I’m discussing James Polchin’s amazing new book Indecent Advances, which is “A skillful hybrid of true crime and social history that examines the relationship between the media and popular culture in the portrayal of crimes against gay men in the decades before Stonewall.” It’s going to be a great conversation!
A query email is often your first introduction to an agent or editor. For fiction writers, who often think expansively, these important emails can be challenging to write. However, they are a crucial first step to getting a manuscript published and must be mastered. In this workshop, we’ll explore several approaches to query writing, addressing some of the more difficult aspects of it, particularly how to make a compelling opening to how to streamline your synopsis to how to refine your book’s central message. We’ll discuss structure and tone, and look at some examples together.
I’ll be on a panel called “Writing Through Facts: How Research Shapes and Frustrates Narrative” with other fabulous—DeMisty Bellinger, Melissa Scholes Young, Jessica Hendry Nelson, and Matthew Ferrence—and running a workshop titled “Crafting Revelation in Fiction One Detail at a Time.” It should be an awesome day! Sign up now!
On April 18, during the "Women, Gender, and Hardboiled PI" session (3:00-4:30, Maryland B), I'll be presenting a paper titled "Subverting the Femme Fatale: Gillian Flynn and Petra Hammesfahr challenge and complicate female criminality."
On April 20 (11:30-1:00, Maryland B), join me for a local mystery authors panel.
I’m on a panel called “Death in a Particular Time and Place” with Charles Belfoure (The Fallen Architect), David Downie (The Gardener of Eden), and Laurie Loewenstein (Death of a Rainmaker). We’ll discuss how our newest books are defined in part by setting and location.
Join us for a fantastic literary evening with us, the writers of the Lost River Writers' Retreat, as we read from our work!
I'm thrilled to be returning to my hometown to read from Dodging and Burning! We'll convene in the Copenhaver Meeting Room where I'll give a short talk and a reading, followed by a signing. Refreshments will be served. The event is being graciously organized by the Book and Study Club of Marion, Smyth County Museum and Historical Society, and Friends of the Library. I will have a limited number of copies of DODGING AND BURNING for sale!
NYC folks: Join me for a discussion of Dodging and Burning hosted by BOOKTHEWRITER, the brainchild of novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz (Admission and The Devil and Webster), who founded the organization to bring writers and readers together in an informal setting.
Sign up soon before all the seats are gone!!!
We often discuss pacing in terms of plot: A fast paced novel is a narrative where a lot happens, right? Although a product of structure, pacing is more complex than a story’s rate of action. To understand it, a fiction writer must take into account action; emotional tension and fluctuation; chapter/section, paragraph, and sentence length; and even white space. All of these elements work together to create a novel’s pace. In this workshop, we’ll discuss pacing beyond plot. We’ll look at it in terms of character development and style. We’ll look at several examples of well paced scenes and conclude with an exercise that can help you invigorate pacing without altering plotting.
Book Signing, April 28th, 11:00 to 11:50 AM
New Author Breakfast, April 29th, 7:00 to 8:45 AM
Panel: "Get Your Facts Straight," April 29th, 10:00-10:50 AM
I'm so excited to be debuting DODGING AND BURNING at The Mysterious Bookshop for NYC-ers! I'd love to see you there. (Free bubbly will be included too!) If you haven't been, The Mysterious Bookshop is so cool. It specializes in all things crime fiction.
Let me know if you’re coming: Check out the Facebook event invitation.
So excited to be reading at AWP with Stillhouse authors and other GMU alums!
In fiction, stereotypical characters are often the result of lazy writing. At best, they are a turnoff and at worst they’re offensive. At times, though, fiction writers must rely on secondary stock characters to advance plot, give texture to setting, and support richly drawn principle players. Because these secondary characters aren’t fully developed, invariably they begin to fall into pat stereotypes: the bad boy, the femme fatale, the dewy-eyed ingenue, the wise fool, the quirky gay best friend, etc. In this workshop, we’ll examine a few stock characters and discuss how to write against type in a way that won’t undermine our storytelling, but will help us to avoid cliché and bad writing. We’ll read samples from published authors who have written stock characters compellingly and try our own hand at breaking stock characters out of their stereotypes.
Point-of-view is one of the most complex elements of fiction. Before you begin your novel or short story, you need to know who your narrator is, who the audience is, how the narrative is being communicated, what time has passed between the events of the story and its telling, and what constraints your point-of-view has. Yes, it’s a lot to consider, but understanding the answers to those questions is the first step to writing rich and compelling fiction. In this workshop, we will discuss different types of point-of-view, and the pain and beauty of their various limitations. We’ll read work from published authors as examples and end with a short exercise to get us thinking more deeply about narrative perspective.
To celebrate the second annual Lost River Writers' Retreat, I'll be reading with Ross White, Karen Sosnoski, Matt Albersworth, and Ericka Nichols-Frazer!