Michael Cavacini

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Archive for the tag “John Sanford”

Book Review: Escape Clause by John Sanford

escape-clauseI’ve met John Sanford twice and seen him speak multiple times at ThrillerFest over the past few years, yet I’ve never read one of his novels…until now. I just finished Escape Clause last night and it was a solid novel with some major flaws.

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CraftFest: Where Writers Learn From The Best

ThrillerFestLast 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.

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ThrillerFest VIII – Day 3

Meeting Taylor Stevens.

Meeting Taylor Stevens.

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, Kinfe or Gun?

Fist, Knife or Gun?

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.

Keeping a Series Character Fresh.

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?

Plotter or Pantser?

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
Anne Rice and her son, Christopher Rice.

Anne Rice and her son, Christopher Rice.

 

 

 

ThrillerFest VIII – Day 1

Hanging out with best-selling author Douglas Preston.

Hanging out with best-selling author Douglas Preston.

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

Steve Berry

Steve Berry – Six “C’s” of Story Structure

  1. Character 
  2. Conflict
  3. Crucible
  4. Complications
  5. Crisis
  6. Conclusion

Act 1

  • “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

  • “Act 2 is when you introduce complications and focus on no more than two subplots.” 

Act 3

  • “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

John Sanford

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

Michael Connelly

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

Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston

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

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