Thank You for Being Here

I have been thinking this week about all that I have for which I am thankful. One of those things is your presence here, right now. I can speak only for myself, but I am sure my fellow TKZers feel the same way. It’s an honor and a privilege to have you stop by here on an occasional, frequent, or daily basis, particularly when there are so many other things you could be doing. Thank you for being here.

This thought led me to a question: how did you find The Kill Zone? Was it by accident? Did someone recommend us to you? Did you do a search of a favorite author? Were you looking for writing advice? Perhaps were you looking for ways to dispatch an in-law and, though we weren’t quite what you wanted, you decided to stay and to continue visiting. Maybe you don’t remember (that’s fine, and it’s a legitimate answer). I’d love to know, in any event. Please: tell us.

84 thoughts on “Thank You for Being Here

  1. For example; my book, A Bother of Bodies, will be available end of September. I have two book signings in October. What to do?

    Search in TKZ site for Marketing. Up comes Mr. Bell’s advice to buy Joanne Penn’s book on marketing. Which I did. Great book, very helpful.

  2. I can’t seem to remember yesterday, let alone back then, but It was either a recommendation from someone in a writer’s group, or I stumbled upon it online. But now, I check out two things every morning – Facebook, to see what my two daughters in Florida are up to, and TKZ. You all are more consistent and informative…

    • Dave, it’s an honor to be one of your two sites of record to check. As for Facebook, I am AMAZED at what people post on there, as if there is some disconnect from reality, where no one reads it and knows what is going on with them. Maybe they have it confused with Post Secret. Anyway, thank you, as always.

  3. I remember it well. Not yesterday, Dave Williams, but this I remember. I was in a one-day workshop taught by John Gilstrap at the Harriett Austin Writers Conference in Athens, GA. His web page had a link to TKZ. He told us that if you try really hard and die before you publish, you didn’t fail, you died too early. I like that.

  4. I don’t remember specifically but most likely it was in relation to reading JSB’s books and articles on writing that led me here.

    Now that you’ve got me thinking about that, I’m thinking about something else along those lines. I don’t remember what year I came to TKZ, but I’m guessing it was about 5 years ago. At that time, I was making myself crazy trying to follow all the advice about how you should keep track of umpteen writing-related blogs, write every day, and all those things that are impossible for the average person to do if they have a tedious not-writing job that sucks up all their time. At that time, I was probably checking 20 writing related websites a day and generally making myself crazy.

    Life has gotten increasingly hectic and writing has been all but shelved for me, and I’ve discarded visiting writing websites/blogs except for two. One that belongs to a friend of mine and TKZ, even though I don’t get to visit every single day of the week like I used to.

    Truth is, my week wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t check out TKZ at least once a week. Makes my week seem unfinished somehow.

  5. I came here by way of Jim Bell, as well. Someone gifted me his “Conflict and Suspense” book, which I enjoyed, and I Googled him after that. That led me to the Kill Zone, and I got happily lost for hours poking through the archives.

    I don’t read it every day, and only occasionally post in comment threads, but I always come back.

    I’ll say this, in case it helps for future reference: I am most drawn to blog posts that mirror what I’m most drawn to in crime novels: CONFLICT.

    Give me posts that posit some sort of oppositionality — “My Publisher Dumped Me; What Now?” or “My Agent Isn’t Meeting My Needs” or “Idiots at Book Signings” or “Why Don’t Writers Stop Info-Dumping?” — and those posts will hook me every time. Straight craft lectures or day-in-the-life toss-offs are less likely to pull me in.

    Practice the principles you use in your fiction here in your nonfiction. Why not?

    • Note to self: Future blog post topics: My Publisher Dumped Me; What Now?, My Agent Isn’t Meeting My Needs, Idiots at Book Signings, and Why Don’t Writers Stop Info-Dumping?

      Jim Thomsen and all who have somehow found us and remained loyal to TKZ–THANK YOU!

    • Thank you for such great daily food for criminal thought — and thanks for sticking it out in a time when others fold up shop. Everybody gets crazy-busy, and I know you folks are no exception, but things like this matter. It’s why, for example, I’m active in my role as a board member for MWA’s Northwest Chapter. That grass-roots activity in our community matters.

  6. I think I found you guys through James Scott Bell. His book Plot & Structure is my favorite craft book. I now subscribe to this blog and appreciate the advice that ALL of you dish out here. I’m thankful for you guy!

  7. Don’t remember at all. But in a good way. Like the way I think of a friend, and am not quite sure when it was I first knew them.

    I did just see a reference in Jodie Renner’s thriller book though, and recognized I stop by here 🙂

  8. Thanks for that input, Jim! We are always tweaking things to try to create the best blog for our community. So many people have said that blogging is passé, and many good writers’ blogs have closed up shop over the years, but our community has grown steadily, year after year. We’ll keep trying to improve!

  9. My critique partner, Kessie, sent me a Kill Zone post about tricks to create a literal page turner. You know, short chapters, cliff hangers, chapter names, that kind of thing. I’ve been in a love affair with Kill Zone ever since. =D

  10. In my role as self-appointed TKZ den mother, I keep track of the search keywords that land people at the blog. Today, for example, search keywords included “thriller plot lines”, and “cordite”. (Searching for “cordite” will land a reader on John Ramsey Miller’s post about accuracy in writing.) But I always love the fact that our all-time winner in search word hits is the search for “how to write sex scenes.” This search leads to posts by Clare and Mark.

  11. I hope that you’ll forgive the general response — and I’m really happy that my fellow TKZers have jumped in, too! — but I am REALLY gratified by the responses. Web searches, referrals, and that Jim Bell guy, who, I am convinced, is actually a consortium of best-selling authors, past and present, who share their knowledge anonymously. I’ll repeat: no matter how you found your way here, we are happy to have you visit. Thank you.

  12. You showed up in one of my Google groups. The Writing Community, I think it was. Once I read your blog post I was hooked. I can’t tell you which post as I’ve been following you for some time now. Hope this helps.

    • It does, and very much so, Sue. Figuring out how things go from point A to B in this ever-changing world is very much a study in progress for me. Thanks!

  13. I think I found the Kill Zone when I googled “suddenly I hate my manuscript.” I don’t know if it led me straight here, or via another blog, but I’m glad I found you. And, BTW, I no longer hate my manuscript.

  14. I’ve been here a long time but still remember what brought me. I’d just been dropped by a major Hollywood agent and Clare had posted an article about agent horror stories. I posted my sob story in the comments and felt better. Then my cousin Leonard’s pet monkey Philbert kept telling me to stay in touch with you guys, and then to embed myself in the comments because the future of the galaxy depended on it. You will all understand some day.

    Philbert has since moved on to write Battlestar Galactica fan fiction, and I am still here.

    • Wendy, “I don’t know” (or a facsimile thereof) is a good answer. I have no idea how I came to seventy percent of the sites I have bookmarked and visit daily. We’re just glad you’re here. Thanks!

  15. JSB again. lol. Now you come to my inbox everyday. You’ve helped me more than you will ever know.

    Oh, and I almost Googled how to kill…and decided it might not look good if the feds looked at my computer…

    • Asking “how to kill” won’t get you in trouble, Patricia, but asking “who” might get you a second look. Don’t ask me how I know that. Thanks for the kind words and the continuing visits.

  16. Another mention for ‘Plot and Structure’ by Mr. Bell. I had twisted myself in knots trying to grasp plot and structure. Read the book, did many of the exercises, the clouds parted and sunshine streamed through.

    I don’t write thrillers, but I’m a daily visitor for the wisdom and insight shared by all of you. Thanks for your efforts.

  17. Back in like 2008, I was scheduled to meet John Gilstrap at the Midwest Writers Conference and attend his all-day seminar. I launched into my research and landed here, got a drink from the fridge, put my feet on the coffee table, and haven’t left since.

    • John is extremely entertaining to talk with and listen to, Terri. I LOVE his war stories almost as much as his books. And thank you for your loyal visits which have continued even in John’s absence.

  18. That was very strange. I commented and when I hit submit, it vanished! Oh well, I’ll do it again. I think I saw a recommendation from WU (Writer’s Unboxed) from either JSB or Donald Maass. I am always looking for advice to new and aspiring authors, and since my genre is mystery, I signed up. I read the post every day and it has been such a great resource for me. I appreciate all of your help. I especially like the One Page Critique. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to send mine in! 🙂

  19. KZ was suggested by a workshop I attended, I then read an article in Writer’s Digest listing the top blogs for writers and I was already a fan of several of your contributors and now I’m a fan of you all.

  20. I believe I read that same WD post… Followed the link and I was hooked ~ check in every morning before heading to the day job (while the coffee’s brewing).
    I like the rotating author idea~ and the nature of the postings from “fellow followers” ~

  21. Jo, have followed Write on the water for years. Picked up on your blog there. It helps me to hear these little tidbits of info with the great examples you folks give. You are doing a fine job.

  22. Greetings, Joe.
    Wow! So many responses today.
    I first heard about your blog from Jillian Kent, several years ago. I’ve been checking it daily ever since.
    Thanks for all the great advice.

    • Steve, thank you for responding as well, and I tip of the fedora to Jillian as well. Also, Steve, please let us know when your soon-to-be-published novel is out!

  23. It was just a few days ago for me. Someone shared a post on Google+ about belaboring your prose and the title resonated with me so much because of my own experience with one of my books, that clicked the link to read the article and landed here. The energy was so good with everybody commenting, throwing in their two cents, that I immediately subscribed!

    Now I look forward for new stuff from TKZ in my mailbox 🙂

    • Thank you Ann. I really love the energy here as well, which is the result of having so many wonderful readers like yourself who step up and comment. We appreciate it.

  24. It must have been blind groping luck, Joe. I check in all the time. It’s been several years now. I’ll probably keep on hanging out here for the duration. I always seem to learn something here at just the right time.

  25. We hope that you do Jim! Blind groping luck works, believe me. If it weren’t for blind groping luck I wouldn’t have no luck at all…hmmm…that could be a song lyric, with a little work…

  26. Thanks so much for subscribing, Veronica, and we’d love to have you offer comments, suggestions, and the like whenever you feel like it! Welcome aboard!

  27. I came here from Murderati. I lurked at first, because the bluk of my “online writer relationships” were fully stocked over there. Then they shut down, and I still had (and have to this day) many lifetimes’ worth of lessons left to learn, and I needed teachers.

    So, I came here, and am the better for it.

  28. I’m not sure I remember correctly, but I believe I discovered The Kill Zone from Hope Clark’s newsletter, “Funds for Writers.” I’m glad I found you, I’ve learned a lot from your writers and posts.

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