Category Archives: Writing

ITW’s Online Thriller School Is Returning Soon

ITW’s Third Annual Online Thriller School is back March 14th through April 29th, 2016.

Seven Weeks! Seven Bestselling Authors!

Join Lee Child, Peter James, F. Paul Wilson, Hank Phillippi Ryan, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, and James Scott Bell for 7 weeks of intensive instruction.


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Last year’s Thriller School was a great success and students came away with many new skills for their writing tool box. And this year will be just as useful to writers of all skill levels.

This year’s seven-week program begins March 14th, 2016, and as before the craft of thriller writing will be front and center. Each instructor will teach an aspect of craft though a podcast, written materials that include further reading and study suggestions, and an entire week of on-line Q&A with the registered students. The goal is simple: To make each student a better writer.

Every writer knows that learning to write well is a life-long pursuit and writers must never cease improving their craft. There are many wonderful books, classes, and online sources that will help you improve your storytelling craft, but where can you learn directly from the best? From New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors?

Right here. At ITW’s next Online Thriller School.

We have assembled a cadre of excellent teachers and topics so please join us and let us help you take your writing and storytelling to the next level.

Attendance is limited, so register today. Visit ITW’s Online Thriller School for more information.

Here is the 2016 Schedule:

3/14: Storytelling: The Art and Craft Of Story—David Corbett

3/21: Plot: What’s Happening Here?—Meg Gardiner

3/28: Character: The People Who Drive The Story—F. Paul Wilson

4/4: Point Of View: Who’s Eyes Are You Looking Through?—Hank P. Ryan

4/11: Dialog: It’s Not Like Real Conversation—James Scott Bell

4/18: Setting, Mood, Atmosphere: Bringing the Right “Feel” to Your Story?—-Peter James

4/25: Voice: What Does A Good Story “Sound” Like?—-Lee Child

Join us. It’ll be fun and rewarding.

DP Lyle
ITW VP for Education
CraftFest, Master CraftFest, and Thriller School Director


Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Writing


Guest Blogger: Leonardo Wild: The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers

The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers
By Leonardo Wild


Ten years of writing commercially went by and one day I felt that I needed to make a shift in my career. It took me another ten years to figure out how to do it, and then five more before the result—THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA—saw the light of publication.

The details of how and why I felt the need to change are not part of this story.

Maybe another time.

This is the story of what I decided to do when I decided to shift. In short, I decided to create a new sub-genre within the thriller genre. Or rather, I discovered that, what I had to do, was find a vehicle for the topics that I wanted to write about—to share my discoveries—a format that would allow me to follow the rules of publication without, well, actually being stuck in a jail of my own making!

One of the first rules is that if you wish to be successful in a writing career—besides writing well and telling a damn good story—you must choose a genre to write in.

A genre that your name will be attached to.

“Oh yes, he writes ‘medical thrillers’” or “She writes ‘vampire stories’.”

As a quick side note, the “jail of my own making” thing was something I’d seen happen to others over the years: they became successful in a given genre, but because of the genre’s canons, they were more or less forced to write a similar book every time, and that led to something they probably hadn’t bargained for.

Many of them I admired, but stopped reading them. And many of them even stopped writing their books themselves.

What did I come up with to avoid this pitfall?

In short: Paradigm Shift Thrillers.

Stories where not only the protagonist goes through a character arc, but readers as well. Stories where readers will (I hope) experience a shift in their understanding of something—of an aspect of our world—which they most likely didn’t know or weren’t aware of. Something potentially monumental. Something to make them “shift” their paradigm about an aspect of society and the world we live in.

In The Galapagos Agenda—the first book in the series—the topic is politics. Or rather, the profile of people in positions of power—political or otherwise … though they have always been very closely linked (behind the scenes).

The science is called “Political Ponerology,” as coined by Andrew Lobaczewski, a Polish psychologist who wrote a book with that name. Basically, Lobaczewski recognized that the percentage of people in positions of power that are psychopaths is larger than we might think.

First of all, about one percent of the population are “true” psychopaths—clinical psychopaths and criminal psychopaths.

Another three percent—mostly known as sociopaths—are also psychopaths, yet social and personal experiences have been the reason why their ability to feel empathy and have a conscience has been destroyed, why they are compulsive liars and disregard laws, social mores, the rights of others and fail to feel guilt or remorse.

In other words, four percent for the world’s population are psychopaths, yet they seem to be called to positions of power like moths to light.

For example, about ten percent of employees working in Wall Street are considered to have psychopathic traits, and about twenty percent of top CEOs, according to Robert Hare (Without Conscience), are clinical psychopaths.

Basically, the people who have found their way to top tiers of management and basically call the shots in the world—in one way or another—are not necessarily criminal, but there is definitely something wrong with them.

Because they can do anything at all. Stuff, we normal mortals, couldn’t. Or will not unless utterly forced to. Maybe not even then. But four percent of humanity … no problem at all! In fact, they are the main single cause for deliberate mass human extermination, paling the social effects provoked by serial killers.

My question was, though, How can they not only survive but thrive in our society, throughout millennia, to the point where they are the ones basically calling the shots in our society?

You see, if something isn’t right in Nature, it doesn’t last. If certain limits are surpassed, destructive behavior as well as self-destructive behavior will turn itself against the species that is causing the harm. Yet these folks have somehow managed to appear again and again in our history, and we don’t seem to learn the lesson. We actually vote for the Hitlers of the world to rule over us. We actually admire those who have made their millions—if not billions—by sheer ruthless behavior. They are with us all the time, but just haven’t realized it.

How can that be?

The answer to my question came from biology, from something called “stigmergy,” where an action leaves a trail or mark in the environment—such as the chemical trails left by insects—giving rise to apparently intelligent, coordinated and complex behavior.

These agents—psychopaths—have been leaving a trail in an environment—bureaucracy—and now we are stuck with a system that not only supports their kind, but nurtures them.

This, I thought, would be a great subject to kick off my new sub-genre.

In The Galapagos Agenda, the son of a clinical psychopath—a corporate tycoon—ends up having to face not only the truth about what his father is, but how such people have managed to rise to top positions throughout history being the main cause for the recurrent man-made sufferings of humanity.

Because they can remain invisible … until it’s too late.

The Galapagos Agenda’s launch date is November 17, 2015 ( and it is the first book in a series of Paradigm Shift Thrillers that will touch upon subjects of similar social impact. The victims, in all of them, can be many.

And you probably didn’t even know it. Hell, you might even be one of them!



Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Writing


Working with the FBI: A Brief Guide for Writers

Jan Burke and I recently had the FBI on Crime and Science Radio for a 2 part interview. It was outstanding. If you missed it, the shows are archived so go here to listen:–science-radio-past.html

Crime writers are always looking for experts to chat with about their plots. The FBI offers just such access.

Need info on the FBI for your next story? Not sure how to approach them. Here’s how:

                                                 WORKING WITH THE FBI: A Brief Guide for Writers

If you are a writer who wants to feature the FBI in a TV, film, and literary project, the FBI may be able to work with you to create an accurate portrayal of the Bureau’s work.

The FBI’s Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit (IPPAU) in the Bureau’s DC-based Office of Public Affairs works with screenwriters, producers, authors, and other industry personnel associated with TV programs, documentaries, made-for-TV movies, films, and books.

What the FBI needs from you:

Company name, point of contact, address, email, and phone number

Project status, i.e., sold, green-lit, commissioned, or speculative

Scope of FBI’s importance in the script

Overview of FBI characters and actions

Copy of the script or treatment

Project status and/or production schedule

Specificity regarding cases, procedures, or information needed

A list of FBI personnel desired for interviews and/or background meeting(s)

What the FBI can consider providing you:

Guidance on content and/or dialogue regarding FBI investigations, procedures, interagency coordination, structure, and history

Information on costumes, props, scenery, or weapons


Liaison and coordination with local FBI field offices for interviews or B-roll footage

Coordination of visits to FBI headquarters and other facilities

Background briefings

For project assistance, please send your written proposal with above info to:  For further questions, please contact the FBI National Headquarters, Office of Public Affairs, Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit at: 202-324-5348.

Please note that IPPAU considers and/or approves project assistance on a case-by-case basis. The FBI’s unit has limited resources and cannot assure cooperation or offer reviews or critiques of submitted projects/proposal. Please allow ample time for approval/clearance process.


ThrillerFest 2016 Will Be Special


Early Bird Registration for ThrillerFest 2016 is open.

Join 2016 Thriller Master Heather Graham and Spotlight Guests CJ Box, Gillian Flynn, and Walter Mosley in NY next July.

Sign up now:

And don’t forget CraftFest and Master CraftFest.

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Posted by on October 4, 2015 in Writing


Sign Up For Master CraftFest Today

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Master CraftFest is ITW’s one-day intensive craft school for thriller writers of all levels and experience. This is our third year and each previous year the classes have filled quickly and a waiting list was necessary. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind learning experience. Register now.

Also, this year we have added a screenwriting class to our line up. Renowned screenwriter and teacher Richard Krevolin will head this class but space is limited to 10 students. So if screenwriting is your thing, sign up now to assure your place in this class.

Master CraftFest:


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Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Writing


Crime and Science Radio: Turning the Tables: Emmy-Winning Investigative Reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan interrogates DP Lyle, MD

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We recently interviewed stellar investigative reporter and Agatha-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan, and she suggested turning the tables on your hosts, Jan Burke and D.P. Lyle, MD.  How could we say no?

On Saturday 9-26-15 at 10 a.m. Pacific join Multiple (33) Emmy Award-winning and Edgar R. Morrow Award-winning investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan as she turns the tables on Crime and Science Radio’s co-host DP Lyle, MD.



Link will go live Saturday September 26, 2015 at 10 a.m. Pacific


Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Website

DP Lyle’s Website:

The Writers Forensic Blog:

DP Lyle’s Books:

Website Book Page:


Amazon Author’s Page:

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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in Crime and Science Radio, Writing


ThrillerFest, CraftFest, Master CraftFest Now Open For Registration




Your ThrillerFest team is already hard at work planning for next July’s conference where we’ll feature 2016 ThrillerMaster Heather Graham and bestselling author C.J. Box.  The other spotlights and this year’s Silver Bullet will be announced shortly—like a compelling page-turner, we need to keep you in suspense, so stay tuned for more details.

Master CraftFest: Don’t miss this opportunity to study with the Masters of the genre in a one-day intensive workshop to take your writing to the next level.  Everyone is welcome, from beginner writers to well-established authors.  The instructors this year will be Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, Gayle, Lynds, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, Heather Graham, and Andrew Gross.

CraftFest:  Director D.P. Lyle M.D. is already recruiting talented teachers to broaden your knowledge about the craft of writing as well as experts in fields like forensics and firearms so you can get the facts right in your novel.

ThrillerFest:  We’re planning some phenomenal panels, always trying to innovate and entertain.  Join us for the spotlight interviews, cocktail parties, workshops, and fabulous networking opportunities.  Please check the volunteer box during registration, as it’s a great way to make new friends and help out ITW.

We’re going to have a table at Bouchercon in Raleigh this year, so if you’re an ITW author and would like to help meet and greet people, please email Kimberley at

In the meantime, take advantage of the discounted prices of early bird registration and sign up today.  Looking forward to another memorable year!

Registration Page:

Kimberley Howe, Executive Director, ThrillerFest

DP Lyle, ITW VP for Education; CraftFest and MasterCraftFest Director


Posted by on September 19, 2015 in Writing


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