Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paneling for Writers

By Steve Weddle

So tomorrow I'll be moderating a panel at the Virginia Literary Festival's Mystery Day at the Library of Virginia.

The topic is "Amateurs vs Professionals" with the authors are JB Stanley/Ellery Adams, Andy Straka, and Jan Neuharth.

I want to do a great job, of course. I want to give the authors the best shot at sharing their work with the audience, at talking about what it is they want to discuss. These panels are a great opportunity for writers and readers to connect.

So I asked some pals for discussion/question ideas. Here's some of what I got:

> Where do your ideas come from? (Hahaha. That will KILL!)

> How do you respond to the criticism of your latest book, that it was the "grossest case of racism and homophobia written in the last 100 years," according to the Des Moines Register? (Don't worry about making this up. No one reads the DMR anymore so they won't know it's fake.)

> How much money do you make as a writer?

> If you were forced to read a novel by one of the other panelists or have a finger cut off, which would it be? And which finger would you choose?

> Not counting your spouse, how many people have you slept with?

> Were you sad when NEEDLE magazine rejected your story?

> My blog posts on DSD always suck. Would you like to guest post next week?

> Can I get you all to blurb my next book? It's about a cat.

> Not counting me, who in this room do you find the most attractive?

> What do you think your books need to make them more readable?

> Ebooks. Am I right?


As you can see, I can't use any of these questions. I have a list of about ten questions for each author and some general questions.

So I'm asking you folks -- if you're sitting in the audience of a mystery writer panel, what kind of questions to you want asked? If you're a panelist, what do you want to talk about?

If you've ever been to or on a writing panel, what's the best question you've ever heard?

I'll pick a winner or draw a winner or something. You win the newest issue of NEEDLE, which features Art Taylor (fellow panelist tomorrow), Gil Brewer, Holly West, and many more. Check it out.


Chris said...

If I'm a panelist on anything, I make sure it's all about me. Me, me, ME!

Alan Orloff said...

"Which do you prefer, ellipsis or em dash?"

Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow!

Ben said...

I always ask the writers about their editing process. Every author has a different one.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Pop quiz, hotshot. There's a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do?


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

You have a gun with one bullet and have to shoot one of the two people in front of you, or you and your whole family dies. Who do you choose to kill...Hemingway or Fitzgerald.