Neal Sofman of Bookshop West Portal sets up tables at the SFWC to sell books written by the presenters, attendees, and volunteers. This table is one of three at the Mark Hopkins Hotel where the conference is held every year.
https://www.bookshopwestportal.com Photo credit for Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan http://writingcoachTeresa.com
Teresa LeYung-Ryan’s book Love Made of Heart is on the right at the top with the girl whose eyes are closed.
My anthology, Written Across the Genres is on the left,
Below my book are DVDs by Maryjean Ballner who wrote Cat Massage: A Whiskers-To-Tail Guide to Your Cat’s Ultimate Petting Experience and Dog Massage, both books were published by St. Martin’s Press. She has been on the David Letterman Show and “Live With Regis and Kelly.” She presents workshops in Japan and the U.S. http://www.catmassage.com
I’m forever grateful to Maryjean for introducing me to the SF Writers Conference in 2006.
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?
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.
“Your character’s backstory should feel to you that it doesn’t ‘end’ where the story proper begins. It needs to still be there, under the surface. And if it’s strong enough it will help immeasurably in creating a powerful (story).”
Pauline Kiernan is a screenwriter, award-winning playwright, and Shakespeare scholar.
“Pauline is interested in exploring themes of identity and power through strong female characters with sharp wit and humour, and inspirational characters who struggle in their world against inner conflicts. If there is one defining characteristic of her characters it is an indomitable spirit.” http://www.pauline-kiernan.com/
Yiyun Li, in her keynote speech at the San Francisco Writers Conference, said we should eavesdrop on our characters and their lies, lies to other characters and to us. When asked how to eavesdrop on them, Li said to let them be and see what they do. The author is like a translator and listens to the characters.
Kinder Than Solitude is a profound mystery in which three friends’ lives are changed by a murder one of them may have committed. It has been described as dark, stunning, sleek, and powerful.
Her short story collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the 2005 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and all her books have received numerous other awards. She has been compared with Chekhov, Faulkner, and Alice Munro. The New Yorker named her one of the top 20 writers under 40. When I talked briefly with her at the conference this last weekend, I thought she was under twenty-five based on her youthful voice and physical appearance.
Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing, came to the United States in 1996, and now lives in Oakland, California. She teaches at the University of California, Davis.
“To write is to eavesdrop on people’s hearts.” Yiyun Li
Penny Sansevieri spoke at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I went to three of her sessions. She is the Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., and a widely recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is the author of fourteen books including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity.
“Don’t be an expert, be a filter.” ― Penny C. Sansevieri
She had many tips for promoting books. One idea I liked was to make trading cards and offer them as gifts for reviewers. She passed out a set of thirteen cards to everyone who came to her sessions at the conference. Each card had a writing tip. For instance, Tip #11 states, “Did you know that you can thank reviewers through your Amazon Author Central account? Every review that’s posted there has an “Add a comment” button that you can click on and post a comment” such as “thank you” which makes a connection to the reviewer and you can also offer them your latest book for free if they’d like to consider it for review, too”.
Her website is: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/
Find her on Twitter at:
At the San Francisco Writers Conference this past weekend, I met Laurie R. King, bestselling author of 22 novels. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and Dreaming Spies are two among the many books she wrote. King is the only crime writer with an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology.
In her Mary Russell series of which The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is the first, fifteen-year-old Russell meets Sherlock Holmes, becomes his apprentice, and then his partner.
Dreaming Spies is the title of her book to be released February 17, 2015. One of the editorial reviews on Amazon from The Washington Post Book World said that King “managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes’s character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart.”
Have any of you read books by Laurie R. King?