Had a great time at the recent Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity literary conference in Baltimore. Speakers included John Gilstrap and Jefferey Deaver, who gave informative and entertaining talks.
I had an opportunity to take part in two panels. The first panel addressed violence in genre literature. I asserted that an author can use detailed violence in quality fiction as long as the author also shows the cost of that violence–the grief, the impact on families, and even the impact on the person committing the violence. To provide an example, I read passages from a thriller that has stood the test of time, THE ILIAD, by Homer. Some of Homer’s lines are pretty darned graphic.
The second panel dealt with researching fiction. One can hardly do too much research. I suggested that a thriller author find ways to “hang around” the subject matter: go on police ride-alongs, take martial arts classes, take first-aid classes, etc. That way, you learn the lingo; you learn which questions to ask.
Planning for next year’s conference has already begun. Click here for details.