N.C. Writers’ Network—Saturday, November 14

This week, the North Carolina Writers’ Network hosts its annual Fall Conference—a virtual conference this year, for the first time. The Writingest State Online Conference runs Tuesday, November 10-Saturday, November 14, with a keynote speech by Jaki Shelton Green on Friday, November 13.

I’m happy to be part of the program on Saturday morning, tipping into afternoon. On Saturday, November 14, at 11 a.m., I’ll be presenting a session on writing suspense—even if you’re not writing genre fiction. Here’s the course description.

Wait, Wait… Do Tell Me! (fiction & narrative nonfiction) with Art Taylor
Suspense writers have mastered a skill that all storytellers—genre and literary writers both—might profit from: keeping readers in anticipation of what’s going to happen next. Two competing narrative strategies work together here, both a swift movement forward and a steady forestalling of information about what’s ahead. This craft talk will look at tactics to implement this plan: hooking readers quickly and earning their investment in characters or situations; raising questions to pique their interest; parceling out enough information to keep them engaged but withholding enough to keep them turning those pages; and navigating either suspense or the path toward surprise—not the same journey. Passages from writers including Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, Margaret Millar, Cormac McCarthy, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, and others will illustrate various techniques for incorporating suspense into your own work.

Check out the full schedule here! You can still register for the conference through 9 a.m. on Monday, November 19.