Simon Wood's Blog
My ever-popular online workshop on KILLER SUSPENSE writing starts on March 6th. This workshop blossomed out of a piece I wrote for Writers’ Digest and there’s now interest for me to develop into a book. So if you want to learn how to inject some drama and conflict into your fiction, here’s what to expect from the workshop and you can sign up here:
You’re reading. Your heart is slamming against your ribcage, your fingertips are moist and you turn another page. The protagonist’s back is up against the wall and the antagonist is setting up a trap. You wish you could do something to prevent the protagonist from walking into it, but you can’t. You are helpless, totally at the mercy of the writer. You turn another page.
If you’ve ever felt this way while reading a book, then the writer has done a great job at creating suspense—and if you continue to read all the way to the end, the writer has also done a great job of maintaining it. So how do you, the writer, go about creating the same for your readers? KILLER SUSPENSE reveals the tricks of the trade for creating top notch suspense in your writing, whether it be a cozy or a spy thriller. The intensity might be different but the techniques are the same.
- Lesson #1: Understanding Suspense—Thrillers vs. Mysteries
- Lesson #2: Viewpoints
- Lesson #3: Heroes and Villains
- Lesson #4: Elements of Suspense #1—High Stakes, Pressure Points & Dilemmas
- Lesson #5: Elements of Suspense #2—Time Constraints, Complications, Unpredictability
- Lesson #6: Suspense Plan Review
My ever-popular online workshop on PLOT THICKENERS writing starts on July 11th. This workshop blossomed out of a piece I wrote for Writers’ Digest and there’s now interest for me to develop into a book. So if you want to learn how to inject some drama and conflict into your fiction, here’s what to expect from the workshop and you can sign up here:
Plotting out your novel before you begin is a great exercise. Your story is thought through with no bad logic or unnecessary scenes. This process doesn’t have to be some drawn out and creativity killing affair. I’ll teach you some fast & effective techniques for plotting a novel from beginning to end. Don’t run out of ideas or pad out your novel again. The presentation includes my famous color-coded plotting spreadsheet.
Plotting shouldn’t be viewed as a passion killer that destroys any chance of spontaneity and creativity. Plotting is a very creative process. You’re creating the whole story in short form, providing a skeleton framework that will have the flesh put on during the writing. What can be more motivating than when you have a complete outline for your novel to guide you from “once upon a time…” to “…and they lived happily ever after”? And what can be more demotivating than coming to a grinding halt on a manuscript 30,000 words shy of your target with nothing left to say?
There’s a lot to be said for plotting and why it is a great help to the writing process. With this workshop, students will develop the skills for producing well thought out plotlines and use my outlining style sheet for creating simple “at a glance” outlines.
- Lesson #1: The importance of plotting and outlining
- Lesson #2: Breaking down the story
- Lesson #3: Identifying the pieces
- Lesson #4: Arranging the pieces
- Lesson #5: Maintaining consistency of character and voice
- Lesson #6: Reviewing the outline
I’ve scheduled my writing workshops for 2023 and they are as follows:
- PLOT THICKENERS (Starts February 6th)
- KILLER SUSPENSE (Starts March 6th)
- SHIFTING POVs (Starts April 3rd)
- QUERY LETTERS & SYNOPSIS WRITING (Starts May 1st)
- SHORT STORIES (Starts June 5th)
- AUTHOR PROFESSIONALISM (Starts July 3rd)
Course details and how to signup can be found here.
Phew, at last. This book has been a long time in the making. It has gained and lost a publisher twice before finally making it to publication. It’s one of those publishing tales. I contributed to this book several years ago. Sometimes books take years before hitting the shelves. The battle is won and onto the book.
PREMISE: Publishing a book can be scary. Figuring out how to promote it can be straight-up frightening. When the seas of book promo make you feel adrift in unfriendly tides, keeping your head above water can be difficult. Enter PROMOPHOBIA, a collection of essays that just might save the life of your book.
I’m one of the many contributors to this book. Other contributors include: Hank Phillippi Ryan, Rhys Bowen, Lori Rader-Day, Allison Brennan and Charlaine Harris to name a few.
If you’re budding writer or even a published writer, this is the book for you when it comes to promoting your work. You can learn more about the book here on its official website.
With Christmas coming up, if you’re looking to buy one of my books, I’ve got you covered. There’s 20% off all my titles at my website when you use the code “SANTA20.” Just go to Books – Simon Wood to see what books you’re missing from your Simon Wood collection. I’m happy to sign a book to you or to a loved one if you’re giving the gift of me this holiday season. 😊
I am one of the contributors to this book, which has been a long time coming. This is the cover for an upcoming book I contributed to quite some time ago. Unfortunately, the book has landed and lost publishers twice before finally finding a home third time around. Tip of the hat to Diane Vallere for all her hard work & dogged determination.
I will provide more details when we’re closer to a launch date.
A film student in India is going to make a short film based on my CWA Dagger Nominated short story, PROTECTING THE INNOCENT. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.
I will be posting a link to the movie when it’s finished for everyone to see.
This month marks a special moment for me. It’s been twenty years since the release of my first novel, ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN. That book and I have been on quite a journey over the last twenty years. My first thriller has come of age. It’s been responsible for a lot of firsts in my writing career:
- First book I wrote
- First published book
- First mass paperback release
- First book to be translated
- First book to sell 100,000 copies
When I look over my writing career, this book has been the one that kept my career moving on to the next stage. Although first published by a small publishing house, it picked up a lot of good trade reviews which gave me some legitimacy as a writer. That resulted in the book picking up a contract with a New York publisher. When the NY publisher folded during the credit crunch, it was the book to reboot my career when I relaunched it as an ebook. The sales success of the ebook resulted in an 8-book deal with a new publisher and a new edition. And if it wasn’t for that 8-book deal, I wouldn’t have the success I’ve had with my other books. Whenever I examine my writing career, invariably it all stems back to ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN.
The book has served as a springboard for so much. When I take stock of where I am today, I’m astounded. I’ve had over fifty book releases in a dozen countries having sold two million copies with my books produced in hardback, softback and audio. It’s bonkers!
Another weird factoid is there are three versions of the book—the 2002 Barclay Books version, the 2007 Dorchester version & the 2011 Thomas & Mercer version. Each version got revised…and got shorter each time (I got better at being more concise). The Thomas & Mercer version is some 15,000 words shorter than the Barclay Books version. I don’t think many writers get to rewrite their books…
This book about an obscure, but chilling facet of the insurance industry changed my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for it. I will forever be in this book’s debt.
To mark the occasion, there’s 20% off all my titles at my website when you use the code “20TH.” So if you’ve never read ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN or want to grab the other editions or want to catch up on my other books, just go to http://simonwood.net/books/.