After the End

Last week I blogged about finishing the rough draft of the book I’ve been working on. To my surprise, a couple people asked where they could now buy the book. This question reminded me that many readers and new writers don’t understand the steps necessary between finishing the rough draft … Continue reading

Is this “The End?”

Last week I typed “The End” on a story I’ve been working on for four years. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to write this story. I haven’t suffered any earthshaking catastrophe, loss, or illness (other than a few months of pain when I broke my back), … Continue reading

Do You Suffer From Exclamation Glut?

Do you suffer from exclamation point glut? Not sure? Do a “Find” and type the exclamation point (!) in. How many do you have in your manuscript? More than one? If so, is its use justified? The exclamation point is often used in text messages. Sometimes in abundance!!! But please … Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

Do You Know What I Know?

Does the writer always have to explain terms or references that might be specific to a profession or area of the country? Is it necessary to translate every foreign word you use in a story? And, what about uncommon words? Should a writer use unfamiliar words or stick to the … Continue reading

The Teaser

For weeks, months, maybe years you’ve been working on your novel. It’s anywhere from 50 thousand words to a 150 thousand. And now? In just a few words you need to convince an agent, editor, or reader to buy (or at least read) your book, and you’re not going to … Continue reading

Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

A few months ago I received an email from a relative who wanted information about a non-fiction book she wanted to write. She was asking me for help, but as I quizzed her about what she was writing and why, I discovered she already had the basic idea of what … Continue reading

Should I Say More or Less?

When I wrote The Crows, I thought it was a single title mystery. It wasn’t until after the The Crows was released and I was doing book talks that I was asked when the next P.J. Benson Mystery would be out. A second book? Hmm. As I wrote the second … Continue reading

Knowing the Why

I just spent 2 days working out (in my mind and on paper) why my secondary characters are doing (or have done) certain things. My P.J. Benson Mysteries are all told in first person, so I can’t have scenes where the reader sees or hears what secondary characters are doing … Continue reading