Guest Post: Faster Editing with Track Changes

Today we welcome Cyberdyke to Mostly Mystery for a guest post on Track Changes.  I use this in Word but didn’t realize that it was common in most programs so am thrilled to add this to my toolbox.

I recently gave an article of mine to a friend to proofread. I recommended that she use Track Changes, as it would make it faster to see her suggestions. She had no idea what I was referring to. Every writing/word processing program has a form of Track Changes which can help you do just that.

Track Changes are a way… Continue reading

Stuck? What Next?

I think we’ve all been there.  There’s a point in the novel where you get stuck. Computer-Guy-300px Nothing’s working or you just can’t see what’s next.  For plotters, this may be a place where you have the outline but whatever is supposed to come next doesn’t seem quite right.  For pantsers, it’s the same thing except we might not know what the next beat or plot point is.

What to do?  There are a lot of different ideas on this.  You can try to power through it.  I’ve never found that… Continue reading

Scrivener Tip – Synopses

The more I work with Scrivener, the more I realize just how fantastic this software is.

At the moment, I’m busy querying the first novel in my planned CACHE series – COLD, HARD CACHE.   About half the agents on my query list want a synopsis.  Most do not specify how long the synopsis should be, while the remainder request between one paragraph and three pages.

I’m a pantser and not a plotter, which means that I don’t have a blueprint I can use as a basis for my synopsis.

Once again, Scrivener to the rescue.

In… Continue reading

Scrivener Tip – Multiple Story Lines

I’m currently doing the final read through of my contemporary fantasy novel, Unholy Triptych, and it’s been difficult for a number of reasons:  Firstly I have three main characters; secondly each has their own story arcs that only merges near the end of the book; thirdly they have alternately chapters: and lastly I’m using their ‘voice’ to differentiate them instead of relying on, say, describing them every time I start their chapter, or using their name in the opening paragraph.

Scrivener to the rescue…

I’ve just discovered that I can compile the document and include (or exclude) certain… Continue reading

So Who’s Telling This Story Anyway? And other tips.

images[6]Point of View has always been important but seems to be a bit of a hot topic these days. It’s a powerful device and one of the first decisions a writer needs to make. Getting it right the first time saves a lot of time in re-writing.

John Gilstrap recently spoke at the meeting for my local writers’ group, Riverside Writers. John writes commercial thrillers and so it was with great interest that I listened to the tips he had for us. While this blog is mostly about mysteries, I found… Continue reading

On the Right Side of the Law

I’ve always liked stories about lawyers and the law,atticus “To Kill a Mockingbird,” starting me off in a big way in childhood. Being from the South, the book has always had a special resonance with me, and, really, who doesn’t love Atticus Finch — or Gregory Peck?

Now that I’m writing my own novels, I’ve learned to appreciate lawyerly books – and movies and TV —  even more, not just as pure entertainment but also as little instruction manuals on how to tell rich and satisfying tales, no matter the… Continue reading

Escape Your Writing Distractions

book by MargoLike many of my friends and compadres, I have a wish list. Right up there at the top is beloved, prize-winning novelist. Yes, beloved. I want my readers to love me. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen unless I publish a novel.

I do have a finished manuscript that is crying to be heard. All I have to do is tweak it–a lot. How hard could that be?

My writing day goes something like this. I pull up my manuscript and begin to read, trying to get… Continue reading

But and Therefore – A Tool For Your Storytelling Toolbox

How many of us have been telling a story, gotten through one part and said, “And then…”  I think we’ve all done it. I know I have.  And it works to keep the story moving.  In writing, it’s a bit different.  I attended a workshop this past weekend and while I learned a lot of things, the most important was to substitute “and then” or to know that if my scene ends and you would say “and then,” that it’s not working as well as it should be.

So what should we be saying?  The answer is “but” or… Continue reading

Writer’s Problem: Timelines

At a recent panel at a local writer’s meeting, one author talked about the challenges of writing a historical novel.   I didn’t think it applied to my current day novel but I found that there were a lot of the resources that could be helpful for me as well.

The first was creating a timeline, which I also do.  This provides the backbone of an historical novel.  However, in any novel, keeping up with what day something happened and how the time works is important.  For the historical novel, it also includes people who you might meet at particular… Continue reading

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