After the First Draft, then the Editing

The end of the first draft is so exciting. Such a relief to come to a conclusion. The inevitable question once we’ve taken a breath is: What to do next?

We all know the answer:  Time to edit. Editor pic

Patricia Gussin, founder of Oceanview Publishing, offers a Five Step Program. It seems a bit overwhelming but I think we all do some or all of the same revisions – just maybe not using the same process. Each step involves a complete read of your story… Continue reading

First Among Firsts

Writers are always being asked — or told  — about first lines.  Get a good hook. Make those critical beginning words count.

Like most people, I’ve reacted to hundreds and hundreds of first words with sheer boredom, barely passing glances, humour, distaste, revelation, revulsion, hatred, pleasure, wonder and sadness. Sometimes even buoyancy and hope, those being, in my experience, the rarest.  I know that something about the many volumes I’ve read had to draw me in beyond a grabby cover, an interesting sounding author, a compelling plot description on the dust jacket.  Something had to make me want to… Continue reading

Crime Bake – Writing Conference Revitalization

Crime Bake Luau

Crime Bake Luau

Last weekend I attended my fourth Crime Bake, New England’s mystery-writing conference. Each year I wonder if the fare will be a repeat of the previous year, and each year I am pleasantly surprised. The selection of workshops at Crime Bake usually reflects the rapid changes in the writing industry, and the list of successful authors sharing their knowledge varies with each conference.

The guest of honor this year was Meg Gardiner, whose thrillers, beginning with her Edgar-winning novel, China Lake, have… Continue reading

Writing Resources that Never Lose Their Style

When I began writing novels, a friend who works in publishing gave me this advice: “You’ve been reading ABOUT writing for a year.  Isn’t it time to start writing?” Yes, I do cop to a certain amount of insecurity before I started my first book. My office shelves are filled with writing resources, but three in particular have proven priceless.  They didn’t come out last year.

One of the best purchases I made was buying a copy of The Synonym Finder (Jerome synonym finderRodale, editor, 1978.) I remember reading about… Continue reading

The Muse and Writer’s Block

We’ve all experienced the dreaded writer’s block. That time when no words flow. We know the words are still there. It’s just our access is blocked for some reason. And we all have our tricks to keep that from happening. I sure do.

girl writingSome old favorites:

  • Don’t finish a chapter or a scene so you have a place to start.
  • Re-write the last paragraph as a starting point.
  • Don’t write all you know about the story so have something to begin with.

&nbsp… Continue reading

Dark Muse

There’s such an interesting smorgasbord of items to post about this week that at one time or the other in the past few days I’ve contemplated writing about all of them. But then, something happened and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. It’s the kind of thing we read about in our genre and it’s disagreeable enough experiencing it on the page. But to confront it in real life is something most of us – thank God – never have the “opportunity” to do.

I’m at once horrified, yet drawn to it the way… Continue reading

I Do, You Do, or She Does?

What to do with Point of View? Every story has a Point of View (POV), so that the reader knows who is telling the story, protagonist or narrator, and how they’re telling it.

Sounds like an easy decision, but it’s not. How do you know which POV works best for your story?

readingI struggled for a while with that decision. Once I figured out the difference between POVs, I tried to decide which would be the easiest to write. Then I worried about which POV the reader would prefer… Continue reading