Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hope Clark Workshop


Last night writer Hope Clark, who has published four well-received mystery novels, touched on the high points about how she goes from concept to manuscript. 

After going over a bare-bones structure for a novel (problem, choice, reversal, disaster, plan, climax, wrap) she told us, “Don’t be afraid to throw away stuff.” I’m one of those writers who hoard words as if they’re money. It’s amateurish, I know, but I get attached to my sentences. They become friends, like somebody I know. Or somebody I don’t know, in which case I wonder where they came from.

“Raise the stakes on every page,” was her advice for adding tension. I haven’t written a mystery, but I was inspired to try. Her emphasis on editing numerous times parallels my experience, though I don’t read my work out loud, as she suggested.

Other necessary components for a novel, which I’ve heard before, bear repeating:
An opening conflict
A sympathetic protagonist
Strong antagonist(s)
Character growth
This was one of several presentations in a writers’ workshop series given at the Irmo branch of the Lexington County Libraries. The next one on editing and revision is Tuesday, March 10 at 7:00 PM. On the 17th Kim Boykin will talk about “Publisher or Self-Publish.” The library’s phone number is 798-7880 or see the library calendar at

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