This year is the 25th anniversary of the World Horror Convention, and I’ll be in attendance in Atlanta. Really looking forward to the panels, readings, and catching up with friends. In terms of what I’m doing, there’s a panel on research, and I’ve also organized a group reading that may be of interest…
Friday, May 8
5-6 PM Panel: SCAREBIZ: Just the Facts, Monster: How to Dig Deeper than the Internet for Accurate Storytelling – R’LYEH
An incorrect fact or detail in a story can pull a reader right out of your narrative and destroy the impact of an otherwise excellent piece of fiction. Writers who also are research professionals (librarians, archivists or journalists) share their insider tips to help you avoid the factcheck trap.
Topics cover will include Net and bricks-and-mortar resources you may not know about, how to approach experts, how to vet sources, maximizing a trip to an archives or library, and more? What was their greatest research challenge and how did they solve it?
Moderator: J. T. Glover. Panelists: Courtney Alameda, James Dorr, Cynthia Lott, Loren Rhoads, Matthew Weber
Saturday, May 9
10 AM Dead in the Morning
Group reading featuring Jesse Bullington, Selena Chambers, Orrin Grey, J.T. Glover, and Molly Tanzer. Location TBA.
Following the photo shoot, the author was heard to shout “now give me back my goddamn whiskey, or you’re getting written into the novel.”
As previously advertised, yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of speaking at VCU on a panel about research for creative writing. The weather here wasn’t blizzard-in-Atlanta bad, but the university opened late, it was cold, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if we’d had no attendees at all. Instead, there were more audience members than panelists. It was like a dream come true. The panelists warmed up by swapping stories with each other about encounters with vermin, after which historical and market research were a breeze.
My co-panelists were a lively and interesting bunch, each with great tips and stories to tell. Lindsay Chudzik talked about how much is too much, up to and including a detailed discussion of when and how to engage with seedy hotels, and what they can teach. Mary-Chris Escobar discussed writing close to home, as well as dropping a lot of knowledge about what’s actually involved in becoming your own publisher. Mark Meier talked about the treadmill of freelancing, and he warmed my librarian heart by talking about using both microfilm and government documents to add verisimilitude. Sarah Pezzat detailed deep-diving into your subject and interviewing people, as well as talking about when and why it is appropriate to taste-test celluloid.
Like a lot of things in life, it didn’t start with a flourish of trumpets or end with a crash of cymbals, but it was the first event where I appeared as an author with billing. Of course, given it was at the university where I work, I was juggling hats a little bit, but I’m getting more comfortable with that. On which note, let me don one more hat and say that if you’re in the Richmond and want to learn about self-publishing, check out JRW‘s January Writing Show, Great Expectations: The Realities of Self-Publishing, at The Camel at 6:30.
For the curious, here’s the flier we used to advertise, along with a few basic research resources: rev.handouts.
If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia area tomorrow, January 29th, come to VCU and hear writers talk about their research! Lindsay Chudzik, Mary-Chris Escobar, Sarah Pezzat, Mark Meier, and I will conduct a panel discussion on using research in both fiction and non-fiction creative writing. Free and open to the public. At VCU’s University Student Commons, Forum Room, 907 Floyd Ave, at 4:30 p.m. Curious for more about research & writing? Check out this post about research by Mark Meier.