Earlier this month I attended ThrillerFest for the third year in a row. For those unfamiliar with the event, it’s hosted by International Thriller Writers, the premier organization for thriller writers, and it features an endless selection of panels, workshops and interviews for fans and writers to enjoy. Continue reading
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.
Today was the start of ThrillerFest, and I had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the greatest writers in the business. Below are photos and highlights from some of the sessions.
Steve Berry – Six “C’s” of Story Structure
- “In Act 1 you establish the character and create conflict.”
- “Then you introduce the crucible – the reason why the character is willing to do something he wouldn’t normally do.”
- “Act 2 is when you introduce complications and focus on no more than two subplots.”
- “At the start of Act 3 is the crisis point. By the time this takes place, there should only be 50 pages left in the book.”
- “After you’ve hit the crisis point, bring it home with a satisfying conclusion.”
Steve Berry – Point of View
- “When you start your book, you need to decide who’s going to tell the story.”
- “Point-of-view characters are precious because they’re the only people’s heads we go into. You have a lot of characters in a novel, but you only go into the heads of a handful of them.”
- “Some writers don’t feel this is important, but I respectfully disagree.”
- “First person is the hardest point of view. Don’t even try it until you’ve written a million words; it will put pressure on you and tax your creativity.”
John Sanford – How to Tighten Your Manuscript
- “The first and last chapters are the most important ones in your book.”
- “The first chapter needs to be emotionally engaging. The action needs to start in the first paragraph.”
- “The last chapter is critical. You want it to go out with a bang and for people to leave with a smile on their face.”
- “If you make too many unnecessary changes after you’ve finished a book, they’ll come back to bite you in the ass.”
Michael Connelly – How to Write a Good Series
- “Forget about writing a series. Just write the best book you can write.”
- “I’m a visual writer. I see scenes in my head and I write them down.”
- “You want to move forward and backward at the same time. You have to work in the backstory so people know where the character came from.”
- “I’m writing for the people that have been riding with me.”
- “I don’t outline, I just write.”
Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston – How to Have a Great Collaboration
- “A writing partnership is like a marriage. Unfortunately, in our case, the sex is no good.” – Douglas Preston
- “You need to determine the potential partner’s strengths and weaknesses to see if he or she would be a good fit for you.” – Lincoln Child
- “Lincoln writes vicious murder scenes. Underneath that white jacket beats a black heart.” – Douglas Preston
- “The editing process is like putting a literary zamboni over the manuscript.” – Lincoln Child
- “I’ll write a series of chapters from one character’s point of view, and Lincoln will write a series of chapters from another character’s point of view, and then we’ll merge them.” Douglas Preston
- “Writing, by its very definition, is an egotistical act.” – Lincoln Child
This July I’m attending my first ThrillerFest, and I can’t wait! What is ThrillerFest, you ask? According to the website, it’s “a four-day celebration of thriller books, the authors who write them, and the fans who read them.” This year’s event features an endless list of bestselling authors, including Anne Rice, Michael Connelly, R.L. Stine, Lee Child, and, Andrew Gross, just to name a few.
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.