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Posts Tagged ‘ThrillerFest’

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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5 Tips on How To Write Smart Thrillers

A ThrillerFest panel last week tackled this question: “Can a thriller be both exciting and smart?” Participants included authors Linwood Barclay, Joseph Finder, Kathleen George, Andrew Gross, Andrew Pyper and Matt Richtel. David Liss moderated the panel.

During the discussion, the participants picked Dennis LeHane‘s Shutter Island, Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness, and William Landay‘s upcoming Defending Jacob as their favorite smart thrillers.

Below, we’ve included five tips for writing smart thrillers from the discussion.

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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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