Operation: Inspire Others

I missed both the Romance Writers of America Conference and Thrillerfest this year due to our move overseas, so imagine how thrilled I was to learn that three fabulous authors: Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, and Kathleen Antrim were visiting Germany. I was so over-the-moon happy to attend their workshop and meet-and-greet events that I cancelled a trip to the world’s largest wine festival in Bad Dürkheim, Germany!  (I haven’t located a writing community here yet, so I am starved for that creative connection with other writers–Twitter helps :-)).

It was standing room only in a good-sized library on the Army base in Landstuhl. The authors revealed writing tips and secrets on a variety of topics such as: finding an agent; their writing processes; and staying fresh and unique after writing several books. The audience asked great questions and the trio provided thoughtful answers and advice.

Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, and Kathleen Antrim, Operation Thriller

L to R: Kathleen Antrim, Diana Gabaldon, and Tess Gerritsen

From Diana:

Diana advised writers to put your completed manuscript in a drawer for a month. Then when you pull it out to read, ask yourself of everything, “Why is it there?” Why is this character there? Why is this scene there? Why is this sentence there? Everything should be there for a reason.

From Kathleen:

When Kathleen starts a book, she nails the concept first. Then she asks herself if the concept will sustain a novel. Once she has the concept down she writes a 3×5 card of each scene in longhand. She writes who is going to be in the scene and what’s going to happen. This process gives her the bones of her novel.

From Tess:

Tess urged writers to seek emotional resonance in scenes. “Don’t just write what you see in a scene, but also what you’re feeling in that scene.” She used an example of describing a skirt. Instead of just describing the color, perhaps say it looked wrinkled like a child had tugged on it.

One final nugget of wisdom came from Diana. She spoke about The Rule of Three, advocating the use of three senses in a scene. “Then the scene will come alive.”

Operation Thriller V

Thriller authors visit Germany! That’s me in purple 🙂

I came away feeling inspired. From the enthusiastic applause I know others felt the same way. The authors then hung around and graciously signed their books for an even larger number of people. (While we were in the workshop, they were amassing in another room!)

The event, to “lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families” was sponsored by International Thriller Writers (ITW) in coordination with the USO. Even the books were donated. The official name of the program, which this year included stops at bases in the UK and Germany, is Operation: Thriller. My sincere thanks to all who made it possible. What a wonderful thing to do for those serving away from home, and their families.  Oh, check out the cool poster they signed for everyone:

Operation Inspire Others

Comments

  1. Wow! Imagine meeting those three fine authors in Germany. That must have been quite a thrill. Proves that it pays to keep yourself open to opportunity wherever you are. Thanks for sharing their tips with us.

  2. Victoria M. Johnson says:

    Hi Sandy–
    Oh they shared great tips. These were just a sampling. It was so nice to be in a room with others and talking about writing!
    Victoria–

  3. Victoria, that is the coolest thing I have ever heard about! What a fantastic opportunity for you! I know your creative batteries are charged for the next few months! Write on!

  4. Hi Jayne–
    Yes, exactly! It’s the creative boost I needed 🙂
    Victoria–

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