I touched upon this a little in my Toronto post, but something that’s been running around my mind recently has been the value of inspiration. With the state of the book industry the way it is you might think writers would be tempted to play it safe and aim for writing the kinds of stories that are known to sell well (epic fantasy and urban fantasy, are the obvious examples), but mostly from the people I talked to (and I talked to a LOT of writers), the books I saw in the dealer’s room, people were, more than ever, pushing niche, odd, idiosyncratic ideas. New things. Because that’s what the people who go to WFC value: innovation and craftsmanship over commerciality. Even the writers who had chosen the epic fantasy field, did so out of love of that genre and with the intention to bring their own individual twists to it.
And the awards too – seeing the likes of the Vandermeers, Lavie Tidhar and Ken Liu being rewarded for giving the world books and stories with real vision. Brilliant.
All of it lifted me. It made me think that books like The Moon King and Queen Of Clouds might still have an audience after all. It made me want to finish all my works in progress as soon as humanly possible, and then go and write more, better, weirder stuff. I want to dive into The Poisoner’s Road series Right Now.
I’ve got the spark. That’s the WFC effect for you.