Author Archives: Karen Dionne

Why Literary Agents Attend Writers Conferences (It’s Not What You Think)

As co-founder of the online writers community Backspace, I organized the Backspace Writers Conferences held twice-annually in New York City for 9 years. Recently a writer who is considering attending Backspace’s newest offering, the Salt Cay Writers Retreat taking place this October on a private island in the Bahamas, wondered how we’re able to assemble such a high-level group of bestselling authors, editors, and agents for a week-long workshop. “Other than the locale and swimming with dolphins,” she asked, “what do you think the faculty members hope to get Continue reading →

On Writing Action

I love action. I love watching it on TV or on the big screen, and I love reading it. Give me a heart-thumping chase scene over an introspective walk in the woods any day. Too much exposition in a novel, too much description, too many paragraphs and pages going on and on about chaos theory, and I start flipping pages. (Sorry, Michael. Much as I loved Jurassic Park, I’m pretty sure I actually read only three fourths of the book.) I also love writing action. As Continue reading →

What It’s Like to Write a Television Tie-In Novel

When I was first asked if I’d be interested in writing an original novel based on the Fox/AMC detective series The Killing, I wasn’t familiar with the show. I purchased the pilot episode from Amazon, and right away, I was hooked. I immediately downloaded and watched the rest of the first season, and loved it. There are many elements that work in this show–the pacing, the writing, the actors, the moody atmosphere–but I think what grabbed me most was that the characters and the writing Continue reading →

When Characters Talk, Writers Listen

My first two novels began with a plot. A solar energy company melting Antarctic icebergs into drinking water. A Nobel-winning scientist who wants to end global warming through geoengineering. In both instances, the situation came first, and then I crafted the characters as needed to fit the story. The novel I’m currently writing is different. This time, the character came to me before the story, as I was searching for a backstory for the main character in a different novel. I woke up in the Continue reading →