Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 Tips to Keep the Momentum of Thrillerfest Alive

by Ursula Ringham

It’s been two months since I attended ITW’s Thrillerfest. I’m back to my regular work routine in high tech and life with my kids and husband. So, is the energy and excitement of Thrillerfest gone? Not even close. Here are 5 tips to keep the momentum of Thrillerfest alive.

1-Download the sessions
What keeps me motivated to continue writing is all that I learned at Thrillerfest. Two of my favorite sessions were Creating Memorable Characters with Robert Dugoni and Themes and Symbolism with Steven James. I recommend downloading several Thrillerfest sessions because you’ll learn something new that will definitely improve your writing.

2-Review Feedback
If you attended Pitchfest or Master Craftfest you probably received some honest feedback about your book. Go back and review the comments. Maybe an agent told you to improve your pitch? Maybe the plot or some characters need to be reworked? William Bernhart told me to “Make your book bigger. There must be something of consequence. And you need to enlarge the stakes.” This advice has dramatically improved my storyline. Although you might not like the feedback, take the time to review it as I’m sure there is something to be learned.

3-Set Goals
If I did not set goals, I would never have completed my first novel nor attended Thrillerfest. So what are my goals now? Complete book #2 by end of 2014. I also want to attend Thrillerfest 2015 as it will motivate me to start book #3. And to stay connected with my new author peeps, I want to attend more writer conferences. I’m thinking about Bouchercon in November. Setting goals will make you accountable but also help you succeed.

Thrillerfest is filled with people from all walks of life: aspiring writers, self published, ridiculously famous, debut, and fans. The moment I stepped foot in that first session with the FBI, I realized I had found my tribe. A tribe that gets me, understands my need to write and wants to help me succeed. And I use social media to stay connected to this new network of writer friends. If you met writers at Thrillerfest, keep in touch with them and build out your network. You never know where a connection might take you…because we’re all in this together.

5-Pay It Forward
I attended the annual ITW member meeting during Thrillerfest. What a great organization of writers, run mostly by volunteers. I offered to lend my social media skills from my day job. And now I am on ITW’s Career School Committee. By staying engaged and helping others, I feel like I am paying it forward for the next generation of writers as I continue on my quest for success. If you possess a skill that can help fellow thriller writes, I encourage you to get involved.

So, there you have it. Five tips to keep the momentum of Thrillerfest 2014 alive. Where will I be when Thrillerfest 2015 rolls around? Who knows. All I can say is that attending Thrillerfest gave me the confidence and the support to move forward with my writing. And the thrill of it all has just begun.

Ursula Ringham was born and raised in Palo Alto, California with a family immersed in real estate development and local politics. She has been on the inside of some of the Valley's biggest tech companies including Apple and Adobe. For over a decade, she worked in Developer Relations helping start-ups and strategic accounts bring products to market. Today, Ursula stays actively engaged in the high tech industry helping software giant SAP build better brand identity. Her love for writing began when she was 13 years old and entered a short story contest. Ursula lives in San Jose, CA with her husband and two children. Visit her at

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1 comment:

Jenny Milchman said...

Aw, Ursula, great way(s) to bring back the magic of a GREAT conference!