Monday, October 29, 2012

Magna Cum Murder Touches Many Topics

Mary Monica Ferris & Albert Bell
The Magna Cum Murder Conference in Muncie, Indiana was a great opportunity for authors and readers to mix as a number of mystery writers talked about topics including the competing roles of imagination and research in historical crime fiction, writing the cozy mystery in an age of 'noir and gore,' and alcohol as a poison.

It would take a notebook to give even a quick summary, so I'll pass on a few of the ideas that grabbed me.  Paraphrasing of course.

If you want to describe a place through the eyes of a character, it matters how familiar your character is with the setting. Unfamiliar eyes will see it very differently than a native.  (Terry Faherty)

What's the antitode for most alcohol poisoning?  Vodka.  (Luci Zahray)

A mystery is a hunt, a thriller is a roller coaster ride.  (John Billheimer)

Our brains are wired for stories. From the time people were writing on cave walls, we've been using stories to remember and pass along ideas.  (Michael Dymmoch)

Authors were a diverse group.  The photo shows Mary Monica Ferris about to sign one of her crewel mysteries.  Next to her is Albert Bell, who writes a series set in ancient Rome, which features Pliny the Younger.  S.J. Rozan was the guest of honor. Among her many books is one in which the books feature alternating points of view (Lydia Chin and Bill Smith).  It was interesting to hear her talk about what each character brings to the work.

One piece of memorable advice came from paranormal investigators Shelly and Andy Gage.  As part of their very professional overview of hunting in haunted places, they suggested that if you want to determine if a ghost is actually a hallucination, the first place to investigate is the medicine cabinet.
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