Thursday, November 15, 2018


Hey all!  I'm off to PhilCon this weekend, and if you're around, please come say hello.  Here's my full schedule.   And what's my Special Presentation?  It's a surprise!  (But it'll involve a selection of readings.  And almost no Rat Pack singing.) 

Fri 8:00 PM in Plaza III (Three)—Fantasy Without Fantasy? How much actual supernaturalism or other fantastic elements (dragons, magic, elves, etc.) does a fantasy story require? There are examples of books marketed as fantasy, set in imaginary places, that contain no fantastic elements- How do they function within the genre?
Jim Stratton (mod), Ken Altabef, Sally Wiener Grotta, Carl Paolino, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Anna Kashina

Sat 10:00 AM in Plaza IV (Four)—DCEU: A Light at the End of the Tunnel? We all know that Warner Brothers has had a bit of the problem with their DCEU movies. But the latest trailers for Aquaman & SHAZAM look like they’re finally turning the page to a Brand New Day...
Barna William Donovan (mod), Marshall Ryan Maresca, Andre Lieven, Orenthal Hawkins

Sat 12:00 PM in Executive Suite 623—Readings: Saturday Noon Marshall Ryan Maresca (mod), Sally Wiener Grotta

Sat 1:00 PM in Grand Ballroom A—Presentation by Special Guest Marshall Ryan Maresca Marshall Ryan Maresca (mod)

Sat 4:00 PM in Plaza II (Two)—The City As a theme and an image in science fiction. Think of Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, New York 2140, and Metropolis. How does the nature of a city inform the stories set within it?
Carl Paolino (mod), Marshall Ryan Maresca, Tom Purdom, Kim Kindya, Eric Parmer, Ty Drago

Sat 5:00 PM in Autograph Table—Autographs: Saturday 5pm Marshall Ryan Maresca (mod), Chris Kreuter

Sat 10:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two—Shows We’re (Still) Not Over The Endings Of Whether it was because of a surprise cancellation that left us with a massive cliffhanger, or the intentional plotting of a Machiavellian team of writers, some series ended in ways that- even years later- make us want to shriek. What finale left you agape?
Tony Finan (mod), Marshall Ryan Maresca, Alyce Wilson, Hildy Silverman, Tee Morris

Sun 11:00 AM in Plaza V (Five)—Writing A Film-Friendly Novel What elements should you keep in mind while writing a novel if you're hoping to eventually see it onscreen?
Richard Stout (mod), Elizabeth Crowens, Barna William Donovan, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Carl Paolino, Michael D'Ambrosio

Sun 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three—When Less Is MoreWe've talked a lot over the years about how to avoid infodumping, or at least, giving your readers information in a way that is entertaining and easy to parse. But sometimes the question you ought to ask is not how to insert all the facts about the world you've built, but "is it necessary?"
Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Steven Brust, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Bernie Mojzes, Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Embracing the Hostile Read

There's an old saying, "No text can survive a hostile read." 

I also like this exchange from the West Wing, when Sam Seaborn is told that a passage from a speech given by the First Lady has angered an activist group.
SAM: I don't see it.
CJ: You have to want it to see it.

Here's the thing about writing anything: everyone is going to come at it with their own biases, their own take.  Once you send it out into the world, you have no way to control how people are going to take it.  And, more specifically, if people are going to want to misread your text, bring their hostile read to you, you really have to just take it.

I'm not saying this to address any specific or recent review-- in fact I've been quite pleased with the recent reviews for THE WAY OF THE SHIELD-- but more as a sort of zen reminder that people will find the things that they connect to, that they can interpret with their own biases, and even though it doesn't match my intentions... that doesn't matter.

I'm kind of arguing for "the death of the author", I know, but the point is, all I can do is put it on the page.  If the reader finds something there I didn't intend, that's how it is.  In fact, I think it's great to embrace that, and see what I can learn.  Isn't that what it's about, after all?  Constantly trying to learn, grow and improve?

That's my goal, at least.
Hey, are you in the northeast?  What are you doing next weekend?  Me, I'm the Special Guest at PhilCon!  If you can, come on out, and come say hello!