February 20, 2015 · 4:44 pm
My previous post told about the three panelists at one of the San Francisco Writers Conference sessions I attended this year.The authors spoke about “Heroes & Villains: Building Compelling Characters for Crime Fiction.” The following are some notes I wrote from what each of them and the moderator, Kate Chynoweth, said.
Penny Warner said she gives the protagonist and antagonist equal weight and shows their strengths and weaknesses. She gives both an obstacle they have to overcome.
Laurie King is not an outliner. She writes a 300 page rough draft to find her way through the story and then revises.
Cara Black uses a particular section in Paris where the murder happens in the beginning, writes why the protagonist, Amy Leduc, would be in that area, and how Amy overcomes the unusual obstacles. Each book takes place in a different arrondissement (administrative district) in Paris and that setting becomes a character as well as the people. Cara also said that the villain is right in his/her own mind and then he/she has to continue with his belief to cover up what was done. Often the villain is smarter than the protagonist.
Kate Chynoweth pointed out that the villain can’t be completely villainous. Show something good about them or a fear they have. “Even a villain can be afraid of spiders.” For example: Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs liked classical music, particularly Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach.
During Q & A, the authors were asked what time frames they have to write their next book. Penny Warner writes one every six months. Cara Black writes one a year. Laurie King says a goal of an average of 3000 words a day could lead to a rough draft of a novel a month. It takes her 3-4 months to write the draft and then 5 months to revise.
I have to admit it has taken me 6 years to revise my fourth novel, Hada’s Fog. It’s still not polished the way I want it to be. Granted, I’ve been working only part time on it, but I had to put Hada aside for a while in order to write something fresh. I’m determined to finish Norman in The Painting in a year. I have these authors for inspiration.
How long has it taken you to write a book?
February 19, 2015 · 4:57 pm
One of the sessions I attended at the San Francisco Writers Conference was called “Heroes & Villains: Building Compelling Characters for Crime Fiction.” Kate Chynoweth, who is the head of the self-publishing division at Girl Friday Productions where she is executive editor, was the moderator for the panel. Three well-known authors on the panel included Cara Black, Laurie King, and Penny Warner.
Cara Black is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Aimee Leduc Mystery Thriller Series of 14 novels set in Paris, France. She frequently travels to Paris for research. ” On each visit she entrenches herself in a different part of the city, learning its secret history. She has posed as a journalist to sneak into closed areas, trained at a firing range with real Paris flics, gotten locked in a bathroom at the Victor Hugo museum, and—just like Aimée—gone down into the sewers with the rats (she can never pass up an opportunity to see something new, even when the timing isn’t ideal…” information from her website: http://carablack.com/bio/ Her newest book is called Murder on the Champ de Mars available March 3, 2015 on Amazon.
Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories (see my post on February 15, 2015 for more information or her website: http://www.laurierking.com/the-author
Dreaming Spies is the title of her most recent book released February 17, 2015, available on Amazon.
Penny Warner is a prolific writer of 60 published books for both adults and children. Her recent book is Her awards include
Dead Body Language
- Winner! – Macavity Award for Best First Mystery
- Nominated! – Agatha Award for Best First Mystery
Mystery of the Haunted Caves
- Winner! – Agatha Award for Best Juvenile Mystery
- Winner! – Anthony Award for Best Juvenile Mystery
The Official Nancy Drew Handbook
- Nominated! – Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction
Her recent books are called The Death of a Crabby Cook: A Food Festival Mystery and Death of a Chocolate Cheater: A Food Festival Mystery. Her website is: http://pennywarner.com/aboutme.html
Penny Warner is a columnist for VALLEY TIMES AND HERALD, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Her recent post about missing Valentines Day with her husband because she was at the SF Writers Conference is an example of her humor. It’s called “GRAB A BOX OF CHOCOLATES AND GET INSPIRED” Thursday, February 19, 2015.
My next post will be a writing tip from each of the panelists that I wrote in my notes.
March 25, 2014 · 9:30 pm
On the plane ride to France, I read Cara Black’s Murder in Glichy. Each of her mysteries take place in a different part of Paris. Reading her book and being in two countries for a few days made me want to use European settings for future stories.The Air France Bus I took from the airport stopped at the Etoile Arc de Triomphe, a few blocks from the apartment where Mitchell wrapped up the board meeting held there. We were fortunate to be able to stay at that same apartment above the H&M on the Champs Elysees. The location was ideal with shops, restaurants, and multiple theater choices. The Lauduree store across the street had a continuous line of macaroon cookie lovers eager to buy several flavors. A longer walk in the opposite direction from the Arc led to the Lourve and the Seine River. We could see the top of the Eiffel Tower between buildings so we rushed over to it when the sparkling lights were showing. The choice to leave Paris for a day and a half with a short tour of Germany was not an easy one to make. However, since we had been to Paris two other times and never to Germany, we accepted Mitchell’s colleague’s invitation to stay at her house. Tomorrow I’ll blog about that adventure.
March 13, 2013 · 7:02 pm
Cara Black was the moderator for a session at the San Francisco Writers Conference in February called: Finding the 411 You Need: Doing Research for Fun & Profit. She writes the bestselling and award nominated Aimee Leduc investigation series that is set in different districts of Paris. Her next novel, Murder Below Montparnasse comes out in March. http://www.carablack.com