I just returned from New York City where I attended, for the third year in a row, ThrillerFest, the premier annual conference for mystery and thriller writers. This event, hosted by International Thriller Writers (ITW), is heaven for established writers, aspiring writers and fans of the genre. Attendees get to learn from and network with the best writers in the industry. It’s a fabulous environment that inspires everyone to take their reading and writing to the next level.
I captured a ton of great content during this amazing conference, and over the next several weeks and months I will share with you what I learned and experienced, including photos, videos, highlights from panels, and interviews.
Last week I attended ThrillerFest IX in New York City. This annual event is held by the terrific organization International Thriller Writers, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. While at ThrillerFest IX, I had the opportunity to attend FanFest, a portion of the week-long event where fans get to meet and spend time with a multitude of authors over cocktails. Picture it: There’s a large room with Lee Child, Michael Connelly, David Morrell, and countless others at tables waiting to sign your book, take photos with you and chat. It was a great way to cap off my week at ThrillerFest IX. Below are several photos of myself and authors whom I spent time with during the conference or at FanFest.
Last week I attended ThrillerFest IX in New York City. This annual event is held by the terrific organization International Thriller Writers, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. While at ThrillerFest IX, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the best in the business. Friday and Saturday were comprised of panels about a variety of topics. I couldn’t stick around for Saturday but below are photos and highlights from some of the sessions that took place on Friday.
Last week I attended ThrillerFest IX in New York City. This annual event is held by the terrific organization International Thriller Writers, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. While at ThrillerFest IX, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the best in the business. Two days were dedicated to CraftFest, which was comprised of seminars dedicated to helping writers improve their craft. Below are photos and highlights from some of the sessions.
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 fourth and final day of ThrillerFest was just as enjoyable as the ones that preceded it. As you can see from the photo above, I left the conference with a ton of books. Below are highlights, photos and videos from the final day of ThrillerFest, including the entire 43-minute interview with Michael Connelly. I’m attending next year’s conference, which I’m sure will be even better. Now I have to try and finish these books before next July. Wish me luck!
Does Speed Kill?
“Writing expository material in my books makes me feel like I’m running in mud.” – Andrew Gross
“I don’t like to write books that feel like screenplays.” – A.J. Hartley
“If you have a sprint from the beginning of the book to the end, without slowing down, there’s no depth to it at that point.” – Sheldon Siegel
“If my wife stops reading my book in the middle of a chapter, I ask her why.” – John Gilstrap
“I love to go to plays to see where the acts end and whether or not people get up from their seats during the intermission. It’s a great way to learn about pacing.” – Heather Graham
T. Jefferson Parker Interview
“I decided to be a reporter so I could pursue my passion for writing and in my free time work on novels.”
“I didn’t want to be a series writer. I didn’t see myself in that place, at that time.”
“The great thing about being a writer is you can be sitting on the boardwalk in Laguna Beach, minding your own business, and the main character in your next novel can walk right in front of you.”
“When it comes to the writing process, I’m a Monday through Friday kind of guy, from 7 to 5 pm. If I can get five pages done, it’s a good day.”
“The hardest part for me is not writing. It takes me three months to come up with an idea good enough to start writing. Then it takes me about six months to finish the first draft, and another three months to make it as good as I can before I send it off to my agent.”
“The shortest outline I wrote was on a bar napkin. After explaining the outline to the publisher, my agent called me the next day and said, ‘I don’t know what you wrote on that napkin but the publisher just bought it.’”
“For Laguna Heat, I threw away 2,500 pages over a five year period. I never worked so hard to make a book readable. In total, there were six drafts.”
“I love to read; it’s nourishment for me. I usually have two or three books going at a time. If I didn’t read while I write, I’d never read.”
Young writers’ first goal should be to find their own voice, and stop trying to write like their heroes.”
“I still feel that my best work is ahead.”
Are Young Adult Novels Meant For Adults?
“A lot of my readers are adults because they grew up with me. I’m nostalgia to them. I’m Hall & Oates.” – R.L. Stine
“There was a statistic saying that 52% of YA readers are adults. But if you remove The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, I’m not sure that’s true.” – Michelle Gagnon
“I wrote my first young adult book in five weeks.” – Barry Lyga
“I write YA because that’s what I like to read.” – Linda Gerber
“Young adult novels have a direct, powerful and emotional point of view.” – Allen Zadoff
“On social media, 30% of my followers are adults.” – Lissa Price
“I don’t think it’s so remarkable that adults read YA. We all used to be teenagers.” – Kat Rosenfield
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
Next week I’m attending my first ThrillerFest, and it should be a blast. I’ll have the opportunity to network with and learn from some of the best writers in the business. I’m sure I’ll have many great photos, videos and stories to share. Stay tuned to my blog for full coverage of the event.