Wednesday, June 30, 2010

5 Ways to Promote Your Book Using Social Media--by Louise Baker

Social media can be used to promote just about anything, from a fashion show to a big sale at a large department store. For those who don't know what social media is, the term refers to any web-based technology that promotes interaction between users. Two of the most popular social media sites are Facebook and Twitter, but there are hundreds of social media sites out there. Here are five ways to use social media to promote your book. 1) Facebook Events Use the events feature on Facebook to let your friends know when you will be doing book signings, readings or other events. You can set the event up on Facebook and invite all of your Facebook friends. 2) Have a Giveaway One good way to generate publicity for just about anything is to have a giveaway using social media. The giveaway starts with a post on your blog. Write up a description of the item you are giving away, along with the rules for entering. An autographed copy of your book would make a nice giveaway item. In the rules, give people multiple ways to enter. For example, you could state that they get one entry for commenting on your blog with the reason they want to win, one entry for tweeting about your giveaway on Twitter and one entry for posting the giveaway on Facebook and becoming your friend. For entries submitted on other sites, you should require the person to post a comment on your blog saying that they tweeted, or whatever the requirement was. That way, you don't have to go searching on Twitter to find out who entered. All of the entries will be right on your blog. 3) Give Sneak Peaks Leaking a free chapter or two to your Facebook friends in downloadable form can really get them interested in reading the rest of your book. Before you try this, make sure it is all right with your publisher. Make sure to give your readers enough to get them hooked on your book (say, two to three chapters) but not so much that they feel like they no longer need to purchase the book itself. It is best to time this promotion with the release of the book so that your fans will be able to buy it right away if they like it. 4) Trivia Contest After your book is released, why not have a Twitter trivia contest? You could tweet questions about your new book and offer promotional items such as bookmarks or book bags as prizes to the first person who tweets back with the correct answer. 5) Social Bookmarking Use social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Stumbleupon to bookmark new posts on your blog. Be careful with this, though. Some of these sites don't like it if you bookmark every single post. However, whenever you write a post that is particularly useful or insightful, don't hesitate to toot your own horn by linking to it on these sites. These are just a few of the many ways you can use social bookmarking to promote your book online. Keep on the lookout for other sites that offer the chance for authors to interact with readers and try to think of ways you can use them to increase awareness of your book and find new fans.
Louise Baker writes for the Zen College Life directory of online schools. She most recently ranked the best online colleges. ************************************************ Thanks, Louise! Hope y'all will check in tomorrow when Deborah Sharp guest blogs for me. :) My July 6th release is right around the corner. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some Thoughts on Public Speaking

Salle  Pleyel--1928--by Andre Devambez Because I have events in the next couple of months that will involve speaking, I decided to pull up my tips from a year ago and review them. (I haven't done any public speaking for a couple of months and I get rusty quickly.) In case anyone else is in the same boat, I'm running the post again here:

Five years ago, public speaking was a dreaded, but necessary, horror for me. You’d have had to shoot me with a tranquilizer dart and prop me up at the lectern to prevent me from looking like I was about to pop out of my skin. If you’d looked up the phrase ‘nervous wreck,’ it would’ve pictured me for illustration.

Nowadays I’m speaking in public so often that the biggest danger is that I look bored. Frequently, I am bored! If you’ve been listening to someone repeatedly give the same spiel, as I’ve listened to myself, then boredom does set in.

A while back, Helen Ginger did a great series on public speaking at the Blood Red Pencil blog with a lot of wonderful tips.

I have a few tips of my own, learned the hard way.

Bring water. Sometimes the venue organizer will provide it, but more often they’re so busy that they don’t think about it. I’ve had coughing fits before and just had to get up and leave. (I’m sure SWINE FLU!) was going through everyone’s mind.

Bring money. If you’re speaking in a library or to an organization (and are selling books), bring lots of ones and fives. I’ve forgotten to bring money to several of mine and when the people asked if I had change, I said, “No. But what do you have?” Bartering at its finest.

Arrive early. I don’t like surprises and events are very different from each other: with microphones, without mikes, standing, sitting, sharing your time with other writers…it’s just good to know what’s expected of you before your talk starts.

Arriving early also puts me more at ease. If I meet people as they arrive to listen to me, I feel a lot more comfortable talking to them later.

Watch eyes and faces. They’ll let you know if you’re getting too boring. If I signs of sleepiness, I’ll change my talk’s course.

Too short is better than too long. Notice when you’re starting to ramble. This can be a symptom of being too comfortable with public speaking, but there’s also a nervous rambling that happens with newbie public speakers…I did it whenever I lost my train of thought or forgot what the original question was. Now I just wrap up my segment quickly when I feel blah blah blahs coming on.

Have fun. Be funny. Those in attendance are so appreciative if we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

How about everyone else? Any good tips to share?

My July 6th release is right around the corner. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Little Mistakes—How Much Do They Matter?

blog90 Maybe it’s because it’s Walmart, but I get annoyed every time I’m at the checkout because the sign says 12 items or less. It should be 12 items or fewer.

This, of course, makes no difference at all. The point is the same—if you have 13 or more items, don’t stand in that line. (Although people do. That annoys me too, but that’s a whole other issue.)

And when I took my dog to the vet the other day, I drove on a road that claimed it was a boulevard. A boulevard, by definition, is a wide street or thoroughfare. But it wasn’t wide at all—it was a winding two lane country road that was acting pretentious.

I’m the first to admit that this blog is rife with errors and typos because I’m bolting through my posts. But I take a lot more care with my manuscripts—they’ll be as error-free as I can make them before I submit them to my agent or editor. Although I know they’ll still have errors (with any luck, just minor ones)— the errors will bug me to death, even if no one else notices they’re there.

But Jane Friedman, editor of Writer’s Digest, wrote a post recently that surprised me. She states:

But if I have a pet peeve with writers (both beginning and published), it's their unrelenting obsession & unforgiving attitude toward errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.


She goes on to say that “perfect grammar has nothing to do with great writing.” Ms. Friedman calls it a “surface level” problem that sucks up energy better spent toward content and craft.

This post makes me wonder if I’m just off-base with my nit-pickiness. It’s probably just English majoritis on my part.

How thorough are you with your editing? Do grammatical errors and typos trip you up as a reader, or are you able to overlook them?

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Terry3Here are writing links that I’ve posted to Twitter for the past week. If you’re looking for a particular topic, just plug in your keyword into the search box at the top left-hand corner of the blog (on the black header right above my blog name…next to the Blogger symbol…the small search window is next to the magnifying glass) and the roundup with your subject will come up. To narrow your search down on the page, do a CTRL+F, type your subject, and hit enter.

Purposeful Daydreaming:

The dirty writing rule happy authors swear by:

Writing New Worlds to Life:

Follow the yellow brick rules:

Writers--how to toughen up: @JodyHedlund

The Hero’s Journey Part 10 – The Road Back: @JustusRStone

7 Interview Tips That Help You Get the Killer Quotes and Color Your Story Needs: @WritersKitchen

When Your Writing Bores You (Writer's Digest):

When is doing a single-book contract ideal and when is a multi-book contract best?

Resort to trickery to force yourself to write:

Big publishers have reason to be happy about how the book market is evolving:

Significantly Speed Up Your WordPress Blog in 9 Easy Steps--

How to throw out your 65,000 word WIP – And Use The BEST BITS To Build a Better One: @DeeScribe

Inherent Contradictions in Character:

Revision Indecision:

Dude, you write books? The 3 classic reactions:

Ethics of Review Copies :

8 Oddball Writing Tips: @yaHighway

Top 5 Twitter transgressions for writers: @yaHighway

7 Things to Do on a Plane (the writer edition): @nomadshan

20 Warning Signs That Your Blog Content Sucks:

4 Things that Big Bloggers tell You that You Shouldn’t Ignore: @LiteraryNobody

How one writer successfully faces her writing demons: @elspethwrites @margotkinberg

5 ways to tell your WIP is progressing (LOL): @Amanda_Hannah

Scene transitions--don't follow your characters around when they're being boring: @authorterryo

Authors and the media--tips for interviews: @

Building Your Book/Author Website: @QueryTracker

How to Write Drunk: A Revising Technique: @paulocampos

Best fantasy books for children (Salon):

How one writer uses crits in her editing process:

Urgency vs action in your writing: @TeresaFrohock

10 Errors that Drive One Agent Crazy:

Why I Don't Care About Grammar (and Why You Should Stop Worrying)--Writer's Digest:

12 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events (Huff Post):

Things to keep in mind when writing for children:

Does your mood affect your writing? @ territiffany1

How well do you know your characters?

The importance of taking editorial advice:

Are Agents Underpaid?

What to remember if you have the unagented blues: @ authorsampark

Summer Mystery Conferences & Conventions-- @JanetRudolph

Put your reader to sleep:

What 81% of agents expect on the 1st page:

Don't just be a 'good' book marketer--be a great one:

The Rise and Fall of the Mass Market Paperback. Part 1: & part 2: @ereads

Quotations: Writers on Religion:

For fantasy writers: Dwarves and Gnomes:

List of Gender-Neutral Names for Writers Looking for Pen Names:

Food writing moves from kitchen to bookshelf (Guardian):

Daily Writing Goals: Why Are They So (Bleeping) Difficult?

Are video games the next great art form? (Salon):

How to write the breakout novel: Part 5 - A Vivid Setting:

How to Clean Up Your Formatting in a Query:

Multiple POVs:

Tips for handling transitions: @authorterryo

Ready to query? @calistataylor

Different paths, same destination: @elspethwrites

Problems with writing in first person: @ClarissaDraper

Newton’s first law of writing:

How to Network Effectively--

Setting as tone reinforcement--

Getting rid of the boring stuff in our writing:

Hooking the reader: how Rowling and others pulled it off-- @LisasWords

Technology and Books--

Ethics and Professionalism and Blogging--

8 Ways To Bring Your Creative Passions to Work--

12 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts more Credible--

How to Keep Inspired When Blogging Gets Tough:

Confused about irony? The Oatmeal explains the 3 most common uses: @Oatmeal

Making Sure Our Novels Are Worth Reading--

Alphabet soup--how one writer was bounced from editor to editor (New Yorker):

The Google Wave:

5 ways to create sympathetic characters: @p2p_editor

What makes a book review worth reading? @ bibliophilicboo

Single Or Double Space-- @BubbleCow

Ten of the best good doctors in literature (Guardian):

Writing Jobs: 3 Reasons You're Not Getting Hired as a Freelancer:

Tips for writing realistic sex scenes:

Jarring elements to avoid in your manuscript:

7 Things That Can Go Wrong & Generally Do: @VictoriaMixon

Finding the Story in the Story (the triggering event):

Playing With Your Blocks (build a lasting monument) --

Some insights on the picture book illustrating process:

Context and Subtext:

The Value of an Unpublished Blog Post--

The 3 main reasons why published authors are struggling right now:

6 Common Publishing and Marketing Mistakes:

The central action of a story:

Freelance Writers: Be Careful Out There: @carsonbrackney

The Secret to Getting Published--

Video Games Are Art and Genre Fiction Is Literature--

The Inciting Incident of Our Story:

From One Young Writer to Another: Being Your Own Editor:

Kill Your Darlings . . .

Four Steps to Finding Your Ideal Writing Voice:

7 pieces of wisdom from Socrates:

What to do when a foul person achieves great success:

Your Excuses About Writing Are Vitally Important! (Writer's Digest):

How To Handle a Bad Review--

Marxism as Science Fiction:

The plan and central action of your plot:

Is quirky a good thing?

Top 10 books written for teenagers (Guardian):

Submission Purgatory--

Don't tell friends they *should* read something:

Writing Sex and Sensuality--

The Tangled Web We Weave (Experimenting with New Territories in a Book):

Too Cliché or Not Too Cliché? - That is the Question--

The Emotional Side of Setting-- @CPatrickSchulze

Context is Everything--

Writing a synopsis can rock your novel: @dirtywhitecandy

Interfering characters:

Subtle word changes can make a big difference to your manuscript:

Walking the tightrope between translation and interpretation (Guardian):

Balancing family and writing--

Queering SFF: Writing Sex—To Do, or Not to Do?--

All you ever wanted to know about critique groups:

Blogs writers can't live without: @AngelaAckerman

Plot Tip: Showing character emotion--not telling:

ElizabethSCraig's Twitterific: and a post on how to open multiple links in Firefox: @ClarissaDraper

Cryptomythology: Imaginary Myths for a Modern Life--

A 3-Step Recovery Plan for Over-Writing--

What does Fantasy teach us? --

Working as an Author and Illustrator Team Before Submission--

Why Writers Need to Emerge From the Cocoon--

20 Questions to Ask When You're Struggling-- @PauloCamposInk

8 Habits of Highly Excellent Bloggers--

Being Too Close to a Manuscript--

Staying within your world--and keeping it believable: @annastanisz

An agent says that writers should enjoy their pre-published time more:

Public Speaking Basics For Authors--

A Better Way to Interview Characters-- @CPatrickSchulze

Healthy Writers Are Happy Writers! 5 Fitness Tips for Writers--

Literary life today--including the new world of promo for authors (Telegraph):

One Writer's Top 10 Poetry Picks :

When to sell your writing. When to pawn it. @catewoods

“Can I have your book?” When authors are asked for free copies of their books: and

Memorable Characters--

Interested in freelance writing? Here's what you need to know, first:

My July 6th release is less than 2 weeks away. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

You've Decided to Try for Publication. Now What?

Voyage to Infinity 1899--Emile-Friant-1863-1932 From time to time, I’m going to run a post on the basics of looking for a publisher or agent. I frequently get emails from folks who are looking for very general, basic information—and sometimes they’ve just discovered the online writing community.

The biggest moment in my writing career came with the realization that I wanted to be published by a traditional publisher. Oddly, the big moment wasn't when I was accepted by a traditional publisher or when I found an agent to represent me--but when I decided that was the course I wanted to take. Here are some tips to help with your journey to publication:

Read other books in your genre before you write. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t too far out of line with my efforts.

I’d also recommend turning to the community of blogging writers online. They’ll offer encouragement, support, industry information, and technical advice. There are many blogging writers that I link to in my sidebar that will give you a great starting point.

Get other people you trust to read your book. First readers who give truthful feedback in an encouraging way are incredibly helpful. If you don’t have any family members or friends that fit the bill, you can try online critique groups—you’ll read their work within a certain time frame and they’ll read yours. It may take some tweaking to find the right group. If you Google “online critique groups” you’ll get plenty of hits. I’d stick with a group that writes your genre.

Okay, so your manuscript is in pretty good shape. This means you’ve revised it many times. Others have read it and offered suggestions. You’ve read many books in your genre. Your manuscript doesn’t have grammatical or spelling errors.

Now it’s time to branch out. What kind of publisher fits your needs? A small press? Or something larger? If you’re interested in submitting to a smaller publisher (and there are many out there), then you can frequently submit without an agent.

You can learn publisher guidelines online at publishers’ individual websites. You can also go to your library and check their reference section for a recent edition of Literary Marketplace (which you can also get an online subscription to) or Writers Market.

Found a publisher that interests you? Go to your library or bookstore and read some of their recent releases. How does your book stack up? Do you need some more revising?

Do you need an agent in order to submit to your publisher? Try the listing of agents at and AgentQuery.

Is the agent or publisher reputable? Check sites like Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors to make sure your choices are scrupulous. There are many folks out there who prey on writers.

Write your query for your publisher or agent submission. Check sites like Query Shark, The Rejector, Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent, and Pub Rants for advice on writing a sound query.

Write a clear synopsis of your book. It shouldn’t have teasers, but should concisely tell your story in a compelling way.

Submit your query or your cover letter and first fifty pages. Make sure you’ve addressed your letter to the right editor or agent and have spelled their name correctly. Your manuscript should be formatted to a standard template. Be careful not to use unusual fonts or colored paper or anything unprofessional.

Expect rejections. Hope for the best, but plan for setbacks. If you’re fortunate enough to receive some feedback with your rejections, consider revising your manuscript via their suggestions.

The important thing is not to let your research and work immobilize you—let your research strengthen your resolve to make your book the best it can be…and then submit it.

Good luck!

My July 6th release is less than 2 weeks away. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

How Our Backgrounds Influence Our Writing: by Rick Chesler

I’d like to welcome Rick Chesler to Mystery Writing is Murder. Rick holds a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and has had a life-long interest in the ocean and its creatures. When not at work as an environmental project manager, he can be found scuba diving or traveling to research his next thriller idea. He currently lives in Honolulu, Hawaii with his wife, a cat and some fish. His book, Wired Kingdom, was released May 2010.

Wired KingdomFirst of all, thanks to Elizabeth Spann Craig for having me as a guest on Mystery Writing is Murder! I thought I would write a bit about how our backgrounds can influence our writing. The old cliché says, “Write what you know,” but I can’t help but feel if everyone did that, literature as a whole would be shortchanged. The whole point of writing and reading is to imagine things you haven’t experienced before, to explore new worlds, concepts and personalities.

That said, it does help to be writing about something to which you have some sort of connection. Arthur Conan Doyle was not a professional detective himself, but his medical school training and work experiences enabled him to imagine in fantastic realism the intricate details of those famous fictional cases. Did you know that while in med school, Doyle took a position as a ship’s surgeon on a whaling vessel that sailed to Greenland?

As a marine biologist, I've never even seen a blue whale (although I’ve been in the water with other kinds of whales), much less tagged and swam with one, but in my new thriller/mystery WIRED KINGDOM I’ve managed to do just that. Having a foundation in marine science enables me to write with some semblance of authority, and to incorporate a few technical details that add realism to the story. It’s not exactly what I would call, 'write what you know' but more like 'write what you can convincingly get away with.' Real life can be a bit…well, mundane at times, right, so the point is perhaps to take the familiar and make it unfamiliar, to infuse our sense of normalcy with an element of excitement.

But exactly how this element is introduced is critical. The devil is in the details, as they say, and to be able to negotiate those details a writer needs some background and experiences to draw upon. Sure, research helps, but there’s a big difference between someone researching something they know nothing about for the first time and researching based on past experience and knowledge to clarify details.

With research based on past experience, anything becomes not only possible, but convincingly, even alarmingly so. A seemingly random killing in a small town that exposes the strange interrelationships of its residents, perhaps, or a whale tagged with a webcam that films a murder at sea. Anything that expands upon a writer’s background and experiences in such a way that it fills the story with convincing detail and vivid realism. For me, some of the background that would find its way into WIRED KINGDOM began with my personal experiences of scuba diving around the world. You can check out some of my diving videos here:

So, while there certainly doesn’t need to be a direct connection between the writer and the work, most of the time there will be some past history with at least one element of the story. We’ve all heard of M.D.’s writing medical thrillers and lawyers writing legal thrillers, but there are successful examples of these types of books written by non-professionals, too. The goal of the novel first and foremost is to entertain; everything else is a distant second.

I’d like to close by saying that I’m happy to answer any questions or to engage in further discussion in the comments section. Also, for those who’d like to find me or my book, here are my key links:

Author site WIRED KINGDOM book trailer Facebook fan page

Thanks again for having me!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Taking Suggestions

blog75 I’m definitely happy to take editorial suggestions from my agent or editor.

But sometimes I really need time to get adjusted to a new idea.

I handed in a partial manuscript to my agent on Monday and heard back from her Wednesday. She liked the sample, but suggested that the police play a bigger role in my story than the generic mentions I’d given them (I’m using an amateur sleuth in the book.)

I saw her point, but it boggled my brain a little bit. It’s always a tough balance for me in the first few chapters—I’ve got the sleuth, the victim, and 5-6 suspects (one of whom is the killer) to introduce. I try not to make things too complicated…and including the police after the victim is discovered means more named characters.

But whenever I’ve gotten an editorial suggestion and found a way to incorporate it, my story has improved.

I started looking at the sample. My sleuth’s sidekick was single. What if the police chief were her husband? I’d already established this character as a blabbermouth—if she were married to the policeman than she could provide my sleuth with really useful information that she couldn't get anywhere else.

Taking my agent’s suggestion gave my plot more possibilities.

I know with first readers and writing critique groups, you can sometimes get a mixed bag of suggestions—and sometimes the advice you receive is conflicting.

But I think it’s a good idea to always hear the suggestions out. It could lead to some major improvements in our stories.

Have you ever gotten a revision suggestion that ended up making a big difference to your story?

My July 6th release is less than 2 weeks away. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Getting Rid of the Boring Stuff

Robin with friend and Trixie, 1952 by Peter Samuelson (20thc.) I’m writing this post from the pool (again.) Yes, it’s either the pool, movies,or the skating rink when it’s this hot and my daughter is looking for something to do.

There are plenty of people here, joining me in escaping the heat. The conversations that I’ve overheard have been repetitive and boring (I really can’t help but eavesdrop. Really.) :)

“Jonathan! I said to get out of the pool, young man. It’s time for us to go. Where are your goggles? What?! You’ve lost another pair?”

People are also moving very slowwwwly in the heat. They’re really just milling around. I can’t say much because I’ve been here 3 1/2 hours, myself. But I’ll spare you the play by play of my afternoon here. It would drag on and on ad nauseum.

The conversations I’ve overheard definitely aren’t good examples of sparkling dialogue. And a play-by-play of a boring afternoon isn’t something to stick in a manuscript, either. We don’t have to spend every second with our protagonist. My afternoon, for instance, could be summed up by: “Elizabeth spent several hours at the pool, keeping an eye on her daughter and penciling revisions in the margins of her soggy manuscript.”

My slow-mo afternoon got me thinking about all the boring things we should spare our readers in our manuscripts. Yesterday was more about things that just jar us from a smooth reading experience…today I’m thinking about the boring stuff that just drags the story’s pace down to a crawl :

Backstory in one big dump. Too much setting description. Too much character description. Rambling scenes where the plot isn’t advanced in any way. Boring transitions between scenes instead of snappy summations. Dialogue patterned after real conversations. Can you think of other boring elements that we should try avoiding as writers? How do you revise for pace?

My July 6th release is just weeks away. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jarring Elements

Aristarkh Lentulov (1882 - 1943)--Moscow I’m starting to think that my children have an evil conspiracy to get me working out.

Yesterday, my eight year old daughter asked me to take her to the Y. They have a kids’ workout area with miniature treadmills, etc. It’s hot as the blazes here in North Carolina…we’ve had a heat wave for the past several weeks. Indoor exercise sounded like a decent plan, so I agreed.

“You’re not wearing that, are you?” she asked me.

I looked down at my twill shorts and black shirt and flip flops. “No, I guess not.” I reluctantly dug up some workout-looking clothing and a hair band to put my hair in a ponytail, and then grabbed my Ipod.

Now I looked a lot more like someone who was going to exercise. That definitely helped. But then I got on the treadmill and turned on my Ipod. At some point I’d loaded the device with classical music…I’m guessing so I could write to it at the library or coffeehouse if people got too noisy there.

Somehow, Clair de Lune wasn’t putting me in an exercising mood. Actually, I just turned off the Ipod.

I’ve read plenty of books like that, too—the author, for whatever reason, hadn’t struck the right mood for the scene he was writing. And it’s very jarring, as a reader. When I have an important scene in a manuscript that I feel doesn’t work, it’s usually because I’ve introduced a jarring element to something that should be smoothly written.

I’ve read scenes that were supposed to be scary that were filled with the protagonist’s internal monologue. It slowed the pace of the scene down to a crawl. I felt like, “Really? You’re analyzing this now? But your life is in danger!”

I’ve read fantasy where the characters had just arrived at an amazing setting—and the author skimped on sharing it. And the whole point was this cool location. I’m not a huge fan of description, but if I’m suddenly transported to a whole different world, I’m looking for it to be described.

I’ve read scenes that were intended to be funny that fell flat because the reader was basically told the scene was hilarious by the author (or other characters via dialogue) instead of letting us see the humor in it naturally.

I’ve read scenes that were supposed to be sad or touching that just didn’t seem genuine at all… it was overwritten or the character appeared melodramatic.

Just like the lovely Clair de Lune managed to strike the wrong note in my workout, there are other elements that can mess up an important scene—slow pace, fast pace, telling-not-showing, showing-not-telling (telling is usually better in a thrilling, suspenseful scene), etc.

What trips you up as a reader or a writer?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Interfering Characters

Maternite-Nicolas Tarkhoff On Saturday, I took my children to see The Karate Kid to escape the relentless heat we’ve been having in North Carolina.

I was 13 when the original movie came out, but this movie seemed different—and better—than my memory of the original. I think it was also a lot more intense…there were several scenes of Dre being bullied that made me wince.

The mother in the movie was an interesting character. She’d never have allowed her son to be bullied—if she’d known about it. The character clearly loved her child…but was busy with a new job, new country, new customs, etc. I thought the writers and director had a tough job—show the mother as loving and supportive, but ultimately keep her distant to allow her son to run into trouble.

It seemed to me that the screenwriter accomplished this by making the mother ineffective in a plausible way: She’d just moved to a foreign country. She was trying to learn the language, currency, and her new job. She was busy enough not to be perceptive.

I’ll admit I’m on top of my kids all the time—I know where they are, who they’re with, how long they’ll be there…and they’re not allowed to go wandering around the neighborhood by themselves.

Any movie based on my children would be extremely boring.

But this mother moved to China, where her son spoke not a word of the language, and let him roam around the neighborhood at all hours. Once there was a text on his phone from his mom that he needed to come home—that was pretty much it for supervision. She also let him spend entire days with a maintenance man who was a stranger to her…someone she knew nothing about.

If she hadn’t kept this distance from her child, if she’d demanded to know why Dre had a black eye when he clearly lied and said he’d run into a pole, the plot couldn’t have moved forward. He’d never have encountered the bully that made him take up kung fu. He’d never have learned martial arts from the strange man. The whole plot could never have taken place.

This kind of character is very prevalent in YA literature—as are dead parents. :) Parents are notorious for interfering. But then I started thinking about my own books. Both of my protagonists are widows. Why? Because they’re older ladies and I didn’t want their husbands being over-protective and interfering if they wanted to track down killers. My Myrtle Clover character has an interfering son, but since he’s not in the same house, he can’t shut her down as effectively—she can bypass him.

Some interfering characters are important—the antagonist, obviously, is there to provide conflict for our characters and propel the plot forward.

But characters who hold our protagonists back? I’m thinking most of us avoid writing them unless we’re writing a story where our character breaks away from these people (Harry Potter escaping his awful aunt and uncle comes to mind.)

How about you? Do you have a character that holds your character back? How do you handle it?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Terry3 Here are writing links that I’ve posted to Twitter for the past week. I'm setting this up as a Sunday installment on Mystery Writing is Murder. If you’re looking for a particular topic, just plug in your keyword into the search box at the top left-hand corner of the blog (on the black header right above my blog name…next to the Blogger symbol…the small search window is next to the magnifying glass) and the roundup with your subject will come up. To narrow your search down on the page, do a CTRL+F, type your subject, and hit enter. Daddy, who always reads my posts--thanks! And have a Happy Father's Day. :)

Challenge Yourself To Take On Your Biggest Writing Fear--

How Poeming Is Like Dating (Writer's Digest):

Balancing Writing, Life, and Multiple Projects--

The Writer’s Life: Getting in the Mood--

Writers: do your characters fight to win, but fight even harder NOT to lose? They should. @p2p_editor

What I learned from the query process-- @alexisgrant

Keep Your Middle From Sagging--

Don't let writing excuses pile up:

Steampunk Aeronautics:

YA girl's case of gender fender bender:

Conference roundup--tips from the NJ Annual Conf. SCBWI:

Directories of SF & Fantasy on Twitter: and

Find reporters who need your expertise and build buzz:

For the Zombie Fan: The Most Effective Zombie Survival Plan: Become One: @EosBooks

Man created absurd world in plot to sell stolen Shakespeare folio, court hears (Guardian):

What one writer has learned a year after publication:

5 Writing Super Powers I Would Like to Have-- @JulieeJohnsonn

Father's Day Mysteries-- @janetrudolph

A glimpse into an editor's (mad) world: @BookChickCity

The Sophistication and Stupidity of Video Game Storytelling:

How Do You Style a Character's Thoughts in Writing? (Writer's Digest):

Serendipitous Searches for Book Lovers (@GalleyCat) --

Creating 3D Characters: The Character Interview-- @gracefuldoe

You’re never too old to write: @flawritersconf

Writing Science Fiction vs Fantasy--

Thoughts on a common element in YA:

Write from your heart? Or follow trends?

Erasing Women from the English Language:

Beginning Novelist? The First Draft Is Your Oyster!

Tips for Workshopping Your Writing When You’re Too Poor To Pay For It-- @jesakalong

50 Power Twitter Tips--

Get Wild – How to Set Your Creative Beast Free--

Facing our fears: @JodyHedlund

Info dumps don't belong in dialogue (video):

Deep POV: Three mistakes and how to fix them, Part II:

Stretching ourselves--writing outside our comfort zone:

The Monstrous Feminine--

On making our writing perfect:

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen: @cleocoyle with a virgin mojito to cool off from a hot summer day: @kristadavis @AveryAames

Writing Your Book, part IX: You're Finished! Now Get to Work!

Knowing Your Process: Who: @wawriters

Can the Experts Be Wrong? Or, The Limits of Expertise--

Agents-- 7 ways to spice up your form rejection letter:

Do Readers Want to Read Your Work or Do You Wish They Did? @hopeclark

4 Reasons You Should Avoid Social Media--

Vary the ending clauses in your sentences:

The ominous rise of 2nd person:

A roadmap for the future: 6 suggestions for today’s publishers that many can’t follow:

7 things one author has learned so far (incl. "your book isn't yours anymore"): @alanorloff @ChuckSambuchino

Can I read the free ebooks if I don’t have an Ereader?

Clearing permissions in the digital age:

40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers:

10 Things About Submission Opportunities for Writer Trade Magazines:

Write what you love, not what the market wants:

What is an UN-Professional Writer?

Writing mentors:

Why one person is saying goodbye to Facebook: (Daily Beast):

Dealing with contradictory feedback:

Finishing Part 1 — The Fear is Real--

I'm interviewed on Beth Groundwater's blog today--talking a little about my writing process and challenges:

Why You Need Dynamic Characters--

Choose to Spend Time on High Impact Activities--

A Writer's Serenity Prayer (JA Konrath):

Online resources for writers: @ClarissaDraper

15 things that *aren't* true about being a writer:

Pros and cons on fictional vs. real settings and setting research tips: @SpunkOnAStick

How to Write Magical Words:

5 questions to ask if you aren’t motivated to write: @flawritersconf

Marketing--make them feel something:

My Backlogged Pages (NY Times):

Genre - Magical Realism--

Serendipitous Searches for Book Lovers @GalleyCat :

'100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know.' Well, Here's Six:

Favorite Tweets for Writers June 7-June 13, 2010 (categorized):

Literacy and the Audiobook--

50 query tricks. Are you brave enough to try no. 43?

Psychology of non-verbal dialogue:

David Bowie, Pleonasms, and Stating the Obvious-- @SimplyOlivia

Write Tight-- @SylviaDSmith

When Elevator Speeches Don’t Work for You--

Doing Comic Book Covers Well: 5 Tips--

How to Find More Hours in the Day--

What makes a backbone character?

13 Ways to Add Depth to Your Genre Novel-- @VictoriaMixon

The Five Basic Plot Elements--

A summer of great writing--tips for writing with kids:

Proper use of conjunctions: @crystalproofing

Change is key to powerful character arcs:

How to portray an inspiring leader: @p2p_editor

So you want to write a legal thriller:

What All Content Creators Need to Learn From Roger Ebert:

Manuscript mood swings:

Pros and Cons of an MFA: @kierstenwhite

Unenjoyable novels dominate literary prizes--

Find a vehicle for creative collaboration:

Meet @LornaBarrett 's Jeff Resnick today on Killer Characters: @kristadavis

If It Hurts, You're Doing Something Right: 3 Ideas About the Pain of Writing--

The Invisibility of Women in Science Fiction--

Chocolate and writing--why they belong together: @elspethwrites

How to make page buttons on Blogger:

One freelance writer longs for simpler days: @authorterryo

Twitter Book Publishers, Consultants, Agents, Editors, and PR peeps for Adult Fiction/Nonfiction: @jevonbolden

Flawed characters--how far can you go with them?

The Poetry Feminaissance --

A roundup of marketing tips from around the net:

20 Questions to Ask When Revising a Blog Post-- @PauloCamposInk

Writing as an Art —Words That Dance--

3 tips for cultivating an online brand: @JodyHedlund

4 life lessons from blogging:

Ten of the best bad doctors in literature (Guardian):

The Pavarotti Principle for Creating A-list Blogs--

On creating characters:

Writing a series? Why you should use a style sheet: @BookEndsJessica

Valuable Writing Tips from One Writer's Most Trusted Professors (Writer's Digest):

Tension, Character and Story--

Avoiding redundancy: @Paize_Fiddler

How to Build a Tribe of Followers--

How to cook up a cozy mystery:

The lazy reader (Globe and Mail):

What's that you say? Thoughts on dialect:

Writing tips from famous writers:

It's a Good Time to be a Writer … and a Gamer--

Writing contests ending this month:

Oh My Gosh! My Scene Is RUINED!

Struggling with feelings of failure: @JodyHedlund

What are client referrals? @nataliebahm

100 All-Time Best Historical Fiction Books-- @MargReads

Write your novel in an hour a day: @dirtywhitecandy

8 Tips For Creating Memorable Business Cards:

Common writing mistakes:

7 Signs of an A-List Blogger in the Making--

On Taking Advice--

Who said what? Identifying dialogue speakers (video):

3 Best Takeaways for Writers from BookExpo America (Huff Post):

Wordle update, how to get more information about word clouds:

When not to quit--a twisty fairytale: @emiliaplater

Tips to narrow down what you want from a crit group:

Will eBooks Make Midlist Authors Extinct? (Huff Post):

The Rural Fantasy Reading List--

Creating multi-layered characters--

Providing Better Critiques: Being Detailed in Your Feedback--

Do editors change their minds?

The Most Important Marketing Acronym: WIIFM (Writer's Digest):

A Memorable Blogger Is A Guest Under Many Roofs--

6 Things to Check Before Upgrading To Windows 7--

Basics of an Elevator Pitch---

Publishing Terms to Know: Lead Title:

Copyrighting Submissions and Agent Plagiarism--

Using SPA to help with revisions:

5 Incredibly Useful Gmail Features--

A whole new meaning to deadline:

Mystery writer @AveryAames ' cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette is on Killer Characters today: . Say cheese!

A day in the life of a writer:

Is there such a thing as blogging snobbery? @JodyHedlund

Exploring: Web Resources for Writers: @PStoltey

Outline your weakness as a writer:

An Agent Offers Basic Help with Contracts:

How to Come Up With an Author Tagline--

A Kiss Is Still a Kiss--

Writer's block and one trick to beat it:

Twenty Free Ways to Love Your Manuscript-- @thmafi

Don't Try to Be Someone Else--

Twitterific--the week in tweets from ElizabethSCraig:

Best Articles Writers Should Have Read (1st Half of 2010)--Writer's Digest:

What's for supper? Mystery writer Cricket McRae with some Baked Chile Rellenos: @kristadavis @CleoCoyle

Why One Writer is Enthralled With Blogging… @JulieeJohnsonn

Reading Blogs Might Make You a Better Person--

Who says you need a publisher? @jevonbolden

Read to be a better writer:

American Author Contest (or, Why Writers Should Use Craigslist With Caution)--

How to Get Help With Blog Problems, Blog Crashes, and Blog Blips--

Worried about being original? There are only 36 plots out there: @ClarissaDraper

What’s Considered a "Clip"? (Writer's Digest):

25 Ways to Make Social Media Work For You--

Your Online Persona – Writers, Stay Consistent: @simplywriting

Writing your pitch – pass me the bullets, please--

So, you want to write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy? @TheNewAuthor

12 Hands-on How-tos for Repurposing Blog Content into a Book--

Listen up: writing project asks authors to eavesdrop and tell (Guardian):

My July 6th release is just weeks away. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

So You Think You Are a Writer—by Angela Neal

blog4 If someone tells me that they are a writer, I don't tend to question it. Anyone who loves to write and does so recreationally is indeed a writer. "Being a writer" is about more than just putting words on a page... it's a way of seeing the world. However, there is a big difference between being a writer at heart and being a writer who can put money in the bank and food on the table from their writing.

As an editor of several blogs, I have to deal with a wide pool of writers on a regular basis and am often frustrated by inexperienced writers' complete misconceptions surrounding what it means to be a professional writer. Let me be clear about one key point: earning a living as a writer takes more than just good writing. If you are just embarking on your writing career, let me say that again; Earning a living takes more than just good writing. In fact, in the past I have chosen to work with writers whose work might not have been top notch, but their professionalism and understanding of an assignment was higher than that of other writers who struggled with the demands of creating web copy.

Here then, are some of the top issues that as a writer you will need to face before deciding if this is really a career for you.

Be prepared to pay your dues

If you are dreaming of writing articles for Cosmopolitan or the New York Times, or believe that you will only write about topics that inspire you, and envision earning $1 per word that's great. If you think that this will happen overnight you are in for a painful wake-up call. Most writers start out with writing jobs that are low paid and often painfully boring or repetitive and work their way up. The good news is that if you are willing to work hard you can build a strong portfolio and a stable of references that will earn you the better jobs, but it does take time, patience and perseverance.

You need to find your voice

This is a big problem among the bloggers that I get submissions from. Many can write a 500 word article, but only a few can write one that engages the reader, entertains, educates or holds their attention past the first paragraph. Make sure your work doesn't fall into the blah, blah, blah black hole!

Get into good research habits.

Being a fast and efficient researcher will allow you to take on a wider range of topics and complete work faster. I have a stock of reliable reference sites for getting general background information fast, and I create a folder of bookmarks for each topic I tackle. That way I have references if needed and can quickly access the information if I have to write an article on a similar topic in the future.

Manage your time

Finding a way to earn a good hourly wage when you are being paid per word or per project can be challenging, but this is part of being a professional writer. When considering a project take into consideration the time it will take you to do research, formatting, keyword research or any other additional tasks that will accompany the actual writing. I strongly recommend making a writing schedule that allows you to quickly view your commitments and organize your deadlines.

Understand that you are writing for a client, not for yourself! At the end of the day, the person who will judge your work is the person who is paying you. This is the major difference between writing for pleasure and writing for profit. You might not think that 300 words is enough to cover the topic of Facebook as a social phenomenon, but if that's the brief you accepted then that is exactly what you will need to write.

About the author:

Angela Neal is a freelance writer and online marketing consultant. She has written articles for national magazines and newspapers in the US, Spain and the UK and for hundreds of client websites and blogs, including NBC. She currently writes about writing for Writers Remorse You can also find her at her own blog

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stretching Ourselves

Alphonse Charles Masson--1814-1898--Portrait of Alfred Cadart--Etching, 1874 I’ve always thought that if we don’t stretch ourselves, we don’t grow.

But stretching doesn’t always feel good. And sometimes we end up pulling things.

My friend asked if I wanted to go with her to a Zumba exercise class at the YMCA. I was, I’ll admit it, completely horrified. “No, I think I’m good. But thanks.” We continued our conversation and she said again, “Sure you don’t want to go to Zumba with me?” “No thanks.” I changed the subject.

Finally, she brought it up again. “I really think you’d enjoy it, Elizabeth. Why don’t we give that class a try tomorrow?” “Please don’t make me!” I said. Zumba combines all the things I don’t like—large groups of people, socializing, loud music, and an attempt at coordination—into one activity.

But I felt bad about turning down the opportunity. So when my son asked if I’d work out with him at the Y on Thursday, I agreed to do it (it wasn’t a Zumba class.) I walked on the treadmill, but then I hesitantly tried the weight machines. As of right now? I’m sore. But I did receive extra energy from the experience. And I felt proud that I’d given it a go.

Stretching as a writer is good, too. I’m the first to admit that I don’t have a lot of time to try something new. But I do write articles for a local parenting magazine from time to time, just to write something different.

Ways to Stretch as a Writer: Try reading a different genre. Try writing a different genre. Experiment with short stories or drabbles. Try writing more description. Try writing less description. Write a character that’s completely different from any character you’ve written before. Try writing from a different POV than you usually use. Try writing humor. Or try writing seriously. Write a magazine article. Enter a contest (watch those entry fees, though.) Or continue writing your usual genre or style, but make it better—don’t be complacent.

What are you doing to stretch yourself? ********************* I got some author copies of Delicious and Suspicious yesterday! My July 6th release is just weeks away. Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It’s Thursday! Where’s Elizabeth?

Apparently on Thursdays I have a subconscious desire to take over everyone’s Google Readers with my posts. :) This is the second Thursday in a row that I’m writing for 4 different blogs (I’m counting this one.)

First up, I’m at Diane Wolfe’s excellent Spunk on a Stick blog, where I’m posting on writing settings—should you choose a real place or a fictitious one? If you choose an actual location, should you choose a town you live in? If not, how do you research your setting?

I’m also at fellow mystery writer Beth Groundwater’s blog for an interview. I’ve answered all Beth’s questions…see if you have any additional ones for me and I’ll be happy to respond in the comments.

It’s also my day at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen today. If you feel like some blueberry stuffed French toast (above), then pop on over!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Manuscript Mood Swings


One thing that I’ve noticed with my writing is that I swing back and forth in my opinion of the draft I’m working on.

What I aim for is to feel good about where I am with the draft. Maybe it’s still a mess, but I’ll tell myself I’ve come a long way with it. Or maybe it’s in pretty decent shape and I’ll try to look more critically at it (because if I’m feeling breezy about a manuscript, it worries me.)

Then there are the days where I swing from one extreme to the other with my feelings toward the manuscript.

This is when I enjoy posts like this one by author Libba Bray (one of my all-time favorite articles…because I so completely emphasize). It explains how writing a novel is like a love story. I share it with writing friends when I think the process has gotten to them.

And this post on the Writing Roads blog outlines the phases of a writer—from optimism to defeatism.

It’s a little bit of humor from writers who understand the process and help us realize we’re not alone.

My July 6th release is just weeks away! Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Girl with cigarette-- 1925--Agnes Goodsir 1864-1939 I think that, as a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about my protagonists’ strengths.

What are they good at? Where do they excel? How can I play to their strengths?

I’m sure that most writers do that. After all, our protagonist usually has to save the day. How else can our battle be won or our mystery solved, or our character’s love interest bewitched?

But most people have a major flaw: something that could bring us down if the wrong person knew about it.

Mine is my impatience. Since I’m frequently in a hurry, I’m more likely to make a mistake. Or get irritated when I’m stuck on hold waiting for customer service.

Character flaws can be really useful tools. Mostly because they create conflict for our character.

If our character has something that really, really bugs them? Then naturally we’re going to use it. Even a small thing could produce a little stress in a scene. So we can have our impatient character running a little late for something important—like a flight—then stick her in a long ATM line or in a traffic jam. We’ll make the reader just as anxious as the protagonist that they make it to the airport in time.

What if the flaw is something more than that? What if it’s in the category of fatal flaw or more of an Achilles’ heel? The kind of thing that falls in the Seven Deadly Sins category. So you could have a basically good protagonist, but their flaw is a pretty big one. This flaw could affect the way the character reacts to an event or how they approach a problem.

It gets a little sticky, because we don’t want our readers to lose respect for our protagonists. But what if we do have a protagonist who makes a (big) mistake—cheats on their wife or husband, becomes furious and says things that they shouldn’t have said that get them fired from a job or disowned or un-friended? What if their pride is their downfall? What if they’re so envious of a friend or a family member that they can’t have a normal relationship with them?

These types of flaws—lust, wrath, pride—can take our protagonists down and create conflict for our plot.

But how far can we go with it? (In my genre I can’t take it very far.) How bad can we make our characters before our readers aren’t cheering them on anymore?

How flawed is too flawed?

My July 6th release is just weeks away! Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy...and you might win a $25 bookstore gift card, a signed copy of "Delicious and Suspicious," and a "Delicious and Suspicious" tote bag. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cozy Mysteries

Small sized DELICIOUS  SUSPICIOUS cover I was a huge fan of cozy mysteries long before I ever sat down to write one. What exactly are cozy mysteries and how does one go about writing one? Please pop over to DJs Krimiblog today, where I’m visiting my Danish friend, Dorte and posting “How to Cook Up a Cozy.”

Plus—my July 6th release is just weeks away! Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010



Here are writing links that I’ve posted to Twitter for the past week. I'm setting this up as a Sunday installment on Mystery Writing is Murder. If you’re looking for a particular topic, just plug in your keyword into the search box at the top left-hand corner of the blog and the roundup with your subject will come up. To narrow your search down on the page, do a CTRL+F, type your subject, and hit enter.

Writers Conferences: The Spell Called Networking--

Thinking Small without Guilt: Setting Your Minimum Goal Standards--

Why you shouldn't send an agent a bound book w/ an ISBN as a submission:

Enough with the Eyebrows: Showing Emotion--

Best articles this week for writers @4KidLit:

Social Media and Your (Lack of) Privacy--

Are You Too Lazy to Write Less?

Questions that authors are never asked (Guardian):

Coping with rejection:

Privileging the Pretty--

How to Go to Bed With the Thought, “That Was an Awesome Day.”

5 fun ways to improve your writing:

Writers and Twitter: Yes, it’s a Good Thing!

Finding the Story in the Story--

Book promo tips for skittish sellers: @BookMarketer

The Importance of Hating Your Book--

Writing Tutorial: The Synopsis.

Mystery writer Kate Collins' Abby at Killer Characters: @kristadavis @LorraineBartlet

How Travel Renews Your Writing Life (Writer's Digest):

Know When to Stop Editing--

Why genre is a writer's best friend: @CleoCoyle

Whose Fault is it When the Manuscript Fails to Sell?

What's for supper? Mystery writer Liz Lipperman's Potato Chip Chicken Casserole: @CleoCoyle @kristadavis

Trying to plot? Consider story frames: @mkinberg

Your Agent’s Editorial Ideas--

Outlining with Index Cards-- @annastanisz

Steampunk mass communications: @mattdelman

9 Ways To Improve Your Writing--

10 Things to Help with Developing Characterizations--

5 Great Summer Literary Festivals (Daily Beast)--

16 tips to write great thrillers:

Focus on one blog or juggle several blogs?

A Balanced Writing Life--

Book Marketing--Don't go it alone:

Creativity As A Dirty Word-- @stephanellaw

Is it Who You Know in Publishing?

Decisions, decisions (LOL): @elspethwrites

Twitter Fiction. Really!

Reassessing Your Trajectory--

The Unbridled Passion of Young Adult Readers:

What is Fanfiction?

Real Life Diagnostics: Show vs. Tell, Part Two--

Learning how to use social media effectively: @JodyHedlund

Rethinking the Ebook Revolution: @S0BeUrself

Mistaken reports of midlist's demise?

Important Elements of a Solid Creative Writing Program--

Superhero types and how to distinguish yours (Part 2)--

How to Read A Book--

Why You Need to Know Why You Write-- @wawriters

Be brief and specific in our writing:

Nice collection of self-editing links : @jaysubject

The best interview is the self-interview:

Maximize your story's inciting event: @KMWeiland

Showing, not telling-- @flawritersconf

Summer book fairs and festivals for writers:

One Blogger's Favorite Tweets for Writers May 31-June 6, 2010: @simplywriting

The greatest SF universes that include both magic and science fiction--

Writing obstacles and 9 tips for overcoming them:

Writing lessons from a rock concert:

What's for supper? Easy, cheesy broccoli cornbread from the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen: @CleoCoyle @kristadavis @AveryAames

How one writer conducts research:

Who really reads your manuscript?

Sharing stories: @TheNewAuthor

For zombie-loving writers: 5 real diseases that could make you act just like a zombie:

Meet Lulu Taylor of "Delicious and Suspicious." Today, on Killer Characters:

The Two Types Of Twitter Stars--

One writer resents editing other people’s work--

You promised to write your story today:

Writers' Groups: the Nuts and Bolts-- @CPatrickSchulze

Tools for Writers-- @EmilyCaseysMuse

The 3 things that make for lasting motivation for a writer:

Better listening leads to better writing--

Motif in Query Letters--

The Power of the First Sentence--

Creative ways to add dialogue to one-character scenes:

Finding a Writing Mentor-- @flawritersconf

The scene conflict worksheet--developing tension in your novel (excellent): @4KidLit

An agent advised to query on only 1 project at a time: @arcaedia

Unpublished Larsson stories found (Globe and Mail):

What Has Stephen King Done For You Lately? @PauloCamposInk

Ten of the best examples of rowing in literature-- (Guardian):

Writing Effective Description--

Agent Sharlene Martin is Teaching ''10 Secrets to a Winning Book Proposal'':

How can writers make an over-the- top event feel right, if surprising?

Cozy mystery character Skye Denison on today's Killer Characters:

Trying to write a synopsis? Consider the first sentence of paragraphs:

52 Therapeutic Writing Tips & Techniques--

12 things one writer has learned so far (incl. don't look to your cat for approval): @elspethwrites

Don't writers have the right to remain silent? (Guardian)

The cycle of blogging--how life is different at 10 followers vs. 1000 followers: @WritingAgain

Where Do Writers Write? (Huff Post):

Writing sexual tension in a romance: @authorterryo

The resource roundup-- tips for coming up with the right title: @bluemaven

Life is fast-paced. Should books be?

Tales from the Slush Pile--some problems an editor is seeing--

Dialogue--talking about talking:

Big books, small apartment (The Globe and Mail):

Authors Take Note: Yet Another "How Not to Get Published" Story:

Public Speaking: Another Newbie Tale--

Cut the Cord, Writers!--

Macavity Award Nominees 2010-- @JanetRudolph

6 Tips on Writing Picture Books (That May Just Warm Your Heart):

You just don't understand me! @p2p_editor

A voice journal as a writing tool: @paulgreci

5 Must-Read Short-Story Collections (Daily Beast):

5 Elements that Make Fantasy Fiction Feel Real :

6 Ways to Constantly Produce Quality Blog Content--

So frickin’ predictable: The creative process: @writingroads

An Agent on Choosing and Finding an Agent:

Writing Opportunity: New Magazines:

Sex and the single mother--writing a romance w/ a single mom as protagonist:

The writer's rejection dictionary: @4KidLit

How To Build A Strong On-line Following Even Before You Have A Book Deal--

Deadline to meet? Go clean that oven… @wawriters

How to create guest post guidelines for your blog:

Dear Writing Mojo--

Writing a mystery series (some tips):

Avoiding a character description dump:

5 tips for playing a smart publishing game: @JodyHedlund

The Nine Lives of Translated Literature--

6 keys to revising your fiction:

Get to a character's core with this RSC exercise:

Own Your Ambition--

Overcoming Doubt--

How to Make Twitter More Useful (apps)--

How to Craft Back Cover Copy that Sells Books--

How to Become a Speaker to Build Your Platform--

Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Wrote 'The Girl Who...' (NPR):

Under representation in SF:

How to Use YouTube to Position Yourself as an Author-Expert--

The problem with calling your manuscript "cutting edge":

What do you stand to lose if you are unsuccessful at achieving your writing goal?

Create Printed Marketing Materials to Promote Your Book--

An author's take on MFA programs:

Why everyone hates poetry:

Freelancer’s Survival Guide: Giving Up On Yourself Part One--

Whether by telephone or text message, communication is learned--

Writing unreliable narrators and unreliable impressions:

Looking at our old writing--some observations: @__Deb

How to Make Your Travels Part of Your Career Brand--

What’s behind the boom in dystopian fiction for young readers? (New Yorker)

Responding to comments--how important is it? @stephfaris

Your Blog is Not Your Job--

Will Literary Agents Really Read Your Query Letter? @Writeitsideways

11 Practical Ways To Stop Procrastination--

Some tips on synopsis writing:

A summing-up of an #askYAeditor chat: Great tips on the current market.

On dramatic irony in writing:

Reading Our Reviews:

What Makes You Put a Book Down?

Why you want an intern to read your proposal:

A recap of The Cimmerian Blog, Year Two: Aug. 2006 – Aug. 2007 (a blog of heroic fantasy, horror, and historical adv.):

10 ways authors can profit from instant screencasts for Twitter they create for free--

For a writer, no time is ever wasted--

Adverbs are much maligned:

5 Ways to have your Author Website Work for You--

Summer Survival Guide for Writer Moms--

Reflection Mode: Thinking About Life Inside an MFA Program--

Novelists--be careful before you spend time submitting to writing contests:

Networking for writers:

Avoiding Basic Writing Blunders--

Using Creative Commons to add media to your blog--

So, What’s Really Killing Fiction?

7 things one writer has learned so far:

Writing About Rape--

What I’m Learning from the Launch of My New eBook--

It all comes back to the story:

How to write good dialogue – it’s not simply about what people say-- @dirtywhitecandy

As Lit Fest nears, a query: What's the future of books? (Chicago Tribune):

20 young writers to watch (NY Times):

A nice review of my book by @Ghunibee: Thanks so much, Glynis!

What do editors do?

Killer Characters blog: where characters take over a blog. See what happens when the authors aren't looking.

Crafting Visual, Memorable Scenes-- @4KidLit

A rejection is just a rejection--don't parse it:

Text query letter to e-mail--formatting your query from Word to email:

A writing roundup: @PauloCamposInk

When You're Weary of Writing:

The art of weekend reading (Globe and Mail) :

Having trouble finding the right word? Some resources: @bluemaven

When Bad Writing Becomes Funny--

Top 10 Ways to Cyberslack:

Finding a writer's residency program:

On writing conventions--what can writers get out of them? :

Have you tried fast drafting to silence your inner editor?

Copyright Protection Service: Another One You Don't Need--

Top Ten Signs of a Writer--

Don’t Quit Your Day Job-What Debut YA Writers Really Make-- @Georgia_McBride

Writer's block? Or is it more of a writer's hesitation?

Conveying Character: A Few Suggestions--

An Agent Says Thick Skin is Part of the Job:

Great advice from the experts--

Will my grandma like my book?

Use foreshadowing to keep readers reading (video):

An explanation of some important financial phrases for writers:

Lessons from the Backspace Writers Conference:

An agent on developing the one-sentence summary:

What it's like to do agent revisions: @frankiediane

Have we homogenized writing? Are we better or worse off than we were when we writers labored in isolation?

Tales From the World Steam Expo--

What I Wish I'd Known :

Create Writing Flow Using The 10 Minutes of Gibberish Method:

6 Organization Tips for Disorganized Writers-- @Writeitsideways

An Author’s Plan for Social Media-- 21 tips:

5 observations on how genre novelists deal with setting:

How to Promote an Event--

Twitterific- ElizabethSCraig's tweets from the past week:

Twists on conversational endings--

4 Steps to Create a Simple Website--

5 ways writers can use the "fundamental attribution error":

Twitter 101: Hashtags Worth Checking Out--

The Secret to Success: Harness the Power of Focus and Concentration--

The Secret to Plot in Your Novel--

Things I'd love to see being posted online--

The Hero’s Journey Part 9 – Reward-- @JustusRStone

Cultivating the Mental Energy to Write-- @Wordstrumpet

Do You Really Gain Followers from Online Interviews?

Plot types:

10 Lies Agents & Editors Tell You. And Why.

Beware of those who recite poetry at parties--

The Art of War for Writers :

Manuscript CPR:

Messy friends and messy characters:

Book blurbing:

The E-Book Juggernaut--

What do I deserve as an author?

The Surefire Way to Save Yourself from Mediocrity (That You Already Know, But Don’t Do)

Newer vs. Established Agents--

Paris: What’s not to love? Two expat authors write a list...

Plus—my July 6th release is just weeks away! Click here for my book release contest. Entering is easy. :)