5 Decision Points

It would be so nice if all a writer needed to do was write. But, of course, life isn’t that easy. On September 20th I had surgery on the middle finger of my right hand (and yes, I’m right handed), which resulted in a week of one-finger typing and some … Continue reading

Introducing a Character

When a character is introduced to the reader for the first time in a story, there is always a desire to tell all: what the character looks like, the character’s age, marital status, and everything that brought him or her to this moment. Of course, as soon as a writer does … Continue reading

Discouragement

Recently, on a yahoo groups I belong to, the topic has been Discouragement. I don’t want to start a similar discussion here, but it is a subject that touches many (if not all) of us at some time or another. It’s my belief that we, who are in a creative … Continue reading

A Blessing or a Curse

I often wonder if being a writer is a blessing or a curse. It’s 1:00 am Tuesday morning. Two hours ago I took a pill that was supposed to help me sleep. I guess my creative muse didn’t know that because for the last two hours (and even before that) … Continue reading

When Should You Switch POV?

Early Harlequin romances were written in 3rd person from the heroine’s pov (point of view). It was quite a while before the hero was allowed his pov. Once he was, it wasn’t uncommon for writers to “head hop.” (Go from the heroine’s thoughts to the hero’s and back.) When I … Continue reading

First Three Pages

Last Saturday I attended my local Romance Writers of America Chapter’s meeting. This month’s MMRWA program focused on the first three pages of members’ WIPs (works in progress). I’m not exactly sure how many members submitted their first three pages, but there were at least a dozen read during the … Continue reading

The Agony of Defeat

I want to continue my comparison of athletes to writers. Both athletes and writers enter competitions (the Olympics or other athletic contests for the athlete and writing contests or efforts to have a book published for the writer). Both enter with their best (best conditioning, best routine, or best manuscript). … Continue reading

Practice, Practice, Practice

I’ve been watching the Olympics, and I realized there are a lot of similarities between a successful athlete and a successful writer. Athletes who want to compete at the highest level practice. Most do this daily or almost daily. They don’t let illness stop them or family events. Because they … Continue reading

Can You Write About Real Places?

Recently I’ve been seeing emails where the topic is the following question: Can I Use Real Places? The answers (as they should be) have been “Yes,” “No,” and “It depends.” It depends on what real places (Disney is very protective of its Trademark and anything to do with its products … Continue reading

The Misadventures of Catie Bloom

Last week I had the pleasure of reading a delightful romance (The Misadventures of Catie Bloom) written by my niece, Brooke Stanton. For weeks I (and many others) have been receiving teasers announcing the coming release of this book. I remember even voting, sometime in the past, on which cover … Continue reading

How Many Plots Are There?

Back in May a new writer asked how to keep others from copying her plot. My answer was: “There are only so many plots, so everyone is copying. It’s how each individual presents the plot that makes one story different from another.” The discussion then moved into how many plots … Continue reading

Come Saturday, Come Sunday

I’ve been friends with Joe Novara for over ten years. We were in a critique group together for some of that time, and after that group disbanded, Joe and his wife Rosalie acted as Beta readers for my novel A Killer Past. In return, I’ve had a chance to read parts … Continue reading

He Said, She Asked

Said and asked are two words that become almost invisible in a story. They help identify who’s speaking—he said or she asked—but they don’t draw attention to themselves. (Unless used too often when not necessary.) Recently I took advantage of Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. I was trying to decide if … Continue reading

Agents Advice on Query Letters

On June 22, 2016 the Authors’ Guild had an interview for their Industry and Advocacy News titled “Agents’ Roundtable: Three Agents Reveal What They’re Really Looking for from Authors.” The roundtable included David Forrer, from Inkwell Management; Eric Myers, from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management; and Regina Ryan from Regina … Continue reading

Query vs Synopsis

Both the query letter and the synopsis are tools used to convince an agent or editor to buy a story. A synopsis is often also used by marketing to sell the book to reps and distributors, and the art department wants one to help with a cover. Most writers will … Continue reading

10 Ways NOT To Get Published

Want to be published? Then don’t do the following: Send your manuscript to the wrong publisher. I have a friend who, early in her writing career, sent a sweet romance short story to Hussler magazine. Now, when she looks back on that, she says she bets the editorial staff had … Continue reading

How Much Does It Cost?

I was at the Portage District Library last Thursday talking with a group of writers and one woman asked how much it cost to publish an ebook. I had to give the unsatisfying answer of “It depends.” I decided that would be a good topic for a blog, especially since Friday … Continue reading

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