David Morrell

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

ThrillerFest is an amazing conference concerning all things in the thriller genre. One of the best things they started this year was an immersive class called Master CraftFest. This is a class where you spend the entire day with about ten other budding authors and a teacher that has done more things in the genre than you can imagine.
I was lucky enough to be placed in David (creator of Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone) Morrell’s class. Aside from a short lunch, we ground out ten hours of workshop time. In this class the instructors critique your first ten pages (you submit weeks before the class) and they’re all discussed intimately. One of my greatest takeaways was David’s picking at the ‘trombone effect’ as he calls it. It is finding those pesky, hidden past tense words like ‘had’ in your sentences. When you realize they jerk the ready in and out of present tense, you can easily picture a trombone sliding back and forth. As he tells it, you’re telling a flashback at this point. When you look back at your work and see a flashback within a flashback, you realize how ineffective the work is. It’s okay to put a flashback in your work – but as he reminded us, ‘you better have a damn good reason to do so’.
What a fantastic writing coach and mentor. He freely hands out some base writing philosophies on his website:
David on Writing

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