The Unbound Book Festival unites readers and writers through “How to Write Suspenseful Fiction Panel”

This year's Unbound Book Festival allows people to virtually connect with their favorite authors and unite as a community.

The Unbound Book Festival, which runs from January to April, is a great way for people to hear writers talk about a variety of subjects and answer audience questions. Though this year the panels are held virtually, the spirit of the festival prevails.

According to the Unbound Book Festival’s website, the goal of the event is to unite readers and writers and to bring forth new ideas to inspire an even stronger love of reading.

Author Michael Kardos shared his insight on writing and his experience becoming a writer during a panel on February 16 called “How to Write Suspenseful Fiction.” Kardos compared presenting in the webinar format to “presenting to the vacuum of space,” but he felt that the panel went well and that participants posed great questions.

“Because things are being presented online, I think it's kind of amazing that so many different places now are creating this wonderful archive of material, this trove of great information that people can get to,” Kardos said. “It kind of democratizes the whole way that information can be shared about writing.”

Dr. Phong Nguyen introduced the panel and serves on the selection committee for the festival. Dr. Nguyen encourages people to get involved either as volunteers, participants or attendees.

“This particular event was important because it helps demystify the process of writing, which people sometimes think of as mysterious,” Dr. Nguyen said. “When [Kardos] says that, ‘It's like magic,’ he doesn't mean that it's mysterious, he means that it is carefully constructed, like a good magic trick. His advice on writing helps demystify the process and gives aspiring writers a plan for how to implement these strategies of suspense.”

Because of the virtual format, Kardos generally tends to plan more than he used to, but he also sees the benefit of saying things in the moment and seeing what people take away from it.

“You never know what one off-the-cuff sentence by a writer that you've never heard before can do to totally change your way of thinking about everything,” Kardos said.

The Unbound Book Festival is a way to connect world-class renowned authors together with readers and writers here in Columbia. The event still has a few panels left to go, and those that could not attend the live events have access to the recording on YouTube and Facebook.

Edited by Angelina Edwards | aedwards@themaneater.com

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