Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Scaring Your Readers

As some of my blog readers know, I am the Second Vice President for Pikes Peak Writers, and in that capacity, I work on organizing non-conference programs with the Workshops Director, Barb Nickless. Our fall workshop on Saturday, November 3rd, was "Scaring Your Readers," in honor of Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. Horror/fantasy authors Carrie Vaughn, Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnick Tem gave presentations at the full-day workshop and signed copies of their books for attendees. Tom Piccirilli was originally scheduled to join them, but due to an illness, had to back out two weeks prior to the event. Ed Bryant graciously agreed to take his place on short notice, then had to cancel the day before, also due to illness. At that point, Barb was afraid to ask any other authors because that position seemed to be jinxed!

The four segments of the workshop were designed to teach attendees how to:

Recognize the different ways in which horror, suspense, and crime fiction utilize suspense (The Rules of Writing Suspense in Different Genres)
Take the components of a suspenseful, page-turning story and put them all together (Pacing and Structure, or Don’t Go Into the Basement Alone!)
Use language and imagery to create suspense in your reader (Language, Image, and the Atmosphere of Suspense)
Look at creating suspense from the perspective of character (Who’s Scaring Whom? The Importance of Character).

The 28 attendees all left satisfied that they'd learned some things they could apply to their own writing, regardless of the genre. And Barb and I left satisfied that we'd found a work-around for our speaker illnesses, the microphones worked, we didn't lose money on the workshop, and everyone got a lunch they were satisfied with. There are so many little details that have to be managed even for a "simple" one-day workshop. We're happy to take a breather now and focus on our own writing before our next big PPW event--the spring workshop in February/March.

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