What Could Go Wrong?

During her session at Sleuthfest 2018, Sharon Plotkin, a Certified Crime Scene Investigator in Miami, Florida, talked about CSI failures and mistakes that can and have ruined cases. During her talk, she focused on two high-profile cases: OJ Simpson and JonBenét Ramsey. Her first point was readers are jurors, and … Continue reading

Forensic Research and Fiction

Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D, forensic psychologist, was one of the Guests of Honor at this year’s Sleuthfest. She gave the Friday luncheon talk followed by a session on “Integrating Forensic Research into Fiction.” Her luncheon talk was fascinating (About the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader) but a bit gory (But no one … Continue reading

Two Writers’ View of AWP’18

I’d never heard of AWP, so when two writers I know said they would be attending this year’s conference, I asked them to write about their experiences. Please welcome Amy Brown and Patricia Averbach. Making the most of the year’s biggest literary event: AWP ‘18 By guest contributors Amy Brown … Continue reading

Editors’ Panel at Sleuthfest 2018

The four editors on the panel were Eric Campbell, Down & Out Books; Faith Black Ross, Crooked Lane Publishing; Marcia Markland, St. Martin’s Press; and Neil Nyron, G.P. Putnam’s Sons. The moderator was author Kris Montee (PJ Parrish). The panel members started answering the questions one at a time, but soon … Continue reading

Agents Panel at Sleuthfest2018

  The Agents’ Panel was moderated by Michael Joy, Co-chair of Sleuthfest 2018. The four agents on the panel were: Mitchell Waters, Literary Agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd.; Anne Bomke, The Annie Bomke Literary Agency; Evan Marshall, The Evan Marshall Agency; and Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency. Michael asked questions, … Continue reading

What an Editor Actually Does

Neil Nyron, who recently retired from being the Executive Vice President, Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief of G.P. Putnam’s Sons, gave the welcoming talk Thursday afternoon at the Florida Mystery Writers’ of America 24th annual Sleuthfest in Boca Raton. He’s given 3 other similar talks over the previous three … Continue reading

Off to Sleuthfest2018

If you are reading this blog on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, I am either preparing to leave for or on my way to Boca Raton, Florida for Sleuthfest 2018. (Sleuthfest2018) I’ve attended this conference, which is put on by the Florida Mystery Writers’ of America Chapter, several times now and … Continue reading

Writers’ Groups 2018

Do you have a local group of writers near you? I remember when I started writing I thought writers were a special group of people who lived somewhere (maybe in writers colonies or secluded mansions) but nowhere near me. What a surprise when I discovered (and joined) a nearby writers’ … Continue reading

Avoiding TSTL Characters

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about ways to develop your characters (Know Your Characters ). I’m still in the process of getting to know the characters in my new story, and I’ve taken a couple scenes from that story to be critiqued. In one instance I was questioned … Continue reading

Confession of an Inefficient Writer

I know I should either create an outline and then write the story, or start writing and simply let the story flow, writing from beginning to end without editing along the way. One way or the other would be efficient…but that’s not how I work, which results in a lot … Continue reading

Have You Used the Snowflake Method?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m both starting a new novel and presenting a workshop on outlining. For the workshop, I will be talking about the Snowflake Method developed. by Randy Ingermanson, so I decided to try it for my new story. It’s not easy… …but, if you’re a plotter, you may … Continue reading

Real or Fictitious?

I’ve reached a point with this new story where I need to decide if the setting will be an actual (real) location or one I make up. For my Crow books (The Crows, As the Crow Flies, and Eat Crow and Die), I used an imaginary town (Zenith) which was … Continue reading

Know Your Characters

I just spent an hour writing one paragraph, and I might end up deleting all of that. Why? Because I’m writing it from the point of view of a character I don’t really know. He’s in a bar—not an elegant one, but a hole-in-the-wall type—drinking to forget something. What? What … Continue reading

What is an Outline?

I’m more of a pantser than a plotter. I always try to plot out a story, but along the way things change—characters take over. When I started my writing career, I had to submit a synopsis and the first 3 chapters, so, I created a rough outline for myself and … Continue reading

How Do You Handle Conflicting Suggestions?

I belong to a fairly large critique group here in Florida, and I’m always amazed by how diverse the comments are about a piece of work. We usually critique two pieces during the meeting. We receive (via email downloads) the work a week before we meet, giving everyone a chance … Continue reading

Is it Important?

If you are writing a text book, or a travel brochure, or any type of non-fiction, it’s fine to go into detail about how something works or looks or the history of its origin, but if you are writing fiction, all that detail may hurt the story. Fiction is storytelling. … Continue reading

Sleep Revisited

Getting enough sleep is often difficult for a writer. During the Christmas season it can be even more difficult. In addition to visions of candy canes and sugar plums dancing in our heads, we have plot points, character development, or the fear of that dreaded word—writer’s block. Back on September … Continue reading