Today is the second day of ThrillerFest, and it’s been great so far. Not only did I meet the man who created John Rambo, I also ran into one of my favorite authors, Jason Pinter. Below are photos and highlights from some of the sessions. Enjoy!
Andrew Gross – 10 Ways to Keep the Reader Turning Pages
- Use short linking dramatic chapters to keep the reader hooked and wanting to know what’s next.
- In every scene eliminate what does not directly advance the story.
- Your writing cadence should reflect what’s happening in the book.
- Don’t bog the narrative down by showing off, being boring or using unnecessary description.
- Try to eliminate the parts that readers tend to skip.
- Remove extraneous words.
- Don’t provide too much information – decide what you need, and cut it in half.
- Orient the reader quickly when you begin a scene to avoid taking the reader out of the narrative.
- Know what each chapter or scene is trying to deliver and don’t do more.
- If all else fails, use a larger font.
Steven James – How to Discard Your Outline and Write Better Stories
- Root yourself in what a story really is.
- Let the narrative forces, not formulas, drive your story forward.
- Trust the fluidity of the process.
- Follow rabbit trails – you have to explore.
- Write obligatory scenes.
- Make a promise or keep one – explain what the desire is, what’s at stake.
- Re-evaluate where you’re going – to understand the reader’s point of view.
- Ask those three vital questions that solve any plot problem (see below).
- Take the time to meet your characters.
- Give readers what they want or something better.
Three questions to solve any plot problem you encounter:
- What would this character naturally do?
- How can I make things worse?
- How can I end this scene or story in a way that’s not predictable?
David Morrell – Setting
- “Be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.”
- “Writing is a vocation, not a profession. It’s the history of our souls.”
- “Forget about sight and concentrate on feeling.”
- “Writing can be one of two things: stained glass or Windex. Readers can either be aware that they’re reading a book or, like a window after being wiped down with Windex, they can see right through it and be completely absorbed. There’s a place for both.”
- “Use stealth description, so the reader isn’t aware of it.”