Not every great writer writes a great book. That’s a given. Even Agatha Christie had a couple of truly awful mysteries. (“Elephants Can Remember” stands out as boring, repetitive, definitely an un-Christie-like story.)
But still, it’s always a surprise to hit one of those disappointments, much more so when the disappointments are multiple. Three of the last four bestsellers I’ve read have fit into this category.
Every critique group I have been in has taught me something, not only about my writing, but about myself. Some critique groups I’ve been in have worked well, some worked okay, and some didn’t work at all.
My current critique group has been active for nearly a year, and it all started with my response to a request for a critique partner on one of the groups I belong to. It’s one of the most productive and interesting critique groups I’ve belonged to – thanks to my critique partners Lane and Carolyn
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.
A few highlights from the talk by author Jade Lee to think about:
Using the Elements – air, water, fire, metal and earth. Think about which
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.)
Once I started the Browne/King book, I literally couldn’t put it down. The advice is so well… Continue reading
Flash Fiction or Micro Fiction are terms used to describe a story that is very short, usually under 300 words, although some flash fiction can run up to 1000 words. According to Wikipedia, flash fiction in China is often called Smokelong due to the fact that the reader should be able to finish the story before he finishes smoking a cigarette.
As a writer, I’ve found that working with flash fiction has helped me with my longer work. Because of its brevity, I’m learning to write tight, telling a coherent and… Continue reading
When I think of my writing resources, the first thing that pops into my mind is the Internet. I’m constantly online looking for the information I need, from names for my characters to the latest in dart guns.
Today, I’m following a suggestion that I write about non-digital resources that make my writing life easier. Well, that stopped me. Not digital? What else is there?
I can hear the groaning ghosts of writers past. “Somehow, we managed, and quite successfully.”
Of course they did. As did I not too many years ago. As a matter of fact… Continue reading
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
Time always seems to gain speed after Thanksgiving and the end of the Year is rushing towards us, bringing with it the tradition of New Years Resolutions and all the baggage that carries.
I think the last time I subscribed to the notion that January 1st is when Major Changes Should Be Made was back in the early 90s. My change cycle and resolutions are linked instead to the major milestones in my life.
I’ve just reached one, completing my Masters degree this past week, and I’m eagerly looking ahead, contemplating what I’m going to do with all… Continue reading
In the process of writing my manuscript, one of my favorite tasks, the one I thought would be so boring, was doing the research. Depending on the story, research can be surprising, intimidating, unnerving, intriguing, funny, heartwarming, or scary. However, it’s always enlightening. And, an enlightened writer is an interesting writer.
The most unnerving research I’ve done was for a paranormal story about ghosts and possession. One of my Google trips led me to a book by Gerald Daniel Brittle, The Demonologist, the Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Friday nights at Barnes & Noble, you can find me at a table with a cup of coffee and three or four members of my writing group. We try to meet once a week. For me that weekly confab is extremely important–I get a new dose of enthusiasm for my writing and an honest appraisal of my latest work from dedicated authors.
However, I didn’t have the help of other knowledgeable and caring people when I finally decided to write in… Continue reading