As many of you know, I went to Anomaly Con, Denver’s only Steampunk convention recently. One of the things I did was sit in on author panels. I had a great time and learned a lot of things and wanted to share some of it with you, my lovely readers.
There were several successful authors at the con, including the highly successful Kevin J. Anderson. One of the panels was the business of being an author. The biggest thing I took away from that is that I’m doing things at least sort of right. LOL. Despite not having an agent yet, etc, my attitude is at least where it should be. I treat writing like a job, even though I have a full time job. I get up and work on writing stuff before work, and my weekends are full of writing, editing, etc. It is a rare day indeed, when I’m not working on writing stuff or plotting or whatever. So if you’re going to be a successful author, treat it like a job, cause it is one.
The other panel I took a lot away from was the “free for all” where several authors were given a minute to answer a question thrown out to everyone. Many of the questions were just “fun” questions like where’s the strangest place you’ve had an idea for a story, things like that. The question that entertained me the most was “what genre do you think is dead and what do you think could be done to fix it?” I didn’t take exact notes so my answers will be paraphrased of course. The caveat to that question was… besides vampires.
The most humorous answer was political biographies. The answer on how to fix it… kill the protagonist. Someone said they thought fantasy was dead but then along comes G.R.R. Martin and his Song of Ice and Fire series. Other people mentioned spicing up Star Wars by killing main characters (this begins with the Yuuzhan Vong invasion in the extended universe). There were other things mentioned but one of the solutions to “fixing” genres was genre mashups, and it was hypothesized that perhaps it isn’t a specific genre that is dead, but more the idea of a pure genre that is dead and the old definitions don’t work well anymore. For example, Steampunk is fantasy, history, alternate history, sometimes western, etc. One of the authors, David Boop, writes weird westerns, so something like Wild Wild West, the old TV show. Kevin J. Anderson’s Captain Nemo got rejected something like 16 times before it was accepted because it’s alternate history, and Steampunkish and mainstream publishers didn’t know what to do with it. These days the stories that cross genres are becoming more and more popular. Although Cyberpunk was one of the genres mentioned as dead, and they didn’t have an idea how to fix that one. They also mentioned zombies, and I wanted to tell them to go read Rusty Fisher’s books, but it wasn’t quite the time. LOL. Many of the books I’ve read recently seem to be mashups. Things like Ms. Novek’s Temeraire series about a dragon during the Napoleonic wars. I even think that Urban Fantasy started out as a genre mashup. So what’s the next big mashup? Ideas anyone? I’m hoping for contemporary horse fantasy. LOL.