When my readers commented about how much they enjoyed my blogs, I decided to combine the best of my nonfiction—including all the posts I wrote about my journey to become a full-time novelist—into a book. I thought my readers would like to know more about me, and authors would find the writing, editing, and promotion advice helpful and inspiring. Read more →
Always striving to improve my writing, I make notes when readers complain about what they don’t like in a story. I reviewed my notes recently because I’m working on a rewrite of a new novel. Here’s a long list of dislikes from readers on a mystery listserv I participate in:
- portents, particularly the “had-I-but-known”
- cliffhangers at the end of the chapter or the book
- an abundance of coincidences Read more →
I edit a lot of fiction, and I see a pattern of common problems in manuscripts from novice writers. The most important involve the bond between story and character. If you want an agent or editor to get past the first page, here’s 10 things to keep in mind.
1. Make your main character want something. Read more →
The book Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation has caught my attention. It may have been written as an analysis of marketing techniques that build brands, but as a crime fiction author, I’m taking note. I want my novels to fascinate readers, so I’m keeping this list on hand as I craft my next story. Here are the seven triggers that draw people in:
- Lust: the anticipation of pleasure, which we crave Read more →
I’m still working through the rewrite on my forth novel and finding self-editing tips to share.
1. Get rid of the word that. In my last post, I wrote a sentence like this: If a guy in a driveway points at tires, readers will assume that you mean on the car. I went back and took out that. The sentence reads better without it. Sometimes the word will be needed for clarity but not often. Read more →
I’m fine-tuning the novel I just finished, and these are some of the edits I’m making. They can help you as you write or edit your own novel.
1. Get rid of unnecessary prepositional phrases. When you read back through your manuscript, watch for phrases like on the table, toward the door, near the wall. These phrases bog down your writing and often add little to a description. Readers can make a lot of assumptions. If two guys are standing in the driveway talking and one points at the tires, readers Read more →