ThrillerFest 14 Part Two– A Neophyte’s Do’s and Don’ts

I went to ThrillerFest this past July and posted about my experience last month. As I said then, it was the first conference I’ve attended and, predictably, I racked up plenty of boo-boos. There were some good things as well so I’ve distilled both ends of the experience into a short list of takeaways that, hopefully, will help other neophyte conference attendees.

#1       Know your purpose and goal in attending the event. I knew that my purpose was to assess whether I wanted to engage an agent for my second book, having self-published the first. I wanted to see… Continue reading

UnBlock Us!

I’ve done some thinking recently about writer’s block, the self-inflicted wound that almost all wordsmiths endure at least once in our careers. So much has been written about the subject that it almost seems presumptuous to add anything more. Indeed a Writer’s Block cottage industry has sprung up, complete with books, audio tapes, even counselors who specialize in the phenomenon. Nonetheless, I’ll throw in a few more paragraphs in the hopes that they might be of help to anyone battling the wretched affliction. For, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that there can never be too… Continue reading

Let Them Speak!

I must have at least thirty books on writing, some about mysteries, some about romance, some about horror, but most are on the art of writing. My latest acquisition is called Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror edited by Laurie Lamson.  It‘s one of a series of Now Write anthologies filled with pages of excellent writing tips from successful writers and writing teachers. One of the things I love about it is the length of each author’s contribution, only a few pages including an easy exercise at the end. My attention span for How-To books tanks after about ten… 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

Contests – Love ‘em or Ignore them?

Ever entered a writing contest? I entered a number of them when I was younger but only one since I’ve gotten back into writing. That contest entry was an afterthought for a conference I was attending. I wasn’t successful.

Now when I receive contest announcements, I normally ignore them. Lots of rationalizations but mostly I don’t have time or think I’s worth my time. In August, I attended the Virginia Writer’s Club, Inc.’s Navigating Your Writing Life conference. In the afternoon, one session stood out about Contests and Getting Your Work Out. Based on the panel discussion, I’m again… Continue reading