Picking A Name For Your Character

During a talk I recently gave, one man asked how I came up with names for my characters. I told him the truth, that a lot of times I pick up a newspaper, find names, and mix first and last names up (so I don’t use someone’s real name). That works best … Continue reading

Never! Stop! Don’t!

We’ve all heard those words. Never … (you fill in the blank)! Stop…! Don’t…! They’re edicts we must follow. Right? Of course not. Never write sentence fragments Never start a sentence with and or but. Never end a sentence with a preposition. Beware of sentence fragments. Oh yes, the terrible … Continue reading

Different Paths to Publication

I’m continuing my summaries of sessions I attended during Sleuthfest 2017 with the Saturday afternoon session titled “Different Paths to Publication.” This panel included Lynnette Hallberg, Sharon Potts, John Keyse-Walker, and Dan Ames with Gregg Brickman moderating. Dan Ames started the conversation by comparing the three common ways of being … Continue reading

Shooting Solutions Session plus The Gritty Cozy Session

Saturday morning (February 25), I had a meeting so I didn’t get to “Shooting Solutions, Part 1,” presented by Sharon Plotkin, until it was more than halfway over; nevertheless, I still picked up some interesting information to add to my mysteries. For one thing, Sharon said, “Use gloves to pick … Continue reading

Read What You Write

For the  last week I’ve been reading cozy mysteries. For anyone who doesn’t know what a cozy is, think of Agatha Christie’s books or the TV series, “Murder She Wrote.” The books usually involve a small town or community, an off-stage murder, some quirky characters, and an animal—a dog, cat, … Continue reading

Voice: His/Hers

Years ago I had an editor ask me to change my point-of-view (pov) character from a female to a male. I’d written some books where I’d used both povs, but I wasn’t sure I could pull off a story written completely in the male pov. What I discovered was I … Continue reading

Verbosity

Verbose: adjective. Using or expressed in more words than are needed. “Much academic language is obscure and verbose.: synonym: wordy, loquacious, garrulous, talkative, voluble. I’ve been told I write tight, but my critique partners and editors can usually find ways to tighten my writing. Often I’ve read books (some being … Continue reading

What is it?

My husband and I have communication problems. He’ll ask, “What do you think of it?” I believe he’s talking about the book I’m reading, but he’s talking about the wine I’m drinking. After a couple comments back and forth that make no sense to either of us, I discover what … Continue reading

Dialogue Revisited

First, I want to report that my interview with Jim Christina and Bobbi Bell on LATalkRadio “The Writer’s Block” went well and was fun. I always like talking about my books and writing in general. Also it was great that they both liked A Killer Past. (Wouldn’t it be terrible … Continue reading

Editing: Are you Right Brain or Left Brain?

Recently I attended a Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter meeting where the program was on editing. The speaker, Dr. Diana Stout, MFA PhD, is one of MMRWA’s members and besides being a writer has taught college English for several years. During the meeting, she covered punctuation from comma rules to words to … Continue reading

The Importance of ARCs

I recently received the advanced reading copy of my  March 2017 thriller, Echoes of Terror. It has been a while since I read through the manuscript, and since I’m sending some copies out for review, I wanted to make sure there were no glaring errors. Actually, I didn’t want any … Continue reading

What is a Logline

Last weekend I opened an e-book that I purchased about five years ago. Save the Cat is a non-fiction book about screenwriting written by Blake Snyder (who is a screenwriter). It’s also a book that is often mentioned by writers when talking about writing. The first chapter of Save the Cat … Continue reading

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

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

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

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