Christine Marie Vinciquarra writes for Bleeding Cool:
Seven authors attended Coffee Talk with Monsters and Dragons and each one of them did their own introductions complete with a plug for their current novels. The authors included, R.L. Stine, Caitlin Kittredge, Lou Anders, Barry Lyga, Paul Pope, Ethan Reid, and Ransom Riggs. I wasn't really sure what to expect with this panel. The description talked about writers talking about their monsters. Since I'm a writer, that was good enough for me.
I will say one thing, there's nothing that makes me happier than being in a room with a genius. My primary reason for attending this panel was to see the legendary R. L. Stine in person. As I waited in line to go into this panel, I realized that he was standing two feet away from me talking to someone he knew in line. I got literal GOOSEBUMPS people! So anyway, I anxiously awaited his first words when the panel began.
He comically started by telling us that he hadn't had a good day so far. The reason being, a woman stopped and asked him, "Did anyone ever tell you, you look like R.L. Stine…no offense." Funny, right? But don't worry, I'm not going to ramble about everything that R.L. Stine said. There are important monster things to discuss after all.
I really enjoyed listening to the writers talk about world building. This is an extremely important part of the writing process. Barry chimed in and explained that even though his stories don't take place in a fantastical world with fantastical monsters, people that do terrible awful things, like murder people, are the scariest monsters of all. Anders talked about being inspired by Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkein and how influential the environments they've created have impacted him as a writer.
The discussion continued with the actual development of these monsters as characters and how they emerge from the authors brain. The best description of this came from Paul Pope who talked about how he drew inspiration from the classic literary character, Grendel. He described how Grendel doesn't have a definite shape, and most of his monsters are the same. He feels there is truth in a monster like that, because that is how children constantly imagine them.
The panel of writers were then asked what they're afraid of. The answers they gave ranged from oatmeal, to ALS, to nuclear war, or to their laptops hard drives frying. I found it interesting that the people that write about monsters weren't scared of any themselves, but had more realistic fears. Well, I guess fearing oatmeal isn't so realistic, but when your fear results from finding bugs in a bowl of it, I can understand where Anders was coming from.
This panel was definitely different from what I expected. I would have liked to hear more about each of the authors process, but I guess there's only so much time for seven strong opinions to talk about monsters.
Christine Marie Vinciquarra is a writer and bibliomaniac with a love for all things creative. Some of her favorite things include: Batgirl, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Saga, Game of Thrones (the books and the show), Johnny Depp, and all things Disney. She spends her weekends feeding her competitive side while she plays tabletop and/or video games with her husband and friends. She is currently working on a series of young adult fantasy novels. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.