Category Archives: fiction

Are Good Intentions Enough?

If you aspire to be a writer, you will need to learn correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word usage. There, I said it. A surprising number of people consider this proposition outrageous. “You can hire an editor!” they shout. (On … Continue reading

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Happily Ever After

Truth-telling time: I’m kind of burnt out on fiction. Both reading it and writing it. The thrill is gone. As a reader, I’m too much a writer. When I read, I notice the holes in the plot, the atmospheric digressions … Continue reading

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Intensity

Conflict: It’s what makes a plot a plot, right? Well, maybe. Just about every how-to-write book ever penned will drill you on the importance of conflict. And indeed, what you’re told is not wrong. But today I want to look … Continue reading

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One Size Fits All

Okay, I’m peeved. The indie publisher to whom I submitted my novel took only two days to reject it — and the reason they gave is that my word count is 110,000, and they have a 100,000-word maximum. This absurd. … Continue reading

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Who Do You Trust?

Between the empyrean heights of traditional (corporate) publishing and the fetid swamp of self-publishing lies the broad swath of prickly undergrowth where lurk the monsters of the indie press. I’ve been looking at a few indie websites this week, and … Continue reading

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Glorp

The whodunit I’m developing has a couple of elements that tag it as part of the cozy sub-genre within the mystery genre — a small, picturesque New England town and an amateur sleuth. It has, however, a narrator who is … Continue reading

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Who’s on First?

The mystery novel I’m working on has certain cozyish elements, so I picked up a Kindle copy of Nancy Cohen’s Writing the Cozy Mystery. One of the things I like about this book is that it’s not a how-to-write book. … Continue reading

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Erle Stanley Gardner is my favorite bad writer. He’s most famous for his Perry Mason mysteries, which were made into a successful TV series. Gardner’s characters are cardboard and his plots are often riddled with absurdities. His prose never rises … Continue reading

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Ideas

There’s an old anecdote, dating back probably to the 1940s, about a fan asking a science fiction writer, “Where do you get your ideas?” The writer replies, “Well, see, there’s this post office box in Schenectady, New York. You send … Continue reading

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The Shorts

Finished a major project. (It’s finished, trust me. No more revisions, not unless a publisher who is paying me requests them.) Wondering what I might want to write next. Lots of ideas, of course; ideas are cheap and plentiful. But … Continue reading

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