Story Structure

Remember, there are no absolute rules in writing. Note, I said ABSOLUTE. We do have grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules, but these are broken everyday by writers who want to show something about a character’s speech or writing. Formatting rules change due to technology or the desire to create a different … Continue reading

Painting with Words

I majored in art, so it’s natural for me to compare painting a picture to writing a book. The artist uses color, along with shapes and lines, to create a picture. Writers use words. When starting a new painting, I have an idea in mind. Some artists make detailed sketches. … Continue reading

Why Hire an Editor?

“I’m going to self-publish because  don’t want anyone changing what I’ve written!” I cringe when I hear a writer say that. Maybe the published book will be “clean” (no typos, misspellings, or poorly written sentences), but usually it will have sections that are either unclear, repetitious, or totally unnecessary. (I’ve … Continue reading

How Do I Find An Agent?

How do I find an agent? In the last month I’ve had two people ask me that question. I think they wanted a short, easy answer (the secret). They looked disappointed when I start talking about going on-line and finding which agents represented the type of book they’ve written; checking Writers … Continue reading

Self-Publish, Hybrid, or Assisted Publishing.?

What is the difference between self-publishing your book, calling yourself a hybrid author, or using assisted publishing? What can one method offer that another can’t? Those were the questions discussed during a self-published author’s open house held in May at the Lincoln Township Public Library. I attended because a writer … Continue reading

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