This is awesome skimming. This isn’t what I’m talking about. For an author, reader skimming is a death knell. It immediately precedes putting the book down and not picking it back up. The reader may not even be able to tell you why they’re not engaged, just that they aren’t. You can write the perfect…

Read More

POV is like Algebra. You either get it or you don’t, and if you don’t, people can explain it ten different ways, and you just feel dumber with every one. Hey, I understand. I didn’t get it either, back when rocks were new. And what’s frustrating is, I’ve never found a way to explain it…

Read More

I consider myself a pretty fair writer. But I can face it–I’m never going to be as good with description as Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing), or Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides), or even Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath). If you are, you have my great respect. Have you ever opened a book, and the…

Read More

Backstory is important. It gives essential context to what’s happening in the story. So why does it have such a bad rep? Because writers are heavy-handed with it. It’s a garnish – not a main course. The majority of badly handled backstory I see is at the beginning of the book. A friend of mine,…

Read More

I believe it’s easiest to learn from example, so I’ll be doing this from time to time – analyzing a generous and brave writer’s donated work. Thank you for trusting me with your baby! This isn’t a bad beginning. My main points are: Remember, the reader comes cold to the page. You can’t even assume…

Read More

  Never heard of it? Here’s what it is: So it isn’t just for women – it can be written by men (and it is!) and can even have a male protagonist. I was lucky enough to have my WF mentioned in the BookTrib post today. There are some wonderful books here! And it has…

Read More

I am a very lean writer (not a lean person, mind you, that’s a different meeting). I think when you pare a sentence to its essence, making sure that every word is critical and sparkly, that’s when the power comes through. Many writers (and not just beginners) end up saying something more than once. It…

Read More

  As promised, this is the second in my ‘Writer’s Library’ series. This segment is harder for me, because I hate editing with the passion of a kid having to eat asparagus. But, as Patricia Fuller said, ‘Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.’ So…

Read More