Monthly Archives: October 2015

Shadow Digests

The Shadow, March 1945

The Shadow, March 1945

“Some pulps became digests, but there were also a few digests that became pulps. During the mid-1940s, the famous pulps The Shadow and Doc Savage were published in the digest format, only to end their long runs in the larger pulp size in 1949. Ray Palmer’s Other Worlds began as a digest in 1949 but by 1955 had converted to the larger pulp size. Fantastic Universe began as a digest in 1953, until the end of its run in 1959–60 when it converted to full-size. Publishers continued to experiment with formats for decades to come, while the last of the traditional ragged-edge pulps either converted to a new model or died out.
“In Defense of Digests” by Rob Imes
The Digest Enthusiast book one, June 2015

Crime Fiction Fix

cffixA postcard from Bouchercon 2015:
Crime Fiction Fix is a monthly online crime-fiction writing magazine and membership forum available by subscription.
•    You get to ask technical questions about forensics, police procedure and legal process and be answered, authoritatively, by experts in their fields.
•    Each issue contains a substantial, intimate, exclusive video interview with a well-known crime fiction writer (Meg Gardiner in Issue#1), giving insights into their lives, their writing and their working methods.
•    A magazine full of original articles and insights on all aspects of crime fiction writing and real-life crime fighting.
•    Accurate, up-to-date information on upcoming conferences, competitions and events in the crime-writing world.
•    An invaluable resource for all crime fiction writers and readers.

More grit anyone?

what-the-fly-sawBouchercon panel, October 10, 2015
How much grit do you want in your mystery? (paraphrased notes)
Lise McClendon (moderator), Laura DiSilverio, Frankie Bailey, Maggie King, Lynn Cahoon

What do we mean by “grit?”
LD: Language and sex.
FB: The dictionary definition is about courage.
LC: I must be the anti-grit person on panel.

Is the level of grit defined by your book’s category?
MK: I write what I want, then my publisher and I decide what category it fits into.
LC: It’s important to consider the promise you make to the reader—set expectations early on.
LD: In work for hire, the publisher sets the ”grit level” for their audience.
FD: I think the “grit level” is driven by the characters telling the story.
LM: In historicals, the times influence the language in the story.

What about readers?
LM: Largest group reading mysteries are women, 45 and older.
LD: My editor took an f-bomb out of my book, but I generally try to edit out any “issues” before I send it to the editor.
LD: I think the writer is always deciding what to include and what not to include. The interest for readers is in her character’s reaction to sex and violence, rather than descriptions of the sex and violence itself.
MK: Murders are all about relationships gone awry.

Other comments:
LD: A murder is the ultimate act of control—control over the victim. Then society steps in with the intent to restore order/control of the situation.
LC: You can’t figure out today’s world, but in fiction things are more orderly. I think that’s a big part of the appeal of fiction and mystery.

Writers and Drinks

I love these free coasters found amid the many handouts at this year’s Bouchercon. They’re another great dual purpose promotional item—and collectable too! Kudos to Elly Griffiths, Jonathan Moore, and the folks behind the Occupied Earth anthology for their creativity.

zig_zagria(However, I have to say Elly and Jonathan would do well to add a URL to their coasters. Elly’s website was easy to find, but as of this writing there seems to be no mention of The Zig Zag Girl there. It took several additional searches to verify I was in the right place. And with a name like “Jonathan Moore” do you think there could be coders, directors, or actors with matching monikers?)


Before and After Technology

Bouchercon panel, October 9, 2015
Crime, Mystery and Thriller: Writing before and after the Internet and Smartphones (paraphrased notes)
Brian Panowich (moderator), Max Allan Collins, Barbara Collins, Sam Reaves

Comments (mostly related to technology)
MAC: I work on one project at a time.
BC: Understand your readers, are they tech savvy or not so much? Try to have your story’s technical depth reflect its audience.
SR: New technology enables things that could not have gone on before. But consider its dramatic limitations—a face-to-face encounter is far more dramatic than a text exchange.
MAC: Some technology makes things happen quick and easy—a great tool to keep pacing crisp.
BC: A mother may ask her child how to use technology. Stories are about character, technology is only there for realism.

SR: With instant information (search) available, technology eliminates a lot of a detective’s footwork.
MAC: Writers too—researching an historical novel is much easier today.
SR: Web research is great, but visiting a location, interviewing people gives you info you can’t get online—it gives you texture.

MAC: Don’t get sucked into responding to negative comments or reviews. Nobody ever won an internet argument.