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Tag Archives: Joseph Finder

Tuesday Tips: Reverse, Reveal, Surprise

Choco power

Writing fiction is a tug-o-war with your inner child--who will win? (Image copr. Vida Jocif)

Some of y’all who “like” me on Facebook know I’m deep into edits on a thriller WIP. Yes, I’m channeling my inner child to try my paw at some fiction writer-icity. Only time will tell whether readers will lap it up or howl and bare their teeth but it’s great fun for me all the same. Sort of like brain-candy as a break from some of the more serious nonfiction topics of daily work such as expressing puppy anal glands (EW!) or de-skunking your pet (double EW!). Actually some of that could make its way into my fiction since one of the viewpoint characters is a service dog. Hey man, it’s what I do!

DANGER! KNOWING TOO MUCH?

New writers are often told to write what you know. But there’s danger in that, too. When the author knows so much about a particular topic, info-dump-itis becomes a huge risk. (Guilty.) So in a way, writing about what you DON’T know might make more sense, and indulging in research only to the point needed to move the story forward. I really could care less how bullets are made, or why this gun sounds differently than that one. When I read a thriller I just want the gun to shoot when it’s supposed to.

BAD RESEARCH KILLS STORIES

But I also know readers who become distracted and jarred out of the story if the cop-hero carries the wrong firearm. I wouldn’t know or care. But I’m offended by authors who get dog/cat facts wrong in their novels–I’ve stopped reading at least one BSA for that reason when the hero/vet-tech gave her SAR dog Tylenol for muscle aches.

CHOOSING THE “WRITE” WORDS

How much is too much? What’s not enough? Just show the tip of the iceberg instead of dropping the whole lump-‘0-ice into the brew that takes the steam out of the story.

At least that’s what I believe Mr. Finder says in the latest video, below. I plan to take a page from his pacing playbook, too, and tape these three words above my computer: reverse, reveal, surprise.

JOSEPH FINDER SPEAKS

The past several Tuesday Tips have featured a series of video tips from Thrillerfest and best-selling authors. These include tips from Karin Slaughter,  a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song,interview with master author R.L. Stine, Ken Follett, and  John Sanford.  Last week’s video featured pacing tips from Andrew Peterson and Jeffery Deaver.

Today I’ve got the next installment of that panel.  You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.  Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! Today the video offers tips on pacing and character from best-selling author Joseph Finder.

How do you manage characterization in your novel without resorting to the dreaded info-dump-icity? Do you season in details like salt and pepper–or do you throw everything in the pot to boil and worry about diluting the broth later? Is it important for the author to know all of that backstory to write valid, compelling characters? What’s YOUR biggest hurdle in the fictioning process? (Hey, I’m a writer–I can make up words if I want to!). Please share!

This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: THRILLERFEST!

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Finally back from a whirlwind conference–Thrillerfest was wonderful as always. I’ll have some short videos later, too, but wanted to post the pictures (they’re out of order, sorry!) as soon as possible. Some of the pictures didn’t turn out. For instance, I got to hang out with my publisher Bob Mayer and editor Jenn Talty, but didn’t find the pictures that I know we took *sigh* I also neglected to get a photo of the panel that I was on with Allison Brennan, Joshua Corin, Sandra Brannan Patricia Gussin, Gar Anthony Haywood, and Karen Dionne.

Since this is Monday Mentions–that’s pretty much all you’ll find today, enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for some quick excerpts from some of the panels and interviews.

Amy & Tom Sawyer

Amy & Tom Sawyer–at the Saturday afternoon book signing. Tom’s a thriller author, playright, and screenwriter. He’s been a speaker at the OWFI conference several times.
Toni McGee Causey

Toni McGee Causey, author of the Bobbie Faye trilogy, stepped in as substitute panel master when JT Ellison lost her voice.

Amy & John Gilstrap

Amy & John Gilstrap, author of 9 thrillers and 5 screenplays--I've interviewed him on my Pet Peeves radio show in the past (yep, he's a dog lover!)

Amy & Taylor Stevens

Amy & Taylor Stevens--debut author Taylor and I sat across the aisle on the plane. Her book The Informationist sold out at the bookstore, so I'll have to get it later!

Amy & Michael Palmer

Amy & Michael Palmer--one of my all-time fav medical thriller authors. Also met debut author Daniel Palmer, his son and can't wait to read his DELIRIOUS novel which--includes a DOG!

Amy & Allison Brennan

Amy & Allison Brennan, a killer thriller author and totally awesome lady! Second year we were on the same panel--oh, and she's also a pet lover. Didn't I say she's awesome?

Amy & Jon Land

Amy & Jon Land--one of the movers-and-shakers of ITW who (of course) writes incredible thrillers.

Amy & Shane Gericke

Amy and my buddy Shane Gericke--a nominee this year for best thriller, great author! Check out his work at http://www.shanegericke.com

The Art of Pacing panel

James Rollins, Carla Buckley, Jeffery Deaver, Joseph Finder, Jamie Freveletti, Andrew Peterson, John Sanford, in THE ART OF PACING panel.

James Rollins & Amy

James Rollins, another of my fav authors with his latest book. Oh, and yes--I did wear my Bitch pin, as you see here.

Ken Follett & Douglas Preston

Ken Follett & Douglas Preston

RL Stine and James Rollins

RL Stine and James Rollins

Difference w- Male/Female Authors

How Male/Female Authors Approach the Page with Allison Brennan, Anna Destefano, Shane Gericke, Rick Molina, Erica Spindler

JT Ellison

JT Ellison--lost her voice but introduced the panel "Male/Female" approach to the page. Then on Saturday night, JT won the THRILLER Award for her papberack orginal "The Cold Room"--yay JT!

Debut Authors

Debut Authors, Class of 2011

John Lescroart & Gayle Lynds

John Lescroart & Gayle Lynds

How to lighten moment

Panel on "How to Include Humor in Thrillers" with Shane Gericke, David Bell, Toni McGee Causey, Harley Jane Kozak, Robert Liparulo, Amanda Kyle Williams

Scalpel Please

Find the Heart of Your Story with DP Lyle as Panelmaster, Brandt Dodson, Jonathan Hayes, Vladimir Lange, Michael Palmer, Stefanie Pintoff

Shane Gericke & Paula Lanier

Shane Gericke and Paula Lanier,two of my "thriller-buddies" -- Paula is a medical writer, too.

Jon Land & Paula Lanier

Paula Lanier & Jon Land--it's become an annual tradition to get this picture taken!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!