Point of View shifts

Point of view is a tricky thing and it often trips up writers. When revising your manuscript, it’s a good thing to relook at each scene for any POV slip.

POV can, of course, be done using first, second, or third person. It can be done through the eyes of one person, usually the sleuth. The first-person sleuth can be the narrator, like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, or the narrator could be a sidekick, like Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Here, from A Scandal in Bohemia:

“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have… Continue reading

Should your main character be reliable and likeable?

It’s often thought that it is important to have main characters, especially protagonists and narrators, to be both reliable and likeable. What do you think?

I was asked this question in a creative writing class a while ago, and it helped me to clarify why I believe a protagonist or narrator has to be reliable, even if it is reliable unpredictability.

When you craft the world of make-believe that is any story, you are asking the reader to trust you, to step inside the world and spend time with your characters and their story. When the reader takes… Continue reading

ThrillerFest – Part 1

My top 10 reads for the summer include two of my favorite authors – Steve Berry and Anne Rice.  Earlier this year when I saw they would both attend ThrillerFest, I decided it was time to take the plunge.  I am very glad I did.

For those that have never attended, there are several parts to this conference. CraftFest takes place on the first day and one half. AgentFest is the afternoon of the second day. ThrillerFest  is days three and four. FanFest is a cocktail party on the evening of day three.

CraftFest. This… Continue reading

Last Lines

In a previous blog post, I wrote about great first lines. This time, I thought I’d write about last lines.

Mickey Spillane once said, “Your first chapter sells your book. Your last chapter sells your next book.”

Have you ever read a book that kept you hooked, but then came to an ending that was either so outlandish, or so unfulfilling, that it pretty much ruined the book for you? If you have, you know how important endings are.

Even well-known, longtime authors can anger their readers with an ending. Dana Stabenow has enraged loyal readers… Continue reading

Goodbye, so long, sayonara work-life balance

I used to strive for work-life balance, the sweet spot where I had my time carved up in the correct proportions for everything I needed to do and all the components carefully stacked on both sides of the scale to maintain equilibrium. But I kept finding that, no matter how many different ways I divided up the pie that was a set twenty-four hours a day, there was always a larger piece. Some portion of what needed to be done didn’t fit on the scale and ended up joining the pile of discarded pieces lying on the ground under the… Continue reading


Yesterday, I beat up my poor husband for taking something out of the car. Needless to say, the pummeling wasn’t well received.  Reception was even worse when I found I’d actually been the one who’d removed the object, a fat spiral ring notebook. The notebook had writings that had to be Xeroxed or entered into various documents on the computer. I’d forgotten to return it to the car, where it resides.

I have 5 of these notebooks, several in my office, one in the car, always one on my bedside table. Each book is optimistically labeled so everything will… Continue reading

10 Summer Reads

 It’s summer. For some of us, summer means the beach, vacations, and uncomplicated reads. With that in mind, I’ve recommended 10 reads that I think will fit in with this season of lightness and fun.

1) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, introduces 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, aspiring chemist, young sleuth, and the put-upon younger sister among three siblings who live with their dad in the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey. It’s the summer of 1950… Continue reading

The Dream of Organization … a pantser who dreams of being a plotter

I dream of many things … an office full of bulletin boards where I can trace out whole outlines on multi-colored index cards and color coded push pins. I dream of bulletin boards full of images torn from magazines to help me describe the way people dress and what they eat. I dream of time to find the images and index cards … heck to be honest I would like the time to find my office! I know it is somewhere.

I was always the student who bought the organizer, pencil case, and little pouch to hold miscellany items… Continue reading