Mr. Ripley’s advice on Plotting and Writing Suspense

I’m still struggling with plotting.  And creating characters.  But hey–writing is a process, right?  Certainly if I keep at it, I’ll get better.  I’ll never be as good as Patricia Highsmith, of course, but a girl can dream.

With that in mind, I read Highsmith’s book, Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction.  Most of the public know her from the movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon and Gwenyth Paltrow, but she’s written dozens of other things and has been more successful in Europe than she has been here in her native land.

Highsmith keeps the examples to her own writing and discusses at length her mistakes, rejections, and screw-ups.  This is so encouraging, knowing that a master at the craft didn’t get it right–not the first time, or second, and at times, not even the third time.

Two good take-aways on plotting:

1.  If stuck ask yourself, “What do I want to happen next?”

2.  “What effect am I trying to create by this book?”

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