I had the pleasure of attending the annual Houston Writers Guild Conference this weekend-I’ll blog more about this later once I’ve ‘downloaded’ all the information I got at the amazing event.
But today I want to discuss the first workshop I attended which was given by Jay Asher. The workshop was about adding suspense to every novel no matter the genre-which he did perfectly in his debut novel Thirteen Reasons Why.
In my own novel ‘Blood On The Potomac’ I made sure that the reader not only wanted to know what happened on the next page, but needed to know. Although I find that is imperative for a novel in my genre (romanic/thriller/spy) I hadn’t thought about how useful it would be in my other works like ‘Everything That Counts’ which is my first YA novel (more on that in a later blog).
Not only did he remind me to write for myself, yet keep the reader in the forefront of my mind, but that you can discuss difficult topics, like suicide in his own novel, and still get people to read something they might find ‘depressing’.
When I wrote ‘Blood On The Potomac’ and especially the character Samantha Locke I touched on many touch issues ranging from PTSD to human trafficking. It was a balance that I had to set early in the process so that I didn’t overwhelm the reader with the many issues that people silently battle everyday, but I also knew that these are real human problems that I wanted to address in a creative way.
You can also find examples of how I, as an author, have my own message when writing about certain topics like drug abuse in my short story ‘Molly’ and rape in ‘Caroline Hearts Toby’ both which are available in the anthology Eclectically Criminal by Inklings Publishing.
I hope that my stories speak from themselves, and I feel that Asher does that exceptionally well in his novel, but the message of this blog is that although something might be difficult to talk about-silence is not an option-we as a society have to shed light on what is happening so that we can change it.
And know that there is help for you Click here to live chat with Suicide Prevention Life Line