Copyright

Do you need to copyright your work? The Copyright ACT of 1976 was enacted October 19, 1976. It basically stated that all work was copyrighted (protected) the moment it was “fixed in any tangible medium.” (That is, on paper, computer, audible, video, etc.). It seems that’s fine as long as … Continue reading

Do You Know What I Know?

Does the writer always have to explain terms or references that might be specific to a profession or area of the country? Is it necessary to translate every foreign word you use in a story? And, what about uncommon words? Should a writer use unfamiliar words or stick to the … Continue reading

The Teaser

For weeks, months, maybe years you’ve been working on your novel. It’s anywhere from 50 thousand words to a 150 thousand. And now? In just a few words you need to convince an agent, editor, or reader to buy (or at least read) your book, and you’re not going to … Continue reading

Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

A few months ago I received an email from a relative who wanted information about a non-fiction book she wanted to write. She was asking me for help, but as I quizzed her about what she was writing and why, I discovered she already had the basic idea of what … Continue reading

Should I Say More or Less?

When I wrote The Crows, I thought it was a single title mystery. It wasn’t until after the The Crows was released and I was doing book talks that I was asked when the next P.J. Benson Mystery would be out. A second book? Hmm. As I wrote the second … Continue reading

Knowing the Why

I just spent 2 days working out (in my mind and on paper) why my secondary characters are doing (or have done) certain things. My P.J. Benson Mysteries are all told in first person, so I can’t have scenes where the reader sees or hears what secondary characters are doing … Continue reading

Publishing in 2019

The Authors Guild recently came out with the results of their 2018 author’s earnings survey The results were not encouraging In only five years, authors’ incomes from just their books fell 21%, down from a median of $3,900 in 2013 to $3,100 in 2017 The low incomes suggest a growing … Continue reading

How Do I Get My Book Published?

Last month I received an email from a young girl asking for information about how to get a book she’d written published. The following is, in part, what I sent back to her. Dear Writer: Since my weekly blog is primarily about writing and getting published, some of my earlier … Continue reading

Goodbye 2018

I don’t know about you, but the day after Christmas and the week before New Year’s Eve is always a little depressing for me. The cheerful “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” greetings end, most of the romantic or hopeful holiday shows cease to be shown, and the major networks are … Continue reading

Changing Tense

I’m finally working on the fourth (and final) P.J. Benson Mystery (My Crows series). I actually had close to 5,000 words written the end of summer, but life got in the way, and the opening just didn’t feel right to me. I wasn’t connecting with P.J. Here’s the original opening: … Continue reading

First Pages Prize

I recently received information about a contest being conducted by Stockholm Writers Festival. The prizes are great. If you’re unagented and have something unpublished (whether you’ve been published or not), check this contest out. ********* Good evening from Stockholm!,    Once again we are running the First Pages Prize, a … Continue reading

‘Tis the Season to Visit Grammar

Back on February 17, 2016 I wrote a blog on  The Craft of Writing Narrative/. At that time I mentioned some sources a writer might visit to review the rules of grammar. My favorite sources, then and now, are Shrunk & White’s Elements of Style and Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & … Continue reading

Have You Lost Your Senses?

I don’t remember when I picked up this laminated card, but I have it taped to my monitor because it’s a good reminder. Often when critiquing the work of others, either I or others in the group begin asking the writer (being critiqued) questions such as these: What does your … Continue reading

Book Stores, Book Clubs, and Conferences

October, for me, was a busy month of promoting the paperback version of A KILLER PAST. I didn’t really plan it that way, but starting last spring and through the summer I kept receiving invitations to speak or appear.  All wanted October dates. These invitations included two book clubs, one … Continue reading

Why Write a Book?

Recently someone said to me, “I think I’ll write a book. So, what do I need to do?” The answer, of course, is simple–Sit down and write it. But they usually want more than that. They want to know “How do I get an agent?” or “What’s the easiest way to … Continue reading

Fear

Recently I attended the inaugural, one-day Southwest Michigan Writers’ Conference chaired and coordinated by Brian R. Johnston, Head of Public Services at the Lincoln Township Public Library. The event was sponsored by a group of southwest Michigan libraries, and held at the beautiful Niles District Library. Most of the men … Continue reading

Creator and Creating

Writers are creators. We create characters, families, communities, worlds, and conflict. Sometimes all elements magically come together to create a story, but often we complain about being blocked (Writers Block) or that our characters are two-dimensional . . .or the story simply isn’t exciting or interesting enough. Too mundane. Too … Continue reading