Top Ten From Thrillerfest

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, (83) Wikiquote

Top Ten

The top ten ideas I took away from Thrillerfest 2013:

  1. “Be a first class version of yourself and not a second class version of someone else.” David Morrell (see post David Morrell on Creating Vivid Settings)
  2. Use “stealth description.”  Put in a detail here and there. Don’t do long paragraphs to introduce people. David Morrell
  3. Literary writing is like looking at the world through a stained glass window. The reader is aware of the writer embellishing the world he sees. Genre writing attempts to put the reader right into the story – windex writing. David Morrell
  4. The simplest device to create vivid stories is to let the reader feel the setting by using all the senses (especially smell). David Morrell
  5. At the core of the series character is a longing or “incompletion”. Michael Connelly (see post Michael Connolly says There’s No One Way…)
  6. Concentrate on the book in front of you. The series will come… Michael Connelly
  7. He starts by writing himself a long letter (talks about things that interest him – he puts them all down and then prioritizes. It’s like planning a dream vacation at no cost. T. Jefferson Parker (see post T. Jefferson Parker on Outlining)
  8. Always have a specific model of a physical place in your mind. John Sandford (see post Sandford’s Advice on How to Polish Your Manuscript)
  9. The number one problem in stories by new writers is that they lack structure. Steve Berry (see post Steve Berry’s  Advice on Story Structure)
  10. Thrillerfest rocks.

You can purchase tapes of the sessions from the Thrillerfest site.

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

Jo-Ann Carson writes a saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. Her latest stories are in the Gambling Ghosts Series: A Highland Ghost for Christmas, A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day, Confessions of a Pirate Ghost and The Biker Ghost Meets his Match. An anthology of the novellas will be coming out this summer. Currently she is working on Midnight Magic, A Ghost & Abby Mystery, the first book in a spin-off series from her Viking ghost story. Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, playing Mah Jong and drinking good coffee. You can chat with her on social media: You can find all her links on her website - http://jo-anncarson.com

14 thoughts on “Top Ten From Thrillerfest”

    1. Hi Joan
      I loved the Windex comment too. I’ve been searching for years for a clear delineation between literary and genre and I think he says it best. Thanks for stopping by. I’m looking forward to your post on Friday!
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  1. I love the comment that a series character has a longing or sense of incompleteness. Works well for any main character, not just series. Steve Berry’s comment about stories needing structure sticks with me, too. Seems to be a comment about our lives as well as writing.

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    1. Hi Darlene
      It was a fantastic conference. The famous authors did everything they could to pour their wisdom into my little head.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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    1. Hi Jerrie
      I agree.
      Two things that hit me hard in both head and heart about all the authors were: 1) the depth of their humility about their own work and success, and 2) their desire to share their knowledge.
      Sandford talked to us like we were welcomed guests in his living room chatting about books.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  2. Another great summary, Jo-Ann. I may need to put this conference on my to attend list. Can’t make it next summer. RWA meeting in San Antonion is too good an opportunity to miss. Definitely have to consider Thrillerfest for 2015. Thanks for taking time to share all these awesome pieces of knowledge you collected. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Marsha
      You are most welcome.
      I think I’m hooked on this conference, but I do understand why you’d choose San Antonio over it for next year.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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    1. Hi Mimi
      I agree focusing on one at a time makes sense. But I don’t know how you manage it when you get a bunch going like you.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  3. Jo-Ann, great quotes here. I bought tapes from the 2007 CraftFest portion of ThrillerFest, because I couldn’t attend. David Morrell said his motto was to be a first rate version of himself rather than a second rate version of someone else. I’ve since adopted it as my motto. I think it’s excellent advice. Thanks for sharing these with us.

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