My mind is still churning from all the information I received and the new friends I made at Crime Bake 2012 last weekend.
New England Crime Bake, an annual writer's conference, has been my destination on the second weekend of November for the past three years. I've been privileged to attend workshops and speak with authors like Charlaine Harris, Nancy Picard, Barry Eisler, Michael Palmer, Joseph Finder, and Hank Phillipi Ryan.
This year, all the sessions gave me useful information but one of my favorites was "The Bomb Under the Table" with Joseph Finder. I couldn't pass up something with an intriguing title hosted by the well-known author of thrillers like Buried Secrets
. One major takeaway was the importance of maximizing suspense. Slow down the suspenseful scenes to heighten the awareness of your character. Use internal discourse to show and build momentum. Bring in small details so the reader can put himself inside the story. Finder also suggested altering the cadence of sentences to keep up the suspense.
"Plotting a Page Turner" with Halle Ephron, author of "Never Tell a Lie" and "Come and Find Me", hosted another excellent session. Halle began by urging us to throw our character off balance in the opening scene. From that time on, our goal should be to constantly build and release the suspense. Take the character through a dark, unknown and terrifying place. Work the tension and fear and then give them a light switch. Voila! An ordinary empty house.
Finder and Ephron packed much more writing tips into their time slots as did every other one of the amazing authors who offered their knowledge and expertise. If you like to write, treat yourself to a conference. Hit your favorite browser and look them up by specific genres or states.
Embrace your Muse.