Welcome to the Thrillerfest V Blog!

We hope you'll bookmark us, just as you bookmark so many of the hundreds of the International Thriller Writers that participate in our annual conference, held in New York City in July.

ITW is a youthful organization, always ready for a new way of looking at things. You'll find that dynamism here, in blog posts from authors, agents, editors and Thrillerfest attendees, past and present.

And that same excitement you feel from your favorite reads is evident in everything ITW does, and no wonder--the organization, staffing and publicity for ThrillerFest--including this new blog--is undertaken by volunteers, most of whom are ITW authors themselves.

So pull up a chair and stay awhile ... discover the latest news on what Thrillerfest V--the fifth anniversary of the conference--has to offer. Visit old friends, make new ones, ask questions, and hear about the remarkable things in store for the conference.

Whether or not you can come see us in New York--and we hope that you can!--please join us here. It's gonna be ... a thriller!

Kelli Stanley, Thrillerfest Publicity Committee Chair

Thrillerfest Publicity Committee:
Jeannie Holmes
CJ Lyons
Carla Buckley
Grant McKenzie

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 8 - CraftFest Opening Day

The days spent at ThrillerFest always feel like an extended family reunion. I almost feel as though I'm seeing favorite, distant cousins who live too far away instead of reconnecting with friends. Naturally, there are the "new" people but they are quickly accepted into the family and the cycle continues. If you haven't attended a previous ThrillerFest - and you aren't already here this year - I highly recommend you join us in 2010. We'd love to see you!

And...just to tempt you, I'll be blogging every day this week with a summary of the day's events. Lots to say so let's get started.

CraftFest opening day kicked into high gear early with sessions from powerhouses David Morrell, Lisa Gardner, Lee Child, Kathleen Antrim, Jon Land, Steve Berry, Heather Graham, and more. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend a few of the classes. Thankfully, all sessions are being recorded, as they were last year, and will be available for purchase post-conference. (More on that later in the week.)

"The Business of Writing" Bonus Power Session with David Morrell - this year's ThrillerMaster - covered topics such as advances, day jobs, taxes, and common mistakes made by authors. When "Rambo's Daddy" speaks, people listen and the audience for this session was attentive and more than a few people were taking notes. Summary: When the book is sold, don't go nuts. Save and spend wisely. Don't give up your day job.

"Living on the Ritz - How to Hit the Times List in Five Years or Less" with Lisa Gardner was entertaining as well as informative. Lisa used her own works as an example and discussed what it means to be on the NY Times list. Summary: Know your strengths and weaknesses as an author. Know what you want to write in terms of genre. Always remember the writing comes first.

"Creating a Series Character" presented by Lee Child was incredibly entertaining. Using his popular Jack Reacher novels as examples, Lee discussed what makes a good series character and some of the missteps to avoid in the creative process. Summary: Don't try to write a "likeable" series character. Characters are created by the readers as much as by the writers. If it's a good solid character, the series will follow.

"Successful Rewriting: Paring Down and Fleshing Out" was incredibly popular - standing room only popular. Lisa Gardner outlined her method of rewriting using notecards and how it helped her novel "The Perfect Husband" be "bigger." Summary: Notecards, flow charts, outlines - it doesn't matter the method used, if it works for you and allows you to see where your story is strongest and where it needs work, use it!

"Chill Me, Thrill Me, Fulfill Me" gaves participants a hands-on writing exercise under the direction of Heather Graham. Attendees were invited to read their creations aloud and "pitch" their work to Heather. Summary: Given the same opening line, a dozen writers will create a dozen different stories. Know your work and approach pitches with confidence.

Day 2 - Thursday, July 9 - will see more great events. Sessions with Andrew Gross, Donald Maass, Gayle Lynds, James Rollins, M. J. Rose, and of course, AgentFest - the annual pitch session to end all pitch sessions. I'll report on the events in the evening so be sure to check back!

Jeannie Holmes

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