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Posts Tagged ‘Gayle Lynds’

How to Write a Better Villain

How do you create a villain? We’ve rounded up some handy tips from around the literary world.

1. During her talk at CraftFest, suspense author Gayle Lynds said that “without a great villain, your hero has no one to play against.” She felt that all characters should be fully-developed human beings; heroes have to have flaws and “villains aren’t necessarily total monsters.”

2. Writer Kari Allen tweeted with this bit of advice on writing villains: “I heard Katherine Patterson speak recently and she said if you can’t find yourself in your villains, rewrite.”

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26 Thriller Writers Collaborate on Serial Novel for Charity

The new serial novel No Rest for the Dead features writing contributions by 25 thriller writers, including Sandra Brown, Jeffrey Deaver, R.L. StineGayle Lynds and Alexander McCall Smith. Novelist David Baldacci wrote the introduction to the charity novel.

Strand magazine managing editor Andrew Gulli and Lamia Gulli edited four-year project. Proceeds from the Simon & Schuster novel will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, honoring the memory of Andrew’s mother.

Here’s more about the serial novel: “When Christopher Thomas, a ruthless curator at San Francisco’s McFall Art Museum, is murdered and his decaying body is found in an iron maiden in a Berlin museum, his wife, Rosemary, is the primary suspect, and she is tried, convicted and executed. Ten years later, Jon Nunn, the detective who cracked the case, is convinced that the wrong person was put to death.”

Gayle Lynds & The Steps To Suspense

At CraftFest, the writing school component of ThrillerFest in New York City, novelist Gayle Lynds shared “The Seven Steps to Suspense” in fiction.

For one step, Lynds (pictured, via) focused on mood and description in a novel. She advised authors to always be aware of a story’s mood, warning that “writers sometimes ruin a book by adding a lighthearted mood at the wrong moment.”

Lynds also offered two pieces of advice for mastering the thriller mood. First, read and study 50 suspense novels. Then grab another twenty books from different genres (i.e. romance, historical, literary, etc.) and pay special attention to the opening scenes. You will soon recognize the specific mood of each genre.

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Gayle Lynds: Never Make Fun of Your Villains

gayle82.jpgDuring the Craftfest portion of Thrillerfest 2010, novelist Gayle Lynds outlined “Nine Secrets to Writing Bestselling Thrillers.”

This editor especially appreciated her tips on the art of thriller villainy. “The villain drives the plot. I’ve seen unpublished manuscripts where the writer doesn’t know they are making fun of the villain–but they are,” explained Lynds. The author of The Last Spymaster cited toupees and bad accents as classic characteristics that spoil crooks in thrillers.

“If you aren’t afraid of your villain, how can your hero be afraid?” she asked. After villains, she moved to the topic of violence. “If you are writing a thriller with violence in it, the ending must be violent,” she explained. “You are delivering a promise to your reader.”

Finally, after all her talk about the darkside, she urged a roomful of writers never to give up. “Do you love this story?” she asked one frustrated author. “If you love it, then you’ve got to write it.”