Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WRITE HABIT: #NYSCBWI15 Seven Essentials You Need to Know about Mysteries and Thrillers with Ben Rosenthal, Senior Editor, Katherine Tegen Books by Kim Briggs



Ben Rosenthal















Ben Rosenthal, Senior Editor, at Katherine Tegen Books gave some fantastic tips about how to write Mysteries and Thrillers, and I want to share them with you because it shouldn't be a thrilling mystery to learn helpful tips to make your writing stronger. Here goes:

1. Killer First Lines and First Pages
HOOK them from the first line. Reader will have no other option but to keep reading.
CREATE intrigue factors: What happens next?   
ENGAGE the readers: Keep them reading
DISTINCT VOICE

2. Heroes and Villains  (Ha! HaHa…!!! Sinister laughter necessary)
PROTAGONISTS:
CREATE hero by creating tiers of empathy. 
Your job is to convince reader to KEEP READING!!
DEVELOP a hero with admirable and attractive qualities AND flaws too in order to ground them in reality.
ANTAGONISTS: 
CREATE an equal match to your Protagonist.
*Nothing creates more tension than the reader feeling the villain might win. 
Villain always one step ahead of hero.
3. Establish Conflict and Raise Stakes

Introduce conflicts. THEN build stakes. AND THEN, always, always, increase the stakes.

BEST TIP: Stakes can NEVER be too high.

If you ground your thriller in reality, than anything goes. Your reader will follow you anywhere.

4. Edge-of-Your-Seat Tension and Pacing 
  • Ideally, every page of MS should have tension.
  • Be cautious with 1st person. Watch to make sure there’s not TOO much narrative summary.
  • CUT the boring parts. Readers want to escape everyday life. (Showers, meals, getting dressed…)
  • Frequent paragraphing allows the eye to naturally move down the page faster—creates the allusion of quicker pacing

5. Suspense and Plot Twists
  • SUSPENSE is about delay, create the SENSE that climax is coming but reader can’t skip ahead or they WILL miss something.
  • PLOT TWISTS: An okay plot twist surprises reader. A GREAT plot twist pulls the rug out on the character.  
  • Character Motivation Twist: A character works with main character for much of the book or at least part of the journey, only for us (and MC) to find out character was working against MC the WHOLE time.  **I don’t know about y’all, but that makes me crazy to no end.

6. DIALOGUE: needs to match characters.

  • Dialogue tells the truth.
  • Turn the volume up on your dialogue.
7. Confusion is not mystery.
Difficult, complicated puzzles don’t necessarily translate to a more satisfying and entertaining journey for readers.


HELPFUL RESOURCES ON CRAFTING FICTION:

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Mass

Now go THRILL your readers!!

Write on,

Kim

Thursday, May 21, 2015

LIFE IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Take 1 by Kim Briggs

As writers, we constantly work on our craft. We attend workshops where we dig into the heart and soul of our novels. We zip through writing exercises at home to ensure we yank our readers into our gripping tale. We read books, lots of them. We spend hours upon hours upon hours writing and revising.

But what happens once our book goes to publication? Sure, our royalty checks will keep us living on chocolate bars and chai lattes for the next few weeks, or if we sell enough copies, months, but unless you're J.K. Rowling or James Patterson, you need to take your show on the road.

You'll make your rounds at the local schools and libraries. Then your circle will grow and you'll drive a little further or you'll fly. You'll hit the book tour circuit, signing books for all your adoring fans. You might even get invited to speak at a conference. First, you'll think JACKPOT! Then, you'll think...OH NO, WHAT DID I DO?    

Because now, you're in the spotlight...

Image result for spotlight picture



Do you run, do you hide, 
do you rescind your acceptance?
NO, you swallow the lump in your throat, 
you shake out your jitters 
and you find a way to make your 
Presentation the best it can be.   




But how?

If there's time, attend The Highlights Foundation: Life in the Spotlight Workshop with Peter Jacobi. Peter is the Master, the Guru, the King of Public Speaking and he will help you develop your Presentation Craft--because that's what it is. 

Image result for winning pictures
We don't think about our skills as a presentator and that's WRONG. We disservice ourselves and our audience. No one wins. But if we develop our Presentation Craft, we will all be WINNERS!

If you can't attend Life in the Spotlight before your Big Event, here's some QUICK tips: 

REMEMBER THE CROWD WANTS YOU TO SUCCEED. They do. They REALLY do. Use their energy to keep yours up.

BE IN THE MOMENT. Sounds like a no brainer, but it's not, at least not for me. I often think about what comes next. Blame it on A.D.D. Blame it on a long line of hyperactive women, but I might hurry through a passage or I might worry the crowd isn't interested in what I'm reading or I might think about that chocolate bar waiting for me back in my room. DON'T. Be in the Moment. Read each word as if it is the most important word you've ever read. 

ACT NATURAL. Be yourself. YOU were asked to present because people want to hear what you have to say. 

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.  You wrote this brilliant, amazing, inspiring speech. Now it's time to practice it over and over again. Record yourself. You'll be surprised what you see, (Shocked probably), but don't run and hide. Now that you've seen and heard that you read too fast or you stumbled over a passage or you forgot to look at your audience or you read in a quiet, monotone voice that bored even you, you can practice and practice until you get it right. You WILL. I KNOW you will. 

And once your speech is over and the applause dies down, Go to Highlights Foundation  http://www.highlightsfoundation.org and Sign up for next year's workshop because you nailed your presentation, but you can always do better and don't your fans deserve it? 

I plan to write a number of blog posts discussing the Presentation Craft. Sign up for emails so you don't miss anything!

You work on the craft of writing everyday. Now it's time to develop your Presentation Craft. 

Write on,
Kim Briggs