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

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

Sleuthfest: The Editors’ Panel

The guest editors attending Sleuthfest were Emily Giglierano (Mulholland Books), Juliet Grames (Associate Publisher: Soho Press), Annette Rogers (Poison Pen Press), and Neil Nyren (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Random House). Diane Stuckart moderated the panel. All four editors said they (generally) only accept submissions through an agent. … Continue reading

The Best of Times or the Worse?

At Sleuthfest 2017, held in Boca Rotan, Florida last week, I heard both encouraging and discouraging words about the publishing industry. Some presenters (agents, editors, and authors) listed the increase in small, but viable, publishing houses as a plus and that many writers were now going hybrid (published by traditional … 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

5 Writing Errors

I’ve done several critiques recently, and I’ve also had something I’ve been working on critiqued. In the process, I’ve come across five errors that all writers need to keep in mind when editing their work. 1. Rushing through a scene When working on early drafts of a story, getting the … 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

Love is Murder

Others have given summaries of the LIM conference held last weekend (Feb. 1-3) in Chicago, so I’ll just touch on a few points. If you’re on Facebook, do a search for the Love is Murder page. 245 pictures were posted covering the three-day conference. Pictures do tell a story. On … Continue reading

How to Pick a Best Seller

Every so often I’m asked to read and critique someone’s work. What most want to know is: Will this story sell to a publisher? And beyond that question is: Will this book be a best seller? It would be nice if I or anyone could answer those questions. I know … Continue reading