Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Wild Writers Literary Festival Series – How to Kill a Man: The Secrets of Mystery Writing

Here is the fourth installment of the Wild Writers Literary Festival Series.  Missed the previous ones?  Read them here #1 #2 #3!

This workshop was animated by Brad Smith, author of the Virgil Cain mystery series.  It took the form of a casual chat between the participants and the writer.  Here is what emerged from the exchange.

  • The writing process is much more important than where the idea came from.  Chances are authors will prefer being asked about the former rather than the latter.
  • Newspapers can be a great source of inspiration for subplots.
  • Writing is a mental and physical process.  There are no right or wrong.  You have to do what works for you.
  • You can work with or without an outline.  One way is not better than the other.
  • Macguffins are great tools to get the readers into the story.
  • Don't switch P.O.V. in the middle of a scene.
  • Do your research.  Although Google is an amazing tool, to really "get" a place, you need to go there.
  • Write your first draft then do the research.  That way, you'll know what you need.
  • Pay attention to your secondary characters.  Give them quirks, traits that don't necessarily help the story.
  • Create a back story for your characters.  You don't need to put it all in the story, but it will help you create more believable characters.
  • Eavesdrop on other people's conversation to create good dialogues.  Find a voice for each characters.  Be aware of rhythm and cadence.
  • Use your others senses.  See things from a child's point of view.


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