Like fiction, memoirs are stories. The difference is that the author is under the delusion that he or she already knows the characters very well (not true), already knows what happens (also not true) and already knows how it ends (also not true). Having written both a novel and a memoir, I'd say the process for each is very similar; much similar than I ever anticipated.
Why am I writing this? Because it's relevant to the story. Although I went to the conference with the intention to understand how to best pursue publication for Kicking and Screaming, it also stirred my desire to return to writing fiction. Thrillers in particular.
As a few of you might know, I've written a novel called Slip Away, a thriller about a reluctant assassin who's hunted down by a terrorist he unknowingly created (that's called a "tag line"). Slip Away has been "in the drawer" while I focused on Kicking and Screaming. I enjoy reading many other thriller writers, such as Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Nelson DeMille and Michael Crichton. However, the "go to" thriller writer for me has always been David Morrell.
David is best known as the creator of the character Rambo in his novel First Blood (ironically, not one of the twenty or so books of his I've read, yet). My favorites include The Brotherhood of the Rose, The League of Night and Fog and Assumed Identity. Though, I've enjoyed them all and I look forward to the release of his upcoming book, The Shimmer.
Last night, he was awarded "The Bob Kellogg Good Citizen Award" from Backspace for his "outstanding contribution to the Internet writing community." After listening to his keynote address, it's easy to see why. I know I was changed (and motivated) by the experience.
The conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet many gifted writers, especially those who write in different genres, and learn about their work. Hopefully, we'll all get the opportunity to read a fantasy by Brian Staveley, a historical fiction by Marc Graham, and a series by J.E. Taylor soon. Having read the first two pages of their novels, I know I hope I do. Given the topic of this blog, one day I hope to walk into a bookstore and see Jael McHenry's book, Simmer (you'll have to read it to understand why it's related - I didn't want to create a spoiler).
Still, I'm drawn to thrillers. Having the opportunity to meet David Morrell and briefly discuss Slip Away with him was invigorating. Meeting Backspace co-Founder and author of Freezing Point, Karen Dionne was great (if you haven't read Freezing Point yet, go to amazon.com and buy it now...really...I'll wait). I think all of us at the conference were grateful to Karen and her co-Founder, Chris Graham, for creating such a powerful community. I also enjoyed meeting Jason Pinter, the bestselling author of the Henry Parker thriller series. Add all of that up and you've got a guy ready to get his thriller published.
That doesn't mean I'm going to stop with Kicking and Screaming. In fact, on the flight home from the conference I finished editing the most recent draft and I hope to get it out for another read this week. I'm also going to continue working on my platform, as I discussed last night.
On that same flight, however, I also cut two scenes from Slip Away and reworked the final scene. I also began rethinking a new novel that's been on my mind for a while. I'll be restarting that this week. It'll be fun to start writing something new again.