Categorizing Your Writing

Last Saturday I had a writer friend say she wasn’t sure what to call her story in a query letter. She was debating between science fiction or futuristic, but mostly she wanted something that would give an agent a good idea of what the story was about. Hers was a … Continue reading

Sifting Through The Comments

What do you do if you’ve entered a contest and the scores you receive range from high to low and the judges’ comments seem to contradict each other? Or if you belong to a critique group where some of the members tell you what you’ve written is fantastic while others … Continue reading

Building a Character: GMC

In 1994 Debra Dixon was the guest speaker at the Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter’s “Retreat From Harsh Reality.” That was the first time I heard her talk about GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. It was one of those light bulb moments. I’d been writing for over ten years by then, but … Continue reading

Retreat Aftermath

Last week I wrote about going to a writers’ retreat. (Retreat from Harsh Reality.) Well, I’m back, energized, and ready to write. Christie Craig is a wonderful speaker. First of all, she has roots in Alabama and lives in Texas, which means she has a way of talking and an … Continue reading

A Cure for the Dumps

Friday I’m heading for the Bay Pointe Inn on the banks of Michigan’s beautiful Gun Lake. My husband grew up in this area, so over the years we’ve often visited Gun Lake. We used to drive up for Sunday brunch at the original Bay Pointe Inn, before they tore it … Continue reading

Your First Page

It doesn’t matter if what you’ve written is five pages long or five thousand pages, or if it’s fiction or non-fiction; the first page is your most important page. That first page must do a multitude of tasks. It introduces your topic or story, shows the reader your writing style, … Continue reading

Speakers at Venice Book Fair

Last weekend I participated in the Venice Book Fair (Venice, FL). It’s the town’s fifth book fair and it gets better every year. This one started Friday night with a 90-minute master class led by thriller author, David Hagberg, followed by a wine and cheese reception, then a presentation by Oceanview … Continue reading

Sleuthfest 2016: Valerie Plame

One Guest of Honor at Sleuthfest 2016 was Valerie Plame. On Saturday, Paul Levine interviewed Plame. I took notes, but I’m sure I missed some important information. The following is what I picked up from the interview. Valerie Plame is the CIA operative whose identity was revealed by the Bush … Continue reading

Sleuthfest: Explosives and Investigation

The first session I attended while at Sleuthfest 2016 was to help me with some research. I’m thinking of doing another Mary Harrington book, and if I do, her counterpart, Jack Rossini, may need to investigate a bomb explosion. So at 8:30 am Friday morning, I was sitting in a too-cold … Continue reading

The Bad, The Good, and The Editors

Sometimes a disaster turns into a great adventure. (Of course that’s because I’m not the one, in this case, who will have to pay for the damage.) Last month, Mary Ann Aug, a fellow sister in Sisters in Crime, responded when I asked if anyone going to Sleuthfest would be … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Initial Decisions

Tomorrow I’m heading for Deerfield Beach, Florida to attend Sleuthfest 2016. This is the fourth (or maybe it’s the fifth) Sleuthfest I’ve attended. Each has been a wonderful experience, so I’m looking forward to this one. Next week I’ll try to sum up some of what I learn at the conference. … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Narrative

Narrative is basically anything that’s not dialogue, which means it includes dialogue tags and action tags. Whereas grammar rules can be ignored, if desired, when writing dialogue, those rules should be followed with narrative. If you’re not sure about the rules, there are books (Shrunk & White’s Elements of Style; … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Dialogue, Dialogue Tags, and Action Tags

Dialogue is used for a variety of purposes. To convey information To help define character To break up the monotony of long passages of narrative and provide more white space on the page Dialogue tags are the narrative that tells the reader who is speaking. “Good morning, students,” the teacher … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Point-of-View

One of the first decisions a writer must make when starting a story is whose point-of-view (pov) to use? Will the author tell the story? A narrator? One of the characters? Several of the characters? At the end of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century it … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Editing

Normally I would go from formatting to point-of-view or verb tense when writing about craft, but last week I read two items that I wanted to share. According to UNESCO over 2.2 million books are published each year. The word “over” is because the count only includes books with an … Continue reading

Learn the Craft: Formatting

Unless you’re writing solely for yourself (and maybe for your family and a few friends) you need to know the craft of writing: formatting; point-of-view; chapter length; what tense to use, and so on. Although getting the story you want to tell out of your head and into some sort … Continue reading

Destination Wedding

If all goes well, and if you read this blog on January 13, 2016, my husband and I are now in Panama City, Panama. While here, we’ll be doing a couple days of sightseeing. Friday we’ll catch a plane and fly to Bocas del Toro. From there we’ll take a … Continue reading

And the Pitch Goes On

When I hear someone talking about giving a pitch, I think they mean they’re going to pitch a story to an agent or editor. However, last Saturday I attended a meeting for a start-up Sisters-in-Crime chapter where the program was to be “Pitches,” and discovered what we’d be doing is … Continue reading