Likeable Villains??

I just attended a great workshop taught by Carol Bugge entitled Villains, Heroes, and villainSidekicks–Crafting Characters that thrill readers (and SELL books). The workshop was put on by Sisters in Crime, New England.

I needed to learn more about villains and give them their proper place in my work. Not only do I leave their development until later, but, sometimes, I don’t figure out who they are until it’s absolutely necessary. I have one cozy set aside because I can’t decide who did it. But, I’m learning.

In order… Continue reading

Writer’s Problem: Keeping the suspense/tension high

Last Saturday, my local writing group’s program included authors talking about how to solve a particular writing problem.   One presentation was on how to develop and maintain suspense.  The solution:  chapter ending hooks.

Nancy J. Cohen wrote an interesting blog post (Killzone Blog) that talked about seven types of chapter ending hooks.  These are used to provoke the reader’s curiosity or to shock or tease or entice or worry or otherwise propel your reader to the next page and chapter.  There may be more than the seven but I thought it was a really good list to start… Continue reading

The Fat Lady Sings (Again) – to Beat Sheets

CORRECTION: The wonderful Jami Gold has made a correction to this post. Although a number of “Beat Sheets” below are attributed to different authors, they were actually created by Jami herself. She’s drawn from the teachings of Larry Brooks, Michael Hauge, etc. to assemble them, hence their names. The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet was created by Elizabeth Davis. Confused yet?  Don’t worry. All will become clear as you read further.
Two other suggestions from Jami: first, she recommends this link for her Scrivener Beat Sheet: jamigold.com/2013/12/can-we-use-beat-sheets-with-scrivener . And second, she provides a “clearinghouse” link for all Beat Sheets

Talking Books, Films and Garage Sales with Author Suzi Weinert

Today I am thrilled to be talking with Suzi Weinert who is the author of the Garage Sale mysteries series. First a bit of history:  Moving regularly as an Air Force brat, after college Suzi married an Army officer and in the succeeding 21 years, moved 11 more times across the US, Germany and the Philippines. Transforming each new house into a home, she discovered on-post thrift shops where military families consign for sale whatever they can’t take on a move and later supplement their belongings from their new destination’s thrift shop.

Writing Humor – With Lane Stone

Today we are fortunate to have author Lane Stone join us to talk a bit about the inspiration for her novels, her process and how she uses humor in her mysteries.  Lane is the author of Current Affairs:  A Tiara Investigations Mystery, Domestic Affairs and Maltipoos Are Murder.Lane photo

Thanks for being here today.  How did you come up with the ideas for your book – i.e., main character?

I had the idea of a Southern beauty queen – in her later years – solving crimes, but I also… Continue reading

Characterization – A Different Way of Thinking

I’ve taken some characterization classes and used the checklists from these to better develop my characters. I love the checklists.  The classes have been great.   They helped me better define and deepen my characters.  So I wasn’t sure what I would get out of a webinar on characterization that was something different.  Turns out it was a lot in terms of thinking slightly differently.checklist

A few highlights from the talk by author Jade Lee to think about:

  1. Using the Elements – air, water, fire, metal and earth.  Think about which

Internet Resources, Take 2

Last month, I wrote about some of the more interesting places I’ve recently visited for research purposes. Well, I’ve been at it again, this time starting with “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself into Print” by Renni Browne and Dave King. This gem of a book was hiding in full sight among the1200 or so volumes currently eating my Kindle alive. (Note to Self: Serious Housecleaning Needed ASAP.)

self-editing book coverOnce I started the Browne/King book, I literally couldn’t put it down. The advice is so well… Continue reading

Time to Edit — Tips from the Web

Across one of my bookshelves, there’s a line of fat white notebooks, each one bearing a zippy, call-to-action name: “How to Write Compelling Dialogue. “Building Blocks of Great Fiction.” “How to Create a Page Turner.” ”The Secrets of Deep POV.” Many readers will recognize these titles as courses offered by some of the best in the wordsmithing business — Pat Kaye, Virginia Kantra, Steve Alcorn, and Mary Buckham, among others. When I decided to transition from jack-of-all-trades writer to mystery author, I sopped up every drop of information these folks could give me. Now, as I’m headed for… Continue reading

Bored to Creativity

It’s the holidays and the end of the year.  For me, it’s the busiest time for my other work so I often feel stressed, tired and ready for the new year.  As I have in most years, I tend to think about what is working and not working – and what I need to change.  This year, I realized that my time for creative writing time was less since it has been so busy.  So I wondered if it was time constraints or that my creativity wasn’t as strong right now.  Where were my impulses that normally drive the writing?  Was… Continue reading

Writing Conferences — Worth the Money?

Every time I’m about to hit the “Send Payment” button for a conference, the same mantra runs through my head. Should I go? Will this really help my writing? Is it worth the money?

NECRWA

NECRWA

First, let me admit that I don’t do a whole lot of conferences. I’m a regular at the Sisters in Crime (SinC) conference in November and the New England chapter of Romance Writers of America (NECRWA) conference in May. Both are in… Continue reading