MWPA and “Thrillers From A to Z”

James Hayman:  This winter I’ll be leading a six part workshop titled “Thrillers From A to Z” that’s designed to guide six to ten beginning and intermediate writers through the difficult and sometimes excruciating process of writing and hopefully publishing their first crime or suspense novels.

The program is being sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and will take place in Portland at the University of Southern Maine’s Glickman Library on six Saturdays between February 23rd and April 6th, skipping the Saturday before Easter.

For those who aren’t familiar with MWPA, the organization was founded in 1975 and is a non-profit with a mission to support writers and the art of writing in Maine. In fact, it’s the only organization in the atate devoted solely to advancing literature and the writing life and, on a per capita basis , is the largest writing organization in the country.

This winter MWPA will sponsoring nineteen writing workshops across the state (Bangor, Belfast, Brunswick, Damariscotta, Lewiston, Portland, Rockland, and beyond) in topics such as fiction, memoir, poetry, essay, screenwriting, book reviewing, crime fiction, and historical fiction. My fellow Maine Crime Writers bloggers, Lea Wait and Kate Flora, will be among the other instructors leading programs.  Anyone interested can check them all out on the MWPA website,

My program, “Thrillers from A to Z,” is described on the MWPA site thusly:

The Workshop:

“Tess Gerritsen, Harlan Coben, Sue Grafton, Robert Parker, Dennis Lehane. These are some of the most popular and widely read authors in the world.  As a fan of crime and mystery fiction, have you ever harbored a secret desire to join their ranks?  Have you ever wondered if a best-selling mystery or suspense thriller may be lurking somewhere inside your head just waiting to be written and published?  If your answer is yes, or even maybe, let James Hayman, author of the internationally acclaimed Mike McCabe/Maggie Savage suspense thrillers The Cutting and The Chill of Night, show you the way.

These six, full-day workshop sessions for beginning and intermediate crime writers equal nearly 40-hours of instruction in how to build a crime novel from the ground up. James Hayman will focus on all the key elements of planning and writing a compelling mystery or thriller. Topics include creating a hero your readers will love and a villain they’ll hate, finding a compelling way to kill off your victim, choosing the right setting and making it real, and building an unforgettable plot from the ground up. 

Along the way, Hayman will discuss such important subjects as how to do critical research that makes your story ring true, how to outline your story (and whether you even need an outline). Crucial elements such as pacing, creating suspense that keeps your readers up and reading well into the night, and writing real and believable dialogue will be explored. Finally, Hayman will tackle the importance of polishing and revising a manuscript, searching for an agent, and how to manage the multiple complexities of publication.”

Any readers of this blog who may be interested in attending “Thrillers From A to Z” or any of the other MWPA workshops being offered this inter can chack them out at  This will be will be my first experience at leading a writing workshop and I’m looking forward to the experience. I hope some of you will want to join me.

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2 Responses to MWPA and “Thrillers From A to Z”

  1. John Clark says:

    MWPA offers some really great workshops. I ended up in a short story workshop at Chewonkee ten years ago quite by accident and it was a terrific experience. I doubt I’d have given serious thought to entering that market if I hadn’t attended and I’ve published numerous stories since. Hope you have a great turnout and thoroughly enjoy the teaching process.

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