At the October 22 meeting of the California Writers Club–Marin, John Byrne Barry, winner of the 2015 BAIPA Best Book Award, will be presenting “When Plots Collide — Create Suspenseful Page-Turners by Weaving Multiple Storylines.”
We often think of suspense as the province of the thriller, where a nuclear bomb is about to go off in downtown Los Angeles and the guy who’s defusing the bomb is stuck in traffic. But suspense is an important part of almost all novels, as well as memoirs and nonfiction narratives.
One way to create that suspense is by weaving multiple storylines together. If you read novels or watch movies or TV shows, you already know this formula. It’s used extensively on crime shows — think “Law and Order.” The show starts with a couple of unrelated stories, but you know the stories are going to bump into each other.
What Barry will be doing in this workshop is taking this colliding-plot formula apart and putting it back together in a step-by-step way so you can deliberately weave multiple storylines to maximize suspense.
He’ll be mapping out the plotlines of Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe’s brilliant 1987 novel about New York City, and his own novel, Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough. Family is Tougher, set during the 2008 presidential campaign in New Mexico. (You need not have read either of these books.)
The workshop is at Book Passage in Corte Madera at 2 pm.
You can see a preview of the workshop (and some of the slides he’ll be using) on the CWC-Marin website.