Tuesday Tips: John Sandford’s Pacing

Here’s yet another installment of tips from Thrillerfest. I’ve shared video tips from Karin Slaughter,  a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song, as well as a video of the Thrillerfest interview with master author R.L. Stine, and Ken Follett.  Today I’ve got more goodies in store from that event.  You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.

Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! This first video features a question about pacing, answered by John Sanford. In fact, I just finished reading one of Mr. Sanford’s thrillers BAD BLOOD — he’s got to be one of my all time favorite authors! and I got the book autographed (Fan-Girl Moment!).

This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

So how do you create good pacing in your novels? Guess whether Mr. Sanford is a “pantser” or a “plotter?” He shares a great tip for increasing tension and starting your book off with a bang. How do you start your novels?

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11 thoughts on “Tuesday Tips: John Sandford’s Pacing

  1. So he starts in the middle of action and cuts just before the action takes place. It was a little hard for me to hear. Did I understand right?

    John Sandford is one of my favorite authors. It’s awesome you got to meet him. Thanks for sharing, I’m loving the information.

    • He starts in the middle of action. For example, in the book I just finished reading, the opening is a murder taking place–but you don’t know why it’s happening and the killer just doesn’t make sense. So it prompts questions immediately. You know WHO did it, but you don’t don’t know WHY.

      The other part is that once the action stops he doesn’t necessarily go from a-to-b-to-c-to-d-to-e in the story. If A is important and E is important and the b,c,d is just travel from point A to E, he simply cuts there. He gives the movie example of Batman being in New York one moment, and the scene cutting to China the next…no explanation how he got there.

      Does that help? The other part I found important was to write your book–but then cut the first chapter. *s* Author needs to know that stuff but the reader doesn’t. That gets you started in the middle of the action, too.

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