Nanowrimo Writing Lite Video Tip #5: Character Backstories

There are many exercises and techniques with which you can experiment to develop your characters, but this is my favorite. I use it all the time with important characters, and once I get into it, I’m always surprised to learn who a character really is, what shaped them, what motivates them, and how they’re going … Read more

Nanowrimo Writing Lite Video Tip #2 — Beginnings

Welcome to WRITING LITE #2. I’m still talking about suspense, but this time I’m starting at the beginning. I talk about the power of that first line, how to approach it, and give you some of my all-time favorite examples. It is a little longer than I anticipated (at three and a half minutes) but … Read more

Is It OK To Mix Fictional And Non-fictional Characters?

Purists probably disagree. But I think it’s OK to bring a mix of fictional and ‘real’ characters into a story. TV has been doing it for a while with docu-dramas that blend real footage and eyewitness accounts with dramatized content played by actors. It has proven to be a popular format, and it works equally well for … Read more

Research: Falling Through The Wormhole

I’ve been trying to figure out why I love doing research—much more than writing, btw—and I finally think I have an answer. Research is a free-form activity, especially on the internet. I Google a topic, scan a few articles, and if something catches my fancy, I click on the link or do another Google search … Read more

Why Historicals?

Libby Hellmann Historical Novels

It’s all Miss Lear’s fault. Linda Lear was my history teacher when I was a senior in high school. I was in Advanced Placement US history at a small girl’s school in Washington DC, with maybe 15 girls in the class. I had already taken European history as a junior, and I enjoyed it a … Read more

The 5 Things I Love About Writing Crime Fiction

Every coin has two sides. Last week I talked about the things I hate most about writing fiction, so this week I’m flipping the coin to look at the aspects of authorship that give me a buzz. Research – Hunting for facts and context I love the constant learning, the thrill of the chase, the … Read more

The 5 Things I Hate About Writing Crime Fiction

Imagine a writer, okay – me — sitting with my feet up, happily tapping on my keyboard, writing 1500 words a day. Nice idea, right? But that’s all it is. An idea. The reality is I am usually sweating it out, getting up from the keyboard, cursing, and maybe—if it’s a good day— sitting back … Read more