Monday, November 12, 2012
The title of this post is novelist Joseph Finder's chief words of advice to writers. Surprise, Reverse, Reveal. Finder was guest of honor at the eleventh annual New England Crimebake. WTF, you ask is that? It's a New England crime writing conference held every year in the Boston area over Veteran's Day weekend. The fun starts Friday with six master classes taught by veteran New England crime writers. Then there's some drinking (after all, we're writers!) and a pizza party followed by a couple of seminars and a movie, in this case, a film based on Finder's High Crimes. More drinking.
Saturday a.m. comes breakfast, caloric energy for the panels on writing and forensics. We cover a broad range of topics, such as female stereotypes in fiction, true crime, traditional mysteries, the "dark side," agents and editors (on site and available for 5 minute pitches). We have parties sponsored by Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. BTW, when I booked tour of the Norfolk County Jail for Sisters in Crime, you should have seen the eyebrows shoot up and the quizzical faces. Sisters in Crime? Ho. ho. ho.
Saturday afternoon wrapped up with panels about setting, esp. New England, and how to write short stories. Then comes the cocktail party (more boozing) and the Banquet and Costume Party, Femmes Fatales and Lady Killers.
On Sunday, the revelers drag themselves to a big fortifying breakfast, and two forensics presentations and a final panels on plotting, whereby the panelists come up with a serviceable plot in a short time amid much laughter.
Oh yes, books! Did I mention books? We have a bookseller and the panelists will sign them. The books, not the bookseller! I've barely touched on the good writing info and the fun. And the drinking. It's amazing how people who sit in front of a screen or a yellow pad and write all day can get out on the dance floor and boogie.
I'll post photos when Significant Other has a chance to remove the omnipresent "red eyes" and email them to me. Yours truly made a pretty good pitch and got dynamite suggestions for improvements to her manuscript which she is busily making this week. Manuscript critiques are available from established writers. We have it all.
At home, this morning, there's a huge ugly mess of programs, papers, books and even bookmarks to sort through as well as two days of mail and nine newspapers. As there was no food in the house, we had popped over to the Longhorn after watching the Pats win. Nice leftovers of prime rib and barbecued ribs for lunch. My own chicken parm for dinner. O.K., the diet starts tomorrow. After walking the length of the hotel about 50 times, this may not be as necessarily as one would imagine. The conference hotel, the Dedham Hilton has been the scene of the "Crimebake" for several years and they know the drill and do an excellent job.
I sold a couple copies of World of Mirrors out of the trunk of my car, metaphorically speaking, and reconnected with writers from past Bakes.
So people, no matter WHAT you are writing, remember: surprise, reverse, reveal!