And now, just in time for Bouchercon 2016, the conclusion of my Bouchercon 2015 memoir.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 11
Bouchercon Sunday is often a time for nursing hangovers, packing up, checking out, and saying goodbye as people rush for their travel arrangements. Panel attendance is often limited, and subdued. For anyone who either couldn’t stay or couldn’t get up, it was your loss this year.
8:30 True Grit: Narrative Techniques for Gritty, Pithy, and Page-Turning Dialog
This panel might have had an easier time in a more intimate room, but moderator Jack Getze and his four intrepid panelists kept things moving and interactive. Everyone was on his A game, and multiple nuggets were mined.
David Terrenoire: If two people are talking, there are two agendas. Be true to both. David sometimes writes a scene from both points of view. He may only use one, but then he knows he’s been true to both.
Con Lehane: Hemingway said you say more by what you leave out than by what you leave in.
Jack Bludis: George Pelecanos sometimes goes into black bars just to listen. They often think he’s a cop, which is okay with him.
Jack Getze: Read Method Acting for ways to get into characters’ heads. Con Lehane seconded that by recommending Stanislavsky’s books.
10:00 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Heroes and Antiheroes
Whether one likes or dislikes them, antiheroes are here to stay. Personally, I like them. It’s hard to create a two-dimensional antihero—not that some don’t manage—and antiheroes can do things and teach lessons that don’t always lend themselves well to heroes.
Stuart Neville had the simplest, most cogent, definition of an antihero I’ve ever heard: An antihero is a bad guy who tries to do good, though your idea of good and his may differ. There may also be an element of redemption.
Adam Sternbergh chimed in with a critical distinction for those who sometimes wonder about the difference between am antihero and a villain: The villain thinks he’s right. The antihero has a conflict.
And so it was time for us to pack up, check out, and say goodbye. On both a personal and professional level, this was my most successful and enjoyable Bouchercon. Special thanks for that double play go to Ed Aymar, as good an author speed dating partner as can he found; Don and Jen Longmuir of Scene of the Crime Books, who are always a pleasure to work with; and Jim Born, who made me feel at home in his panel from the opening introduction.
On the personal level, thanks for a great time to (in alphabetical order): Scott Adlerberg, Annamaria Alfieri, Ed Aymar, Jedidiah Ayres, Eric Beetner, Jack Bludis, Jim Born, Rob Brunet, Austin and Denise Camacho, Colin Campbell, Eric Campbell, the always huggable Joe Clifford, Bill Crider, Mike Dennis, Les Edgerton, Stephanie Gayle, Jack Getze, Rich Goodfellow, Chris Grall, David Housewright, Michelle and Tommy Isler, Dietrich Kalteis, Ali Karim, Larry Kelter, Nik Korpon, Richard Krauss, Terrence and Rita McCauley, John “Hat Trick” McFetridge, Carla Norton, Rick Ollerman, Tim O’Mara, Alan Orloff, Jeff Pierce (though neither of us knew it at the time), Absolutely Kate Pilarcik, Tom Pitts, Thomas Pluck, Bob Randisi, J.R. “Dusty” Rhoades, Charles Salzberg, John Shepphird, Kevin Burton Smith, Jay Stringer, Mary Sutton, David Swinson, Art Taylor, Mark and Mary Fran Troy, Sandra Webster, Holly West, Dave White, and Sam Wiebe. Sincere apologies to anyone I missed here, as well as to those I’d hoped to see and didn’t get to. Next year in New Orleans. We’re already registered and the room booked.
Oh, and fuck Peter Rozovsky.