11 September 2013

What I learned at Comic Con (part 1)

Salt Lake Comic Con had and extensive panel line up. There were so many good things to choose from it was hard to narrow the list. Here are a few of the things I learned: 

From the panel on writing steampunk: in the days before digital movies, film was still used, there would be a black dot that would appear in the upper right corner of the movie. It always bugged me and no one I ever asked could tell me what it was. Well I learned that it was a single for the projectionist to  push some buttons and pull some levers and get ready to switch reels. Glad to have that mystery cleaned up.  So this had nothing to do with writing...

From the panel on writing Middle Grade and Young Adult books:

When you are no longer a teen how do write from their point of view? You don't have to understand all 13 year old girls (because they don't even understand themselves). You just need to know your 13 year old girl, but know her real well. (I think Brandon Mull said this)

How do you know the story resonates with your audience? Run it pass a focus group. Dave Wolverton pays each young "editor" a $100. He gives them each a copy of the story, a dead line and the instruction to circle or note anything they find confusing, off base etc... Richard Evens also uses a focus group. He doesn't pay them instead he holds a pizza party where they discuss the new book and he get feed back. Jenni James uses the Wattpad web site. Others run the book by their kids.

You don't have to have romance in YA or MG stories.

AboutPortrait AboutHow do you deal with criticism in a critique group? Most of the panel does not like critique groups. A few find it helpful. One panelist said that in his group he always ignores what two people say (because after five years with the group he knows what they say is not helpful for him) and he always listens to two particular people.  James Dashner said, "In a writing group have the courage to take criticism and have the courage to reject criticism."

All the authors found having a deadline help. Stressful but without it (self imposed or external) they often tended to wander, or play video games, or tweet, etc...

More next week