other was saying. I was trying to write while the conversation was going on behind me: "So I changed the cable." "Might be a good idea to change the cable." "I think I should probably replace the card." "You know what you should try? Changing the card." And it when on like that. Meanwhile, because I propped the door open, the security guy stopped by to see that everything was okay. "Come on in, it's a party," I said. Finally it was all fixed and we received free breakfast passes for our inconvenience. So that worked out!
So, still trying to write I eventually emerged again--late--to the panel called "Sex.Sex, Sex--Discuss: How Much Sex in Mysteries is Too Much?" which, you can imagine was a pretty amusing panel, especially when panelists David Corbett, L.J. Sellers, Caroline Todd, and Simon Wood were asked by moderator Jess Lourey to read excerpts of bad sex writing. Some good advice if you choose to include sex scenes:
- It must make sense--that it's all physically possible
- Don't destroy the universe ("the worlds collided in a blazing glory of suns exploding...")
- Don't use metaphor ("His turgid rod of iron...")
- And Don't do it in real time ("First he walked into the room and dimmed the lights. Next he slowly unbuttoned his shirt, first the top button...")
A good time was had by all. Too good. (Was it good for you?)
And then the interview with Toastmaster Catriona McPherson. A very funny Scottish lady with a work ethic like you wouldn't believe, and miles of awards.
After that we had a lull before the banquet where Craig and I had to arrive early to set up my hosted table.
My tablemates were good sports in wearing their crowns.
Everyone got a little castle filled with goodies, a crown, and a goblet.
We had a raffle to give away two books and an audiobook.
And there was much toasting, "huzzahing," and cheer. Thank you all for sitting with us.
So that concludes my Left Coast Crime attendance. We will be leaving early-ish tomorrow. And then back to the grind.