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

Monday, March 15, 2010

Villainy! - Celebrate the Craft

Celebrate the Craft! - From the blog of Joe Konrath

Let's talk about bad guys.

Some of my favorite books have villains that are just as memorable as the hero.

But what makes a good antagonist? Other than being in competition/conflict/opposition to the hero, what are the traits an adversary needs to have?

Here are a few things your villain should be:

  • Charismatic. The reader should be attracted to the villain in some way, even if it is a car-wreck type of attraction.
  • Powerful. The villain should be more powerful than the protagonist. Underdog stories are as old as the bible, and show no signs of losing public favor.
  • Motivated. A villain should have goals, dreams, desires, and reasons for doing what they do.
  • Cruel. Bad guys do bad things. That's what makes them bad.
  • Active. Like heroes, villains shouldn't be passive. The need to be doing things, moving the plot along, rather than simply reacting to things.
  • Realistic. If the reader doesn't believe the villain, the tension is gone.
Many crime novels don't have strong villains. Either the bad guy isn't revealed until the end, or the story dwells more on the protagonist's journey.

This is a missed opportunity to engage and excite the reader. Good vs. Evil is conflict in its purest form, and any sports fan can tell you that competition is a lot of fun.

Take a look at your WIP. Does it have a villain? Does the villain embody the traits listed above? How can your villain be improved?

Who are your favorite villains, and why?

You can celebrate craft with us at CraftFest in New York in July!

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