RSSCategory: How To and Tips

Don’t Kill Your Darlings, Set Them Free

Don’t Kill Your Darlings, Set Them Free

For writers, often the most frightening advice we receive is to “kill our darlings”¾to cut loose those Hope diamonds that, while gorgeous, are sinking the boat we’re trying to steer to shore¾the beautiful opening sentence that doesn’t tie in whatsoever with the opening paragraph (or the rest of the story), the intense supporting character who […]

August 26, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More
How To Use Pinterest As A Writing Tool

How To Use Pinterest As A Writing Tool

At first blush, it may seem a little odd to consider a pictorial social media site like Pinterest a valid writing tool. After all, most users pin things like home decorating ideas, crafts, recipes, and vacation wish lists. But as an author, I also find it to be an invaluable research tool for characters, setting, […]

August 24, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More
Look Away. You Don’t Want to See This.

Look Away. You Don’t Want to See This.

He narrowed his eyes…with downcast eyes…her eyes darted to the window…she found him with her eyes…her eyes glistened with unshed tears…he blinked in surprise…she stared in amazement…he focused on the ground. Do you see the theme? These phrases are only a handful of the many I found in the rough draft of my work in […]

August 21, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More
5 Crime Fiction Blunders To Avoid

5 Crime Fiction Blunders To Avoid

In addition to being an author, I am a big crime fiction, psychological thriller and mystery fan. Though I have always read this genre, I’ve spent the last year absolutely immersing myself in it, reading and reviewing everything I can. In addition, I’ve been discussing the genre with lots of other fans as part of […]

August 12, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More
Historical fiction – Modern Themes

Historical fiction – Modern Themes

I like to think of my books as offering intelligent escapism. While I write about past times I try to do so in a way that people today can identify with – posing the kinds of dilemmas and problems, challenges and triumphs that are relevant today – even though the way we respond to them […]

August 10, 2016 | By | Reply More
The Baker’s Dozen—13 Lessons I Learned in the Kitchen that Made Me a Better Writer

The Baker’s Dozen—13 Lessons I Learned in the Kitchen that Made Me a Better Writer

I have been writing fiction for about seven years, but I have been baking twenty-three years, and almost everything I needed to know about writing I learned in the kitchen. Mise en Place— This is a French cooking term that means to put everything in its place. It’s the practice of measuring out all of […]

August 9, 2016 | By | 3 Replies More
Learning as I Go

Learning as I Go

I can’t begin any discussion of what I’ve learned about writing while writing without a disclaimer: I’ve learned things that work for me. Aside from a few college-level writing courses, the books I’ve read on writing, and what I’ve picked up from other authors at workshops and conventions, I am completely self-taught. And I’m constantly […]

August 6, 2016 | By | 2 Replies More
Write the Story You Know

Write the Story You Know

Write what you know. That’s what everyone says. But if you aren’t confident you know anything, writing what you know can seem inadequate. I spent far too many years trying to write about things I thought I should know. My real success as a writer didn’t begin until I finally started writing about the heart-wrenching, […]

August 3, 2016 | By | Reply More
Dialogue and Subtext: The Spoken and the Unspoken

Dialogue and Subtext: The Spoken and the Unspoken

Subtext is a key element in transforming blah serviceable dialogue into dazzling dialogue. Why? Because great, genuine sounding dialogue happens at two levels: what is spoken and what is unspoken. What is said and what is meant. Children, drunks, iconoclasts, and people with impaired social skills tend to say exactly what they mean all the […]

August 2, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More
This Much I Know Is True (About Writing Fiction. And Me.)

This Much I Know Is True (About Writing Fiction. And Me.)

I didn’t always know these things. I discovered them like fossils. Some are elements of craft: I now know that every protagonist needs a secret that will eventually be discovered or confessed. That secret should evoke deep feelings in her, such as shame, guilt, and the like. Some are about publishing: I now know what […]

July 30, 2016 | By | 15 Replies More