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Jeffery Deaver

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 7, 2012

Sleuthfest: Part 2

In his keynote luncheon speech on Friday, bestselling author Jeffery Deaver said, “Writing is a craft, and it can be largely taught.” He writes multi-length thrillers in the crime genre. There are certain rules that he follows.   

Rule One: “Writing is a business. We are manufacturers of our product, not ‘artistes’. We are professionals and meet our deadlines.” We work with partners, who are publishers, booksellers, etc.

Rule Two: “We need a business model.” Who is your audience? Write for your fans, to make them happy and to keep them turning pages.

Rule Three: Your book should move like lightning. What’s going to happen next? Write a compelling book. Move the story forward. It shouldn’t just be interesting but should cause sweaty palms.

Rule Four: We don’t want the book to digress. For example, his tales move so fast that there’s no time for a romantic interlude.

Rule Five: Avoid “give me a break” moments, or things that are illogical or convenient excuses.

Rule Six: Do not have ambiguous endings. Have a definite resolution. Jeffery prefers happy endings for his stories.

Rule Seven: Make your characters real and give them depth. The good guy should have flaws and the bad guy should have niceties.

Rule Eight: We rewrite. Jeffery writes a first draft quickly and then rewrites.

Where do his ideas come from? “I look for an idea that will scare you and keep you turning pages.” He does an outline and research first.

What the fans think is more important than reviews. Find out what people are saying about your book. Jeffery prefers to keep the gore off-camera and to focus on the emotional component of suspense.


Disclaimer: Any errors in interpretation or transcription are mine.

Coming Next: The Power of Publicity


14 Responses to “Jeffery Deaver”

  1. Great tips to share. Thanks, Nancy. I tweeted. 🙂

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Calisa!

  3. Mona Risk said

    Hi Nancy, I agree with everything Jeffery Deaver, except the Rule Four: We don’t want the book to digress. For example, his tales move so fast that there’s no time for a romantic interlude.

    I write Romantic suspense novel, and the romance is an integral part of the novel, i wouldn’t want my book to turn into a thriller. I also like some humor in the book.

  4. Well, Mona, that’s why you write romantic suspense and not thrillers!

  5. I love Jeffrey Deaver’s books. Hearing how Jeffrey Deaver does it, and that he thinks it can be taught — wow. If only. But it gives hope. Thanks for taking the time to put this on paper and share it with us.

  6. You’re welcome, Diane. I love hearing advice from bestselling authors. And I thoroughly agree with him that writing is a business.

  7. Great info! I’m taking a final look at my latest manuscript with these tips in mind.

  8. Yep! Does my WIP move fast enough? i wonder…. Good post, thanks.

  9. I like romantic interludes in my work, so while my pacing may not be as breakneck as Jeffery’s, a bit of romance can relieve nonstop tension.

  10. Jeanne Meeks - said

    Thanks for relaying the professional tips from Sleuthfest. I wish I had been there, but at least I have the words of wisdom from the pros.

  11. Good rules! I really enjoy Jeffrey Deaver’s work. How great you got to see him!

  12. Yes, it’s always great to hear tips from other professional writers.

  13. Certainly makes me revisit my current work-in-progress! Great post, Nancy.

  14. Thanks, Cheryl.

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