Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Left Coast Crime: Best Advice Summarized.

Usually when I return from conferences, I write posts that are too long. What can I say? Conferences energize me, and the energy manifests in a torrent of words.

My opinion about the importance of attending writing conferences is already documented, so in the spirit of my last post (Just Say 10 Words and Shut Up), I will simply share the best two pieces of advice I took away from Left Coast Crime: Booked in L.A.

#1. Tim Hallinan: When pushing through a story outline or synopsis, try writing brief opening lines of dialogue for each scene and then summarizing--briefly--how you see the rest of that scene or chapter going. Then move on.

#2. Twist Phelan: For short stories, think about a character you wouldn't want to spend a whole book with. Or maybe find the one exciting thing that happens in the life of an otherwise normal person.

Both food for thought.

Here's a picture of Tim and I. Can you tell I adore him? In a few weeks I'll be guest blogging for him, talking about my "writing process." I hope the piece will generate some discussion here because I'm always keen to learn how others make up their stories.

My goal for March is to write a synopsis for Book #3 so I'll report back how Tim's advice works out for me.


  1. Synopsis writing is to me akin to performing surgery on myself. A brutal and bloody process that leaves me wishing I could just die to get it over with. Good luck!

  2. I'm right there with you, Chris. Surgery on self with blunt object...

  3. Hhmmm...very interesting tip on the synopsis writing. I have a great system for getting the synopsis down but I'm going to try his tip for what I call my scene list. Dialogue is typically my jumping off point anyway so I can really wrap my mind around this idea. Thanks!!

  4. Ginger, for the love of everything that is good in the world, please e-mail me your great system.

  5. Both of these tips are great! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great to see you out here, Bethany. I saw on Facebook that you're spending a lot of time at the (loud) library. Hope you're getting in some good writing time!