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

Do You Give Reviews?

Writers need and want reviews of their books, not just for their egos, but to help with sales. We know family and friends will probably buy our books (At least, we hope they will), but to sell beyond that group of people we need to interest readers who don’t know … 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

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

Query Letters

Recently I was asked by two people (different times) to do a blog about query letters. I did write a short one last year during the April A to Z Challenge. http://marissoule.com/q-is-for-query/ If you’re wondering what you should or shouldn’t put in a query letter, please take a moment to … Continue reading

Keeping Track of Writing Time

I’m sorry I missed last week’s blog, but a call from my brother-in-law had us hurrying to close up the place in Florida and head north. We didn’t make it in time to see my mother-in-law before she passed, but we did make the visitation and funeral. Now that the … 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