Why’d He Do That?

We often hear that it’s bad to use backstory. It doesn’t hook the reader. Stops the forward movement of the story. Readers skip it; editors reject it. But wait! Don’t you want to let the reader know what happened in your character’s past that’s causing him/her to act this way? … Continue reading

Writing Can be Dangerous for Your Health

Over the years I’ve learned that sitting at a typewriter/computer isn’t one of the most dangerous jobs a person can have, but it does have drawbacks. My first introduction to this fact came while using a Royal portable typewriter, back in the ‘80s. I actually pounded my right thumb nail … Continue reading

Read That Contract!

Lately I’ve been seeing posts asking questions about when a particular publisher (one I’m associated with) will be paying royalties, how much needs to be earned to cover the advance (including confusion on what exactly they received as an advance), and what rights were retained. I just recently signed a … Continue reading

Does it ever get easier?

Does it ever get easier? I can’t speak for all writers, only for myself, but the answer to that question is “No.” I’ve had 27 books published (a small number compared to many writers), but I still have to submit query letters and synopses, and I still have to wait… … Continue reading

Follow the Money

Yesterday I attended a local writers’ meeting where one of the members mentioned her experience with an agency that had sounded promising until she received an e-mail mentioning that they wanted her to pay X number of dollars and they would help her get her ms into publishable form. Now, … Continue reading

The Long and Short of it.

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Mark Twain (and Zuri Soule) I’d like to start by thanking everyone who commented or sent e-mails regarding Zuri’s health. The pills and a change in diet (fresh liver to increase his red-blood count) have helped. We have no idea how long … Continue reading

Verisimilitude

Lately I’ve had the opportunity to read and comment on some stories written by new writers. What I’ve noticed is these writers are so eager to get their stories written, they end up TELLING the story rather than drawing the reader into the story. Often what we tell these writers … Continue reading

New-Adult

Tuesday’s USA Today had an article in its LIFE section about a new category of novels: NA (New-Adult) (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/04/15/new-adult-genre-is-the-hottest-category-in-book-publishing/2022707/) These books feature protagonists in the 18-to-early-20s age range. The stories have the emotional intensity of YA (young adult) novels, but include more mature themes—the freedom of living away from home, … Continue reading

Who’s the Boss?

One of the neat things about being a writer is basically you’re the boss. You can set your own hours, decide what you’re going to work on, and plan how you want the project (story) to turn out.     One of the worst things about being a writer is … Continue reading

Further or Farther?

I’ve always thought I knew the difference between further and farther. You could further a discussion or further a career, but you had to go farther if you wanted to get anywhere. That’s what I thought, but I’ve heard and seen the two used almost interchangeably, not only with new … Continue reading

Back up, Back up!

I’m sitting in front of a time bomb. No, not a real bomb, but I can practically hear it ticking away. I’m talking about my computer. It’s not that old, but almost from the day I purchased it, that imaginary bomb has been ticking away. I first realized there might … Continue reading

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? We’ve heard that question from our kids and sometimes from our spouse. Whenever I teach a class on writing, I hear a similar question: How do you know when you’re finished? What the writer is asking is how do you know when the story you’ve written … Continue reading

SOS-All you needed to know about writing/editing/publishing a book

The SOS stands for Sleuthfest on Saturday which I attended last Saturday. First of all, it was close by, just a little more than 20 miles away. Second, some of my writer friends were speaking. Two good reasons to go.  I arrived at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, Florida a … Continue reading

Are You Listening?

I go to the pool to use the hot tub for my back and to listen to people talk. I admire writers who give their characters distinctive voices. Word usage, sentence structure, even the tempo of the speech can distinguish one character from another without the addition of dialogue tags … Continue reading

Losing Weight: Ways to trim fat in a ms and on me.

I’m on a diet. I’ve simply gained too much weight for my legs, hips, and back to handle without complaining. Often, especially with a rough draft, the same could be said: “It’s carrying too much weight (“fat”).” With both my writing and me the remedy is to trim the fat. For … Continue reading

Reading

This month I’m reading two very different books for the book clubs I belong to. One is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, the other is How We Made Our First Million on Kindle.  Actually, I haven’t started Hotel. That group meets at a later date than the … Continue reading