ThrillerFest is underway!
If you haven’t heard of it, ThrillerFest is the International Thriller Writers‘ annual conference, and for years I’ve dreamed of going someday. But even though it’s described as “a celebration of thriller books, the authors who write them, and the fans who read them,” the event seems much more geared toward the writers than the fans.
So in the back of my mind – even further back than the part where I’m actually thinking of going (which is already pretty far back) – I’m always wondering if there’s really a place for me there.
The first two days are dedicated to CraftFest, a writing workshop, and PitchFest, a kind of “speed dating” for authors and agents. I think these are fantastic opportunities for aspiring authors… but I’m not one. So in this dream scenario, I’d be skipping those and heading straight to the main event, which kicks off with a reception Thursday night, includes the FanFest cocktail party on Friday, and wraps up with the Awards Banquet on Saturday.
In between all the partying, there are panels covering a variety of topics. A lot of these are, again, more of interest to authors. While I might be curious, I’m probably not going to get much out of “How Do You Unlock Your Creativity?” or “Brave New World: Navigating a Self-Published, Hybrid, and/or Traditional Career.”
So, using this year’s schedule as an example… which discussions would I, as a fan of the genre, actually be interested in seeing?
HOW MANY VOICES DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR HEAD?:
First, Third, or Multiple POVs
Point of view is one of those tricky things that can definitely affect how much I enjoy a story. I know which I prefer, so I’d be curious to hear from those on the other side.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER & OTHER MYTHS:
Must Everyone Hold Hands or is a Dark Ending Possible?
I’m of the opinion that while a satisfying ending is a must, an ending where everything works out perfectly is not. In fact, those two endings might even be mutually exclusive.
THEMES AND SYMBOLISM:
Do They Get in the Way or Help Your Story?
The great thing about escapist literature is that you don’t have to spend time contemplating why the curtains are blue. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for literary devices in thrillers.
HOW EVIL IS TOO EVIL?:
Delving into the Darkness
Bad guys – the really great ones, anyway – are fun. Need I say more?
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?:
Sexual Tension in Thrillers
This is another topic I definitely have opinions on, and it would be interesting to hear what different authors have to say.
And of course, these choices are all based purely on the topic. If I were actually going, I’d also be looking at what authors are on each panel; there are some I’d be interested in hearing no matter what they’re talking about.
So, while the conference as a whole may not be designed with people like me in mind, I still think it would be a great experience. It would be enlightening, if nothing else. But… hundreds of dollars in registration, travel, and hotel costs? It’s not going to happen any time soon. Maybe not ever.
But it’s still fun to dream.
What’s something fun and impractical you’d love to do if money weren’t an issue?