Bestselling thriller author David Baldacci teaches his process for writing a novel that grips readers through mystery, suspense, and plot twists.
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Meet your new instructor: David Baldacci, the New York Times–bestselling author of 38 thrillers to date. David starts with an overview of his class and his hope that you’ll overcome any doubts you have about writing.
You want to write—but how do you find your idea? David walks you through his daily practice of looking at the world through what he calls the “writer’s prism.”
Firsthand research brings depth and breadth to your story. David discusses why he recommends visiting locations in person, talking directly to people, and creating a battle plan.
Building on the previous lesson, David provides practical tips for finding sources and getting the most out of interviews.
David shows you how he writes outlines, emphasizing that it is an ever-evolving process.
The first chapter of your book should be a touchstone. David talks about how to open with a “big pop” and how to reference that opening in the rest of your chapters.
How do you keep readers on the edge of their seats? David shares how he builds suspense, using such strategies as red herrings, plot twists, cliffhangers, and a ticking clock.
David describes the tools he uses to create compelling characters: Expect your characters to change, allow them to have flaws, and give equal importance to your sidekicks and antagonists.
Become a student of humanity. Learn how to deepen your characters by writing believable dialogue.
Action in your story can reveal information about a location, someone’s motivation, and someone’s special skills. David explains how you can use choreography and pacing to maximize the impact of your story’s action.
David began writing when he was a full-time lawyer. He encourages you to be creative about making time to write and finding a writing process that works for you.
David shares his approach to editing and revising his novels, and why he enjoys the process.
Personal chemistry is critical when it comes to working with an editor. David talks about what to consider when you look for an editor and how to build a real partnership.
David offers rare insight into the inner workings of the publishing world, including how to find an agent, how to navigate rights, and how to best promote your book.
Adding to his advice on how to run your own writing career, David explains the importance of forming relationships with both booksellers and fans, and discusses how to use new platforms.
Should you turn your novel into a series? David takes you through the decision-making process.
David opens up about his journey as a writer, talking about passion, rejection, and how to stay authentic.
David believes the world always needs fresh voices. He offers his final words of encouragement for all aspiring writers.