Awhile vs A While

Last week another writer asked me why I wrote a while instead of awhile in the following sentence: After a while, I didn’t notice the cigarette smell. Years ago, I would have written awhile, but after having editors change that to a while so many times, I now automatically split … Continue reading

Writing A Contemporary is Dangerous

Writing a contemporary novel is dangerous. The time between when you write it, when it’s published, and when someone reads the story can bring about many changes. With historical novels, the settings, weaponry, devices, language, mores are pretty well set. A writer might fudge a little, have a heroine more … Continue reading

Nothing New

I haven’t been blogging lately because I haven’t felt I had anything new to say. Over the years I’ve written about formatting, grammar and punctuation. I’ve suggested sites that cover marketing, new markets, and markets to avoid. I’ve reported on conferences I’ve attended, what editors and agents want (at least … Continue reading

Face Masks to Make a Statement

The coronavirus has made many changes in our lives. Writers are facing new challenges in ways to promote their books. Bookstores have been closed (some are reopening, but author talks and signings have been cancelled); physical author tours have been cancelled; conferences have been cancelled; libraries are still closed, which … Continue reading

Want to be Published? 5 Questions to Answer

You’ve written a story that you think is really good. You want it published. Here are 5 questions you need to answer. 1. Is your manuscript in publishable shape right now? No spelling errors, typos, or inconsistencies in the story? Don’t plan on an editor correcting your errors. Yes, the … Continue reading

Exercise Your Mind and Body

The Coronavirus has given many writers a guilt-free excuse to sit at the computer and write, but I’m hearing some writers admit to wasting this opportunity. Instead of writing, they’re doing jigsaw puzzles (in March sales of jigsaw puzzles surged), binge watching TV, reading (for pleasure and escape, in many … Continue reading

Do You Have a Series Bible?

Do you have a series bible? I wish I did. There are various types of writing bibles. Some include everything from the plot line and motivation for the stories to character descriptions and proposed sequels. Writers who know they’re going to write a series may include the overall arc of … Continue reading

The Ellipsis and Me

Do you know the correct way to use an ellipsis? I use ellipses a lot. (Note, the spelling switches from an i to an e for the plural.) In fact, according to one person who judged Echoes of Terror for the Florida Writers’ Association’s 2017 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition, … Continue reading

Are You Writing?

On-line, members of a writers’ group I belong to have been posting what they’ve been doing during the lockdown. I’ve been interested in the responses–which vary from watching a lot of TV to accomplishing a couple thousand words a day–because I’ve done almost no creative writing in the last month. … Continue reading

Luck Be A Lady

Talent plays a very small role in a writer’s chances for success. I’ve read wonderful stories that will either (1) never be published or, even if published, (2) will never be financially successful. Oh, persistence helps, along with a good story, knowing the market, and knowing how to present your … Continue reading

A Major Interruption

I hate interruptions when I’m writing. The deeper I get into a story, the more I become a part of the story–I am the protagonist, the villain, the secondary characters. I am living where they live, seeing what they see, feeling their emotions. That is until… The phone rings. My … Continue reading

Copyright Information

Years ago I promised myself if I sold a mystery I would join The Authors Guild. Well, I did and I did. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Since joining, I’ve received information that has been valuable to me personally; have been made aware of laws … Continue reading

Giving Reviews

Reviews are important. Amazon bases its rankings on the number of reviews a book (or item) receives, and many readers determine if they’ll purchase a book or not by the reviews. Publishers urge their writers to get reviews, and writers will ask everyone (and anyone) who purchases their books to … Continue reading

Were You Surprised?

I love it when a reader tells me she or he was surprised by the ending of a book. At least I’m pleased as long as they also say the ending worked. I know when I’m reading a mystery, I like to be surprised. I want all of the clues … Continue reading

Don’t Lose Your Voice

“I love the voice.” I’ve heard that said about books, and I’ve heard agents and editors say, “I’m looking for a fresh voice” or “It’s the voice that counts.” So what is voice? According to www.literarydevices.com: Voice in literature is the individual style in which a certain author writes his … Continue reading

Formatting

If you read my January 8, 2020 blog you saw I said there were no rules in writing. I also said there were traditions and reasons for certain ways of formatting. Again, these aren’t rules. For one thing, many of the formatting guidelines have changed over the years. Changes in … Continue reading

Rules in Writing

Rule #1: There are no rules. There are guidelines. Traditional ways of writing. Requirements for certain forms of publishing or publishing houses. As a writer, you need to be aware of what’s expected, especially if you want to be published by a specific publisher (or publishers) or in a particular … Continue reading