Friday, August 19, 2011

More from the PNWA writers’ conference—Robert Dugoni.

People often ask me, “Who’s your favorite author?” I’ve never had an answer because I read so many different genres it’s hard to keep them straight. But if I had to make a list of favorites, Robert Dugoni would be on the top of that list.

During the PNWA conference, Robert presented part two of the ONE DAY WRITING SEMINAR.

Highlights from his talk, that we should all remember, include:
  • No preaching, it’s transparent. Cut. Cut. Cut.  
  • Research! But don’t show off by including it all. Bob only puts in about 5-10%
  • Avoid overblown prose. Don’t be “writerly”
  • Flashback stops the momentum of the story.
  • Avoid too much back-story—especially at the beginning.
  • Learn the craft by studying it. That’s what Bob did and it shows. 
  • With your first novel (and all those to follow) take yourself out of the protagonist and you wont’ be afraid your mother is going to read it.You will write better.
Robert Dugoni is not only an incredible author, but he spends a great deal of time helping authors achieve their dreams. He’s helped me more than I can say, and I’m not sure if he truly knows the far-reaching impact he’s made on the writing community. Not to mention he is one of the most genuine and kindest people I’ve met. On behalf of all of us, thank you Bob!

Robert’s books include:

Bodily Harm—Released May 25, 2010.
The Jury Master—Debut Novel and New York Times bestseller.
Damage Control—Number 8 on national independent booksellers’ list.
Wrongful Death—Sequel to Jury Master—“Among the best books of the year”
The Cyanide Canary—Washington Post best book of the year, 2004. Non-Fiction expose.

Robert Dugoni is just another reason joining the PNWA is something everyone should do. He is also one of the reasons I love the craft of writing—Authors helping other authors to achieve their dreams. Writers live in another world, and it’s great to be living in that world with wonderful people like Bob. 

Be proud to be an author—you’re among good people.  

I would love to add to Bob's list. If you have any wisdom on the art of writing, we would all love to hear it. Learning is a never ending process.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene 


  1. I was lucky enough to hear him speak at a TRW meeting up here in Canada. I learned a lot from him.

  2. I loved the way Dugoni phrased the importance of taking your ego out of your writing with regard to your characters: he said to remember that the protagonist (or other character) is not you; s/he is OF you. That resonated.

  3. I love his take on overblown prose. I think sometimes we as writers think we need to impress with our words -- it's more about the story. Sometimes simple is better.

  4. Bob is a fantastic writer, and teacher apparently! I couldn't agree more on each point, especially the flashbacks and back story. Though I have been guilty of putting in too much back story myself! It's a learning process. :)

  5. Thanks for the comment Jessica. Every time I hear him speak I learn something new.

  6. Karen, so true. I agree... sometimes simple is better. He really writes a fantastic story too!

  7. No kidding Heather! My first three chapters were all back story. This is a learning process!

  8. Linda, I liked that too... He is "of" you. This man is phenomenal, and such a great man. Those words really helped me too!