What Readers Want

What I heard: Jackie K. Cooper’s entertaining interview of authors Karin Slaughter and Chelsea Cain

Where I was: Decatur, Georgia, at the Decatur Book Festival’s presentation “Internal Affairs,” part of its Mystery/Thriller Track, with my friend, author James Huskins

What I learned  heard, but was happy to be reminded of: 

1. Characters need to have secrets

2. Characters need to be damaged in some way

3. Violence and sex* are to be included if they move the story forward

4. Writing dialogue is a good way to get over “Writer’s Block”

5. Short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs create fast pace in action scenes

(Okay, I didn’t hear #5 there; I saw that on Twitter. But this week I read Cop Town by Slaughter and noticed it)

What I did: Listened intently, laughed, clapped, was inspired – then got drenched in a rainstorm walking to my car, but was in such a good mood that I  we laughed some more

What I did next: Downloaded Cop Town, read it (couldn’t put it down), and worked on my next Suspense (Book 4), paying attention to #s 1-5 and focusing on what readers want: 

suspense, surprises, a well crafted plot, good pacing, well developed characters, vivid descriptions, realistic dialogue…

* To my “beau-frère:”  I’m doing my best on this in Book 4!

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