ThrillerFest XIII • July 10 – 14, 2018 • Grand Hyatt • New York City

Schedule

CraftFest Schedule

Please check back in early 2018 for the updated ThrillerFest XIII schedule.

Below you’ll find the 2017 schedule.


Updated: 6/16/17
Click on the schedule to open and download as a pdf and scroll down to read detailed class descriptions.


2017 CRAFTFEST CLASSES DESCRIPTIONS

 

Wednesday, July 12 | 8:30 am – 9:20 am

Boyd Morrison – PACING: Creating A Book Readers Can’t Put Down

Description: For a thriller novel, it’s all about the pacing, so that readers keep turning the pages long past their bedtimes. But a fast pace doesn’t necessarily mean constant action; a great roller coaster ride is as much about the suspenseful build-up of tension as it is about the thrills. Boyd will explore how to balance breakneck storytelling speed with the character conflict and setting details that make a compelling novel.

Carla Buckley & Jenny Milchman – HIGH STAKES ON A SMALL STAGE: The Exploding Popularity Of The Family Thriller

Description: Once thrillers took place across a global terrain, with entire populations, economies, or governments at risk. But the intimate landscape of everyday life is behind some of the biggest recent blockbusters–think Gone Girl or Girl on a Train; think franchise authors like Harlan Coben or Linwood Barclay–and in this workshop Carla Buckley and Jenny Milchman explore why, and how to craft your own next big book.

Adam Hamdy – ADAPTING NOVELS FOR THE SCREEN

Description: Adam is the author of the Pendulum trilogy. The first book in the series, Pendulum, was selected for the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Book Club and was also chosen as book of the month by Goldsboro Books and WH Smith Travel. Pendulum was described by New York Times best-selling author James Patterson as ‘one of the best thrillers of the year’. Adam is currently adapting Pendulum into an eight-part series for Hardy, Son & Baker and NBC Universal. Adam’s previous work includes the adaptation of David Mitchell’s bestseller, Number9Dream, for Academy Award winning director, Asif Kapadia, and Academy Award nominated producer, Lee Thomas. Adam currently has film and television projects in development with production companies and studios on both sides of the Atlantic. A must for aspiring screenwriters or authors who are interested in learning about the process of adapting a book for screen. Novelist and screenwriter, Adam Hamdy, will discuss the tools and techniques he uses to adapt for screen, focusing on two recent case studies, David Mitchell’s Booker Prize nominated novel, Number9Dream, and Adam’s own novel, Pendulum.

Steve Berry – THE SIX C’S OF STORY STRUCTURE: It’s Not Everything – It’s Absolutely Everything

Description: Writing a novel is like building a house. There is one common factor in each and every one – a foundation.  This class will explore the creation of that foundation and the 6 “C’s” necessary for success.

 

Wednesday, July 12 | 9:30 am – 10:20 am

Geoff Symon – DEAD RIGHT: Autopsies For Authors

Description: Corpses pop up in every genre, from family funerals to violent crimes to creatures that won’t stay buried. This workshop introduces authors to the specifics of the postmortem, from time of death estimates to Y-incisions. Get the facts for your fiction – we’ll cover it all from cadaver to slab!

David Holtzman – HACKING FOR HACKS

Description: Technology has become an integral part of thrillers and will undoubtedly

become more so after last year’s election. This talk will address 3 questions: How do you hack a person, including email, cellphones and connected devices? How do you hack a corporation or agency? What book worthy cyber threats are on the horizon?

Sam Wiebe – BRINGING CHARACTERS TO LIFE

Description: In this workshop, we’ll focus on two essential parts of storytelling: creating dynamic characters, and writing convincing dialogue. Using a variety of examples, we’ll discuss techniques to people your story with characters that readers care about, and how to write dialogue that reveals character while moving your story forward. Suitable for writers at any stage.

Steve Berry – WHO’S TELLING THE STORY AND WHAT ARE THEY SAYING: POV And Dialogue

Description: Selecting point-of-view characters is one of a writers most important jobs. How many should there be? Who are they? What should the psychic distance be between the reader and the characters. What should it be between the characters themselves? This class will cover those topics, along with the ins and outs of dialogue.

 

Wednesday, July 12 | 10:30 am – 11:20 am

Meg Gardiner – SUSPENSE: Keep Characters In Peril And Readers Turning Pages

Description: Learn techniques to create and sustain suspense in fiction. The class will explain how to raise readers’ curiosity, needle them with anxious uncertainty, and keep them turning pages, eager to find out what happens next.

Steven James – TROUBLESHOTTING YOUR NOVEL: Techniques For Identifying And Solving Manuscript Problems

Description: In this practical workshop packed full of specific, time-tested advice, you’ll learn how to pinpoint weak spots in your story (and solve them), examine how to adjust elements of story progression, develop riveting characters, master narrative techniques, and ensure reader engagement. You owe your book more than a polish and a proofread. This workshop will help take it to the next level.

D.P. Lyle, M.D. – FAMOUS PEOPLE; FAMOUS DEATHS: What Medical History Can Teach You About Storytelling

Description: How did death visit Lincoln, Goliath, Michael Jackson, John Ritter, Princess Di, and Kurt Cobain? Did Van Gogh suffer from digitalis intoxication? Was Marilyn Monroe murdered? How did arsenic become the “Queen of Poisons” and is it still a viable fictional poison? Learn how each of these deaths can help you plot your thriller.

David Morrell – COMMON MISTAKES IN DIALOGUE AND DESCRIPTION AND HOW TO FIX THEM

Description Did you ever get the sense that your dialogue and descriptions weren’t quite working, but you couldn’t figure out what was wrong? One of ITW’s Thriller Masters, David Morrell, offers several easy ways to diagnose and correct what turn out to be obvious problems once you once you know what to look for.

 

Wednesday, July 12 | 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm

Gabriela Pereira – CONQUER THE CRAFT OF WRITING (Without Breaking Your Heart or Losing Your Mind)

Description: Here’s the secret about writing: survival (and also success) has nothing to do with talent, it’s all about mindset, attitude, and mastering the craft. Whether you are just starting out or have been writing for decades, the most effective way to improve as a writer is by understanding yourself more fully both on—and off—the page. In this talk, Gabriela debunks three major myths about the writing process, shares her secret formula for conquering goals, and walks you through a fundamental technique that will change your writing forever. You’ll leave this session energized and inspired, but also with the tools you need so you can write more, write better, and write smarter.

K.J. Howe, Jaime Levine & Nathaniel Marunas – NOTHING IS WRITTEN IN STONE: Editorial Advice From Publishers

Description: Join Nathaniel Marunas, Publisher of Quercus and Jaime Levine, Publisher of Diversion Books, as they discuss the editorial advice given to author K.J. Howe to help take her book from draft to starred reviews from BookList and Kirkus. The goal of this class is to give attendees many tips they can use while editing their own manuscripts.

Gayle Lynds – THE 8 SECRETS TO CREATING A BESTSELLING THRILLER

Description: What is the real foundation of thriller writing? Join Gayle Lynds and learn how to understand what you’re doing in your thriller, how to make it work for you, and how to weave together each aspect of writing – characters, plot, voice, story, etc.

Jon Land – IT’S THE STORY, STUPID!

Description: How to avoid writer’s block and finish every book you start in three easy steps. An interactive lesson in structure in which the ideas of attendees take center stage.

 

Wednesday, July 12 | 2:00 pm – 2:50 pm

Anthony Franze & Barry Lancet – 10 THINGS BESTSELLING AUTHORS DO TO MAKE THEIR MANUSCRIPT SING

Description: Author Anthony Franze spent the past five years interviewing nearly 100 thriller writers – Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner, and some of the bestselling authors in the world – about their rules of writing. Along the way, he realized that many of the legends in the genre identified some of the same rules. In this CraftFest course, Anthony, along with award-winning thriller writer and former editor, Barry Lancet distill the bestsellers’ rules into 10 practical tips – things you can do to immediately improve your manuscript. This course is not about “big picture” advice, but small, yet important, things you can implement right away to add a final professional touch, and ensure your manuscript is ready for an agent or editor’s eyes.

ATF Panel Master: Ginger Colbrun, Chris Bombardiere & Charlie Houser – FIREARM FORENSICS

Description: Hear the down and dirty straight from the nation’s firearms experts. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will give an intriguing presentation on how they trace the firearms used in the latest mass shooting, or the homicides in Baltimore last weekend. Special Agents will also give writers unique insight in the forensics used to link a firearm to multiple shootings through the firearm’s “fingerprint.”

Daniel Palmer – THRILLER WRITING FROM A TO Z

Description: How to begin putting your novel of suspense together; how to proceed; how to end. This presentation will be a how-to, step-by-step- guide to molding your thriller.

Donald Maass – THE STORY YOU’RE NOT TELLING

Description: In this class you will learn methods to create story pleasures, character despair, a sense of era, new twists on a genre, and hoe to use your own resistance to achieve new heights of story.

 

Wednesday, July 12 | 3:00 pm – 3:50 pm

Peter James – KEEPING THE READER TURNING THE PAGE

Description: Peter James will talk on the art of establishing and maintaining suspense all the way through a mystery novel.

ATF Panel Master: Ginger Colbrun, Thomas Shelton, Patrick Hoffman & Justin Quinn – CAPTURING THE WORST OF THE WORST

Description: The Special Response Team (SRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) apprehends of some of the country’s most violent criminals. This is accomplished through promoting survivability by protecting the public, the Bureau’s agents, other law enforcement officers, and the suspects. Averaging 200 activations over the last five years, SRT components respond to high-risk operations involving multiagency operations targeting murderers, multi-convicted felons, outlaw motorcycle organizations, terrorist organizations, and organized crime groups. These significant investigations require superior tactical proficiencies and specialized equipment. Meet some of the members of the elite team.

Andrew Gross – USING HISTORY TO CREATE FICTION

Description: What are the boundaries in the use of historical fact for fictional purposes? What liberties can you take? How can actual events ramp up the tension in your thriller?

Walter Mosley – TRANSLATING PROSE INTO CINEMATIC WRITING

Description: How can you take your prose (novel, short story, play, etc.) to the big, or small, screen? Join Walter Mosley as he shows how to transition your stories into the cinematic format.

 

Wednesday, July 12 | 4:00 pm – 4:50 pm

Hallie Ephron – THE WEB OF CHARACTER

Description: Developing characters with competing goals creates the kind of tension that elevates a story to a page turner. This class presents a method for character-driven plotting that builds in conflicting goals. We’ll analyze examples, and step step through a process for honing characters and their goals to add tension to participants’ works in progress.

Sean McFate – MERCENARIES: An Insider’s Perspective

Description: Mercenaries are back, not slinging AK-47s but flying helicopter gunships and armed drones. They are special forces for hire, and nothing is off limits. Big oil companies can rent small armies, as do oligarchs, drug lords, terrorists and random billionaires. Who are these modern mercenaries? Where do they come from? How do you hire them? Who is hiring them? What are they paid? What can they really do? Can they be hired to do good? This session takes you inside the world of mercenaries by a former “private military contractor,” who worked mostly in Africa.

Joan Johnston – HOW TO KEEP READERS UP ALL NIGHT

Description: Eight techniques for “hooking” readers at the beginning and end of each chapter to keep them turning the page.

Lee Child – HOW DO YOU CREATE A BESTSELLING THRILLER? Ask Lee Child

Description: Bring your questions to this highly interactive session and “pick the brain” of mega-bestselling author Lee Child. Learn the ins and outs of character development, plotting, and storytelling from one of the best.

 

Thursday, July 13 | 8:00 am – 8:50 am

Robert Dugoni – DYNAMIC STORY: Getting Readers To Turn The Page

Description: Keep the Pages Turning. Creating and Maintaining Tension and Suspense. What is it that keeps us up late at night biting our nails and turning the pages of a good novel? Tension and Suspense. Bob will teach techniques employed by established writers to create conflict or to inject conflict into flat scenes, creating the tension and suspense readers crave in the best novels.

Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush – DOUBLING DOWN: Writing With A Partner

Description: Learn how bestselling authors (and sisters) Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush write together. In the class, you’ll learn their secrets about how to work on the same projects or separate projects with a partner. Sibling squabbles? Differences of opinion? Fisticuffs? Or deep philosophical discussions over mulled wine? We’ll discuss all pitfalls and benefits. In this class you’ll learn how to compliment and embellish your unique style with the help of another writer’s skills.

Carrie Parks – DON’T LIE TO ME

Description: Carrie Stuart Parks is an internationally known, award-winning forensic art instructor as well as FBI trained, Certified Forensic Artist. She worked for the North Idaho Regional Crime Lab for years before going freelance, working on major criminal and civil cases. She is a signature member of the Idaho Watercolor Society. Her debut novel, A Cry from the Dust, published by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins, won the prestigious Carol Award for best Mystery/Thriller/Suspense for 2015. Learn how to write, recognize, and understand the forensic elements of deception. The focus of this presentation would be on deception through language (statement analysis) with an overview on physical clues.

Lisa Gardner – HOW ABOUT CHARACTERIZATION: The Art Of Show Not Tell

Description: In suspense, clever plotting is only half the battle. Learn how to make your thriller stand apart in this workshop with NYT bestselling author Lisa Gardner aimed at creating a compelling protagonist and intriguing villain that will linger in a reader’s mind long after the end.

 

Thursday, July 13 | 9:00 am – 9:50 am

T. Jefferson Parker – “SLOW TO START FAST TO FINISH”

Description: Best-selling author T. Jefferson Parker will show you the importance of preparation before beginning your novel. Topics include finding your subject matter, choosing your characters, and the bare bones of outlining — and how they lead you into that first page of composition.

Allison Brennan – BREAKING RULES TO BREAK IN OR BREAK OUT

Description: Every writer — published and unpublished — want to take their stories to the next level … and we all get stuck. We’re hampered by the so-called rules, we question story choices, we don’t know if the stakes are high enough or the conflict totally contrived. Our own insecurities often stifle our creativity. How do you free yourself from arbitrary rules in order to write a story worth reading? How can you break into this tough market … or break out of the rut you’re in?

Kevin Kamrowski – MANHUNTING: Boots On The Ground With The US Marshalls

Description: Join US Marshall Kevin Kamrowski for an insider’s view into the life of a US Marshall.  Bring your questions.

J.A. Jance – TO OUTLINE OR NOT TO OUTLINE: That Is The Question!

Description: The world of writers is divided into two parts—the outliners and the non-outliners. J.A. Jance, a 30 year NO, discusses both sides of this equations in a class designed to give credence to both.