Your Favorite First Line

You crack open a new book or click on the first page of an ebook. You’re greeted by that all-important first line. Does it make your heart sink or soar? As every author knows, that first sentence gives you the opportunity to hook your readers. Provided you’ve crafted the sentence the reader knows something is … Read more

Stumped, Crazy and Blue – Battling Writer’s Block

Thanks to Scott Biram for the title… As the poet, novelist and short story writer Charles Bukowski said, “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”. I know what he means. For the first time in years I am uncertain what to write. I’m stumped, stuck in the mud, and blue. … Read more

Love in a Politically Unstable Climate

Few of us live in total isolation. Most of us love somebody, whether it’s a mother, father, children, relatives, or even a pet. I think when you write female characters as I do, love is a natural part of the plot. Which is why, in every book I’ve written, there is some allusion or reference to … Read more

The All-Important All-Mighty First Sentence

When you pick up a book for the first time, and the first line grabs you by the—er– throat, you know you’re in for a great ride. As a reader there’s nothing quite as exciting as a line that makes the hairs on your neck rise, or makes you laugh unexpectedly, or intrigues you so … Read more

For Fiction Writers: How To Write Chapters

I’m excited to share with you a structure for both writing and editing a chapter of your novel. We’ve all been schooled in introductions, conclusions, and the overall flow of a novel. But what about individual chapters, which, after all, are the building blocks of your story? Is there a format? How do you know … Read more

50 Tips For Fiction Writers

Whew! It took over a year to do, but my 50 Free Tips for Fiction Writers is finally complete. You can find them over at Pinterest. They’re also scattered among my blog posts over the past year, but they’re all together in order  here. Here’s what they look like:             … Read more

Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #6: Authentic Characters

When I finished my first manuscript and sent it to an editor, she broke the news to me that my characters sucked. That they weren’t believable, they did things because I wanted them to, not because it was in their nature. I learned the hard way that I’m really not in charge of my characters … Read more

Writing Lite Tip 19: In genre fiction, 3 sentences of well-crafted description are enough

Writing Lite Tip 19: In genre fiction, 3 sentences of well-crafted description are enough.

If you’re writing mystery or thrillers, plot is usually as important, perhaps more so, than character development, setting, and narrative. I find three carefully crafted sentences are more than enough to describe something new, whether it’s a person, a place, or a mood. It’s the crafting that’s critical, though. More on that later.     … Read more