Author Mary Buckham started Saturday’s workshops with a session titled Conflict, Driving the Plot. “True conflict,” she said, “cannot be resolved by conversation.” A well-crafted template provided the questions needed to determine if our characters have the true conflict needed to move the story forward. Details from the movie Finding Nemo provided great examples.
In a gripping, and sometimes hysterical, two and a half hour presentation, retired Atlanta Police Lieutenant Danny J. Agan discussed police procedures then guided attendees through the important details of a murder investigation. Kiss of Death members stepped into the various roles of two emotional witnesses, the first officer on the scene, and a police detective, complete with a deerstalker hat. “Beanie” (at right, on the floor) played the part of a stabbed and strangled victim.
After a delicious buffet luncheon in the hotel’s Regency Room, we gathered for another session. NY Times Bestselling Author Lisa Gardner spoke on Winning Tips for Romantic Suspense. Here are some of recently contracted author Casey Clifford’s comments on Ms. Gardner’s presentation.
“Saturday afternoon, Portland, ME., I sat listening to Lisa Gardner discuss Romantic Suspense writing. What an informative and interesting speaker! Each moment she spoke I found myself thinking, had I done that, or had I thought about that point in my recent writing project. She gave me so much to mull over on my return flight home.
Perhaps, the most significant point she made was the element of keeping hope alive in your characters, and therefore in your readers, as you ramp up their danger. She hammered home how necessary it is to make our heroes and heroines “not perfect” so readers can relate to them. On the flip side of that Ms. Gardner reminded the audience that memorable villains have a soft human spot and we, as writers, must reflect that in some way to our readers.
This conference has been a creative spark for me. I’m sure the others in attendance have felt the same way. Each speaker brought special expertise to us. I’ve been very fortunate to be here.” ~ Casey Clifford
In another room, both published and aspiring authors pitched their books to Literary Agent Meg Ruley of Jane Rotrosen Agency and to Publisher/Managing Editor Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Dinner was on our own. Some of us gathered in The Armory, the Regency’s lounge, for dinner and more conversation.
Tomorrow morning we will meet for a buffet breakfast and final workshops. Check back Monday for a final wrap-up to the 2008 Kiss of Death Retreat.