Last night I was on James O'Loghlin's show on ABC radio and the topic was writing courses: do they help budding authors?
Naturally, because I run creative writing classes, as well as write my own thrillers, you would expect me to say, Yes, they can help. Until I actually started to plan and write my first thriller, I had no idea of the hard work, discipline and techniques involved in writing a best seller. I do now. I leaned my craft the hard way – by reading masters of the thriller genre. As I read great thrillers I asked, what worked well and how did they do it? But I also did an introductory class in creative writing because I wanted to discover if I had the talent to write fiction. What the class did for me was give me the confidence to believe I might be good enough.
Lets not forget that creative writing is a craft, just like painting or sculpture, and just like singers and dancers, certain skills need to be learned. As authors, it is our job to craft the novel so that the language and structure doesn’t get in the way of the reader’s enjoyment. It is not good enough to simply have a great idea for a novel, although this of course is critical. It is how we tell that story that matters. I’m not saying that the structure should be obtrusive or rigidly adhered to, but genre fiction without a structure is like a body without a skeleton – a gooey mess.
For me, the central characters are the key to a reader's enjoyment of a book. That's why I always talk to my students about creating engaging, well-rounded, credible characters that readers want to follow throughout the story. I believe an author should know their characters inside out, know how they speak, walk into a room, their fears, vulnerabilities and ruling passion, and so on.
So, I am delighted to be running courses / workshops in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth in February 2013, and if you have always dreamed of writing your own thriller, or have already started, then I hope you will come along:
4 February Join me in Sydney for a 5 week evening course from 6:30pm, every Monday. To book, or find out more about the course, follow this link to the Australian Writers' Centre. Here are some details about what the course covers:
•The eight “must haves” of a good thriller
•How to find the story you want to tell
•Story structure, and how to incorporate key turning points
•Character creation – attributes, motivations
•How to craft the all important opening lines
•The dos and don’ts of action scenes
•Building pace and suspense
•How to craft a satisfying climax
and, What literary agents/publishers look for in a thriller.
16 February I'll be at the Brisbane City Library running a thriller writing workshop. It's a day workshop, absolutley free, thanks to the wonderful people at the library. This is your chance to learn writing techniques and to discover more about the thriller and crime fiction genres. The night before, on 15 February, I'm doing an evening talk on writing my current thriller, THIRST, set in Antarctica. Here is the link to the talk.
23 February I'm thriller to be running an afteroon workshop at the Perth Writers' Festival. To discover more about the festival, the panel sessions or this workshop, please follow this link. Here a taster of my thriller writing workshop:
EIGHT PILLARS OF A GOOD THRILLER
Want to write a gripping thriller that readers can't put down? Author LA Larkin will take
you through the crucial elements of thriller writing in this fun and informative workshop.
Learn how to develop plot, bring characters to life, create suspense and how to write
that critically important opening chapter. 2-5pm