Summer Reading 2012

When I was a kid, my local library did a summer reading challenge. You had to keep track of your books in a reading log, move your name tag across a giant game board with each book you read, and if you got to 25 books you’d win a T-Shirt. In middle school,  I won… Read more »

Networking for Authors: 5 Survival Tips

Once upon a time, all authors had to do was write a good book. All that other stuff, like branding and publicity, was taken care of by the marketing experts. But times have changed and now more than ever the onus has been on writers to be part of both the writing and business sides… Read more »

Get Creative on Demand

In my final installment of ThrillerFest recaps and I thought I’d save one of my favorites for last. In her fabulous talk on Creative Consistency, Lisa Gardner shared three important steps that writers must take in order to get creative on demand. Being able to get creative on demand is a crucial aspect of being… Read more »

Writing Techniques and Devices Should Serve the Story

In my second-to-last installment of ThrillerFest recaps, I’d like to look at a theme that came up in several different panels I attended. Writing techniques and devices should serve the story. Whatever you do in your writing, it needs to work for your story and not against it. Whether you include taboo topics, or humor,… Read more »

The Villain’s Journey – from ThrillerFest

On Monday we talked about how character’s are the story. Today, I pose another idea: while characters may be the story, what really makes your story interesting is the antagonist. And in the case of most thrillers, the antagonist happens to be a villain. If you’re wondering about the distinction between villains and antagonists, check… Read more »

Lessons on Character from ThrillerFest

As I mentioned in my introduction to the ThrillerFest recaps, I fully expected to learn a lot about plot, pacing and suspense. What I did NOT expect was that character development would be the central topic to just about every talk or panel I attended. Character development in a thriller? Actually, that idea is not… Read more »

Branding Basics from ThrillerfFest

While at ThrillerFest I attended two panels about branding. How Do You Build a Thriller Brand? was headed up by Jaime Levine (Executive Editor, formerly with Grand Central Publishing) and included big names such as: agent Dan Conaway and authors Catherine Coulter, Joseph Finder, Lisa Gardner and John Sandford. (You can see them pictured in… Read more »

Branding for Writers

It might seem a bit like putting the cart before the horse to focus on branding when many writers at DIY MFA are pre-published. There is a logic here, though, I promise. I attended several talks and panels at ThrillerFest on this very topic and one theme kept coming up again and again. While most… Read more »

What I Learned at ThrillerFest

This past week, I attended ThrillerFest, the International Thriller Writers(ITW) annual conference. While I myself do not write thrillers, I knew I would learn a lot of techniques I could apply to my own writing–like how to plot a novel and build suspense–by attending a thriller conference. I expected plot would be the focus of… Read more »