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

A Writer’s Life

Ah, to be a writer. If you write romances, it’s satin sheets and bonbons as you sit on your bed and type on your laptop (or dictate to your secretary). For others, it’s a private office, either in your mansion or New York apartment. Editors come to your home to … Continue reading

Freelance Writing

Have you tried doing freelance writing? I was at writers’ meeting last week and one of the members told us about the freelance writing she does. (She’s also working on a full length novel.) To earn money now (while waiting for royalty checks), she takes assignments from  TextBroker where she … Continue reading

Creating a New Story

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas. Most of us say we get them from everywhere: newspapers, TV, real events, family dynamics, travel, and so on. Some story ideas seem to come full-blown. Others need to be pulled out of our imaginations. The same is true of characters. … Continue reading

Designing (or redesigning) a Website

Recently a writer friend said her website was blah and asked if my daughter could help her, so this coming Saturday my daughter and I will make a “house” call to see what exactly is needed to give the writer’s website some sparkle. Meanwhile, I thought I’d check what others … Continue reading

Try Something New

I recently tried something new–a Viking cruise. (From Paris, France, to Luxembourg, to German towns along the Moselle River and the middle Rhine River, to, finally, Zurich, Switzerland) My head is filled with images, bits of conversation, smells, and sounds. I’ve seen cathedrals, cathedrals, and more cathedrals. Some I’ll remember, … Continue reading