Last week I saw and met Night Ranger. I also saw and met Foreigner and Don Felder, in addition to seeing Styx perform. How could I possibly top this? Well, this week I’m going to New York City to spend time with and learn from some of the greatest writers in the world at ThrillerFest IX.
The third day of ThrillerFest was filled with great panels, as well as an entertaining Anne Rice interview that was conducted by her son, Christopher Rice. Check out the highlights, photos and videos below.
Fist, Knife or Gun?
- “It’s important to add vulnerability to your killer because no hero is all good and no villain is all bad.” – Wendi Corsi Staubb
- “Guns are usually the easiest way to assure someone is dead.” – Alex Berenson
- “My character isn’t setting out to kill people. So, for her, it’s about what’s available and what will work.” – Taylor Stevens
- “You take a lot of darkness into you when you write about people hurting other people. It’s really hard.” – Allison Brennan
- “You have to kill differently in different countries because of the cultures and the way people operate.” – D.L. Wilson
Keeping a Series Character Fresh
- “My Davenport character has been around for more than 20 years. The way I handle it is he ages slower than everyone else.” – John Sanford
- “I loved my Charlie Hood series. But I didn’t want to be beholden to it. So, I decided to end it with my most recent book. I love the blank page, and I had to close one door to open another.” – T. Jefferson Parker
- “Paul Christopher appeared out of nowhere, and I never expected to see him again.” – Charles McCarry
- “In 10 books I’ve aged my character only one year because policemen retire at a certain age. But culturally I’ve moved the books along with each iteration.” – Peter James
- “I wanted to keep my character in an age frame that was believable as a prosecutor, so I aged her very slowly. And I think readers go along with that.” – Linda Fairstein
- “If Jessica Fletcher aged accurately, she’d be 175 years old. But I haven’t aged her a day.” – Donald Bain
Plotter or Pantser?
- “I’m bi – sometimes I outline, sometimes I don’t.” – Michael Stanley
- “The biggest thing that sets thrillers apart is getting the tone right.” – David Rich
- “Harlan Coben is an organic writer. He once told me that he writes a story from start to finish and then revises it about 40 times.” – Diane Capri
- “Outlining is meant to help where you’re going, not mandate how you get there.” – Michael Robertson
- “43% of people put down thrillers because they run out of gas.” – Rick Anderson
- “I was a trial lawyer for many years and lived by the outline. Now I’m a loud and proud pantser.” – Joel Goldman
The conference is broken into different parts. The first day-and-a-half is CraftFest, which is essentially a writing school featuring top authors, agents and editors. These individuals lead educational panels and workshops about almost any topic a writer could be interested in when it comes to writing fiction. Whether you’re looking to learn about blogging as a novelist or what point of view you should write from, CraftFest has you covered. Since I’m working on a novel of my own, I’m looking forward to soaking up all sorts of good information during CraftFest.
Starting Thursday afternoon (July 11), AgentFest begins, which is best described as speed dating for agents and authors looking for representation. While my novel is nowhere near being finished, I still look forward to observing these interactions and speaking with a few agents and authors about their experiences during this event.
Thursday night, once AgentFest has come to a close, the ThrillerFest opening reception takes place. Then the following two days (July 12 and 13) are filled with panels from bestselling authors about a variety of interesting subjects. Last year some of the topics covered included:
- Writing Opposite Sex Characters
- Is Indie Publishing For You?
- How Do You Build A Thriller Brand?
- What Makes Them Scream?
- Is It Really That Hard To Be Funny?
I’ll also be attending the first-ever FanFest on Friday, July 12. It’s a two-hour portion of the conference where fans can drink and chat with a roomful of bestselling authors. I look forward to speaking with many authors whom I’ll be meeting for the first time, including Andrew Gross, who I recently interviewed for my blog.
ThrillerFest is bound to be a terrific experience that will yield fascinating stories, photos and advice. Stay tuned to my blog for extensive coverage of the event. It’s going to be something special.