This year’s Bouchercon in Toronto wasn’t just a conference for The Beloved Spouse™ and I; it was an adventure. The road trip we took merits at least one blog post of its own. First we’ll cut to the chase.
Thursday, October 13
10:00 Heroes and Antiheroes: Are heroes possible even in fiction? Do we need them?
I don’t have a lot to say about this panel, largely because I was in it. That’s not due to any false modesty on my part; it kicked ass. The problem is that I couldn’t very well take notes while on the dais, and there are no recordings this year. My mind fully occupied, I can barely remember what I said, let alone everyone else. Suffice to say J. Kent Messum led a star-studded cast of Eric Campbell, Allison Gaylin, Stuart Neville, and David Swinson through a thought-provoking and fast-paced hour while I tried to keep up.
2:30 Adapted For…About books made into movies or TV shows
Watching the audience file in for this one it occurred to me how many people with infirmities attend Bouchercon. It makes sense. Those with physical infirmities often find reading a recreational activity they can continue to enjoy without an ability to move around as freely as they’d like. Those with mental infirmities become writers.
Our friend Sam Wiebe was unable to attend Bouchercon this year due to jury duty. We learned right before the panel his book, Invisible Dead, was nominated for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Guess now we know which jury he was on.
The panel was worth getting good seats for, as Shawn Reilly Simmons led an all-star crew through a discussion of both sides of the process of moving a book to the screen. Here are some highlights:
Yrsa Sigurdardottir: The book is like your child; the movie is a grandchild. It’s not appropriate for the grandparents to be too involved in its creation.
Lou Berney: It’s tricky to collaborate with too protective an author.
Maureen Jennings: “Collaboration” means “interference.”
David Morell: When selling rights, insist on print control of the characters. (He got to write the novelizations for the Rambo sequels and change not only the themes, but the plots.)
David Morell: Tracing the historical antecedents of books showed the evolution of British thrillers and, by extension, how all books stand on the shoulders of their predecessors.
Ann Cleeves: Once you send a book out to the public, it’s not really yours anymore. It belongs to the reader’s imagination. A TV/movie adaptation is another step down that road, as they’re entirely different storytelling media.
Lou Berney: Adapting a novel into a screenplay is like distilling a haiku out of an epic poem.
There were more panels I could have gone to, but the adventure in getting to Canada and the rush from the anti-hero panel wore me out. Come back next week for a look at what transpired on Friday.