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

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

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

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

The Craft of Writing: Initial Decisions

Tomorrow I’m heading for Deerfield Beach, Florida to attend Sleuthfest 2016. This is the fourth (or maybe it’s the fifth) Sleuthfest I’ve attended. Each has been a wonderful experience, so I’m looking forward to this one. Next week I’ll try to sum up some of what I learn at the conference. … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Narrative

Narrative is basically anything that’s not dialogue, which means it includes dialogue tags and action tags. Whereas grammar rules can be ignored, if desired, when writing dialogue, those rules should be followed with narrative. If you’re not sure about the rules, there are books (Shrunk & White’s Elements of Style; … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Dialogue, Dialogue Tags, and Action Tags

Dialogue is used for a variety of purposes. To convey information To help define character To break up the monotony of long passages of narrative and provide more white space on the page Dialogue tags are the narrative that tells the reader who is speaking. “Good morning, students,” the teacher … Continue reading

The Craft of Writing: Point-of-View

One of the first decisions a writer must make when starting a story is whose point-of-view (pov) to use? Will the author tell the story? A narrator? One of the characters? Several of the characters? At the end of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century it … Continue reading