Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bestseller Thriller Writer Ann Rule

Bestseller Ann Rule had a heck of a journey to becoming a writer—something she never really wanted to be in the first place. “All I ever wanted to be was a police officer,” she told the crowd in her ThrillerFest session “How to Stalk a Serial Killer and Tell the Gruesome Tale: All You Need to Know to Write Great True Crime.” “The one thing I knew I didn’t want to be was a writer.” Rule thought it was all too hard—heck, you’d have to rewrite what you already wrote.
As a kid, she would visit her grandpa, who was a sheriff, but to see him she’d have to go to the jail. There, she was given the job of bringing prisoners their meals. From an early age, she was fascinated by crime—not thehow, but the why.
Oh, how thrilling.

“I think that we come to our genre naturally,” she said.
Following her passions over the years, she took any ridealong with law enforcement she could get. Attended classes. Got an associate’s degree in criminal science.
And along the way, she began writing, collected innumerable rejections, and penned pieces for true detective magazines, which she realized could pay the bills.
“You have to write about what you know about,” she said.
Back then, not even her children slowed her down. “Unless the kids were actually fighting on top of the typewriter, I could keep writing.”
And then there’s the famous story that led her to her first book, her breakout The Stranger Beside Me.
Her brother had committed suicide, so she decided to volunteer at the crisis clinic in Seattle. The clinic paired volunteers with work-study students. At night, they’d be locked up in the building all alone together. Her partner was a psychology student getting paid $2 per hour.
His name was Ted Bundy.
After his crimes became apparent, Rule attended Bundy’s trial, and the rest of the story is history, amazingly documented in The Stranger Beside Me.
Her writing passion went on to encompass documenting the suspects and victims involved in crimes, and describing their lives before their paths crossed—along the lines of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
In her presentation, Rule pointed out that pros are always saying that you only have a 1/10 of 1 percent shot at becoming a professional writer. But she decided that she was going to be in that 1/10 of 1 percent.
“You can’t let the naysayers make think you can’t make it, because you can,” she said.
If you want to be a true crime writer, Rule said the best thing you can be is immensely curious. And, you should go to trials—something anyone can do. From a life spent in courtrooms, here are Rule’s tips and etiquette for doing just that.
  1. You can usually get a press pass, but there’s often a deluge of writers trying to obtain one. Rule calls the prosecutor’s assistant.
  2. Study the witnesses, watch the jury, and soak up the entire experience.
  3. Try to obtain the court documents from the court reporter or the prosecutor, or purchase them.
  4. Observe the other reporters in the room, and analyze what they’re doing.
  5. If you’re sitting out in the hall with potential witnesses, don’t ask them about anything. You can comment on the weather or the courtroom benches being hard, but “Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth pretty shut.”
  6. Don’t take newspapers into the courtroom.
  7. Know what you’re getting yourself into. “You don’t want to start a nonfiction unless you’re really in love with it, and usually you want a go-ahead from an editor.”
  8. Absorb detail. “When I’m writing a true-crime book I want the reader to walk along with me.” Rule describes the temperature, how the air feels—“I think it’s very important to set the scene.” As far as the writing, you can novelize, but keep all of your facts straight.
  9. Don’t use the real name of a rape or sexual crime victim in your writing. (Though Rule has written about a few who have asked to have their names included.) As Rule said of her subjects at large, “I always care about my people. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.”

Go forward and win!

Logline Service
I have been getting a lot of request for loglines. I give different prices . Since I have so many requests for this service, I decided to set a single fix price.

Logline: $5.00 Flat Fee

A synopsis or summery is required. It well be used to form the logline. The logline is just one line.


Critique: $50.00 Flat Fee, Discount fee $42.50
 Includes evaluating the basis elements of a script

  •  Introduction
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Critiques also provide suggestions for improvements and enhancement. 

Payments are made by Paypal or cashier check by mail.

Other services are at regular price.

Query Letters: $25.00 Flat Fee  

Editing: $45.00 Flat Fee
  •  Evaluating formatting to industry standards
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Turnaround time:
Editing: 2 weeks
Critique: 2 weeks
Query Letters: 2 weeks

Feel free to contact me at or
Feel to call me at (360) 696-4298. Ask for Frances.

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Featured Tutorial | Crafting and Selling a Page-Turner

In This Issue
From the Editor
I hope all of you are finding at least a little time to enjoy the 2012 Olympics. The Olympics are inspiring in so many ways. It's especially fun to watch children as they react to watching their favorite event and begin dreaming of their own futures. 

Back to tutorials for the week . . . I have two new tutorials to share with you:  

Crafting and Selling a Page-Turner will teach you how build an airtight mystery that delivers thrills, chills, and a satisfying conclusion. This tutorial is taught by award-winning writer, book reviewer, and writing instructor Hallie Ephron. Hallie is the author of numerous mysteries and thrillers, including Never Tell a Lie

For those of you that have been asking for poetry tutorials—a new poetry tutorial is ready! Marketing Your Poetry: Who Says Rhyme Doesn't Pay? is packed with ideas and resources to help you get your poetry into the hands of those that will be inspired by what you have worked so hard on crafting. 

I'd highly recommend taking out a WD Tutorials membership if you haven't already. 65+ tutorials are available to you, at least one new tutorial is added weekly, and many new tutorials are in development. Please feel free to preview the many tutorials immediately available to you through the WD Tutorials site

Wishing you only the best!
Julie Oblander
Online Education Manager
Writer's Digest Tutorials
Featured Tutorial | Crafting and Selling a Page-Turner
In this enlightening tutorial session, you'll learn how to illustrate all of the critical elements necessary for crafting a tale that not only grabs readers and keeps them reading, but enables you to build an airtight mystery that delivers thrills, chills, and a satisfying conclusion. 

This tutorial is taught by award-winning writer, book reviewer, and writing instructor Hallie Ephron. Hallie is the author of numerous mysteries and thrillers, including Never Tell a Lie (William Morrow). Never Tell a Lie won the David Award for Best Mystery Novel of 2010, and Publishers Weekly calls it "stunning" and a "deliciously creepy tale of obsession." Hallie is also the author of the Edgar-nominated Writing & Selling Your Mystery Novel (Writer's Digest Books) and The Everything Guide to Writing Your First Novel (Adams Media). 

Instructor Hallie Ephron gives you an inside look at how to craft enthralling novels that crank up the suspense and compel readers to keep turning the pages until THE END—which is the key to hooking agents, editors, and readers around the world.

In this 65-minute tutorial video, you'll learn:  
  • The keys to planning your story, twisting the plot, and constructing a credible surprise ending
  • Techniques for creating a compelling sleuth and a worthy villain
  • The art of deceiving and revealing with red herrings and clues
  • Guidelines for writing credible investigations, spine-tingling suspense, and dramatic action
  • Revision techniques—from sharpening characters, to optimizing pace, to word selection
  • How to engage every reader
  • How to catch the eye of an agent or editor and sell your work!

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