- If you’re struggling with writing a character, write 20 things that the reader will never know about your character. These will naturally bleed into your writing and provide a richness even though you don’t share the detail. [Barbara Poelle, Agent]
- How to make your readers cry: (a) say goodbye to a beloved character (b) say welcome home – all is forgiven [Donald Maass, Agent]
- How to make your readers angry and send you hate mail: Torture, maim or kill an animal (but you can do anything to people and get away with it!) [Sandra Brown, author]
- The more you can understand your own process as a writer, the more you can enable it. For example, do you write in a linear fashion or out of order? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you like actually writing, or having written? Everyone is different but you need to understand where you fit on the continuum. [Lisa Gardner]
- There are things you can do to encourage the muse. (a) Positive association. This is critical. Any day you write is a good day. Stop beating yourself up and find ways to make this a positive process. (b) Pavlovian responses. It takes 2 weeks to create a habit. You can create a writing habit with something that immediately creates the need to write. For example, scented candles, a designated computer or a designated writing space, a certain time of day. Think: when X happens, then I write. (c) Incentive systems. Bribing yourself is fine. For example, on pg 100, I go to the spa. Set celebration milestones for your books or the success will just pass you by. [Lisa Gardner]
- Tips on pitching agents. One technique is to use the “What if? So What?” approach. e.g. What if a young girl risks her soul to love a vampire? What if a cyborg is sent back in time to kill the mother of the savior of mankind? Aim for less than 25 words. [Kathleen Antrim, author]
- The pitch is more about why do we care? The emotion behind the story. Or lead with your strength, e.g. what’s special about you and this book? Do you already have a platform? Are you an ex-CIA agent writing CIA thrillers? [Jon Land, author]
Read the rest at: 50 Things I Learned at Thrillerfest 2012.