Panel #4 on Friday was on cross-genre detectives. I was looking forward to this panel as well. Most of what I write is, at heart, mysteries. There are so many sub-genres to the mystery genre, that crossing into another is not that hard. In many ways, mystery is a specific type of story that can be divorced from the setting. Much of what the panel went over was how to create a good serial detective: foreshadowing and threads in earlier books, a good occasionally-reoccurring villain, and of course an interesting main character that isn’t all-competent.
The last panel we attended on Friday was Writers Beware with Patrick and Teresa Neilsen Hayden, based on the Writer Beware website. Not much that I haven’t heard before, but I did get to thinking about search engines. It used to be the case that if you googled “literary agent,” the top result was a scam agency. How’s it going now? I wondered, and how well does Bing do?
The top four results are the same between the Google and Bing: 2 directories, a Wikipedia entry, and Writer Beware. The rest of Google’s first page is mainly specific agencies, all of them good. Bing’s first page fairs well, though there are quite a few more links to directory sites. Unfortunately, the first “related search” on Bing is New York Literary Agents and the top link off of *that* page is The New York Literary Agency which is described on the Preditors & Editors site as “strongly not recommended. Also a Top Twenty worst according to Writer Beware.” Not so good. It always pays to do your research, and to remember, as a writer, the only time you should be signing a check is when you’re signing the back of it.