Characters: Giving Readers What They Want

In “Thoughts on Writing”, I’ve been posting about issues I’m grappling with as I rewrite my third book. A big focus of the rewrite is character development, which is partly based on comments of several readers on the prior draft. Today’s issue: how far do I go to respond to those comments? Some writers advise not to use beta readers at all. Stand tall […]

Refining Plot

Two weeks ago I posted that I had received comments on the current draft of my third book and that I was working on developing some characters further. However, I need to make some plot changes, too, and that has me asking what the best process to refine plot is. Some writers create an outline for […]

Becoming a Character

Here’s another post under “Thoughts on Writing”. Over the last four weeks, I’ve been receiving comments on the current draft of my third book. I have a lot of reason to be optimistic and a lot of work to do! One thing that’s become clear is that, while I’ve nailed many characters, a few, including two key ones, need to […]

Writing a Killer Ending

I’ve been posting for a while that I’m working hard on my third book. I’m down to editing the last chapters before sending out the manuscript for the first round of developmental comments. And that has me asking: in the thriller genre, what makes for a killer ending? A book’s opening is the chance to […]

Choosing a Story’s Specifics

Another breezy blog post this week as I push to the end of my first edit of book three. Almost every fiction writer knows the golden rule that a story must show, not tell. A lot of nonfiction tells, usually with generalizations. Fiction shows, by using specifics and often setting the story in real time. […]

Should writers watch word count?

A recent Microsoft study concludes that the average human attention span has fallen from twelve seconds to eight since 2000. Apparently that’s less than the attention span of a goldfish. I’ll try to keep this post short. I’m not a fan of proclaiming rules that writers need to follow in order to write a book and get […]

Improving the First Draft

In early January, I read through the first draft of my as-yet-untitled third book. I wrote it last summer, so I got a fresh take on it. After finishing the book, I considered what questions to answer in order to create the best next draft. Here’s what I came up with. Is the book a satisfying reading experience? […]

When is a Book Ready to Publish?

I have a confession to make. I said that my second book, False Guilt, would be available this fall. It will be the first quarter of 2015 instead. I really did think I would make the original deadline. One lesson I’ve learned is that, when talking about a future book’s release date, it’s better to say […]

Beta Reader Feedback

Last week, I blogged about using, finding and preparing beta readers. In this post, following my experience with The Case for Killing and False Guilt, I’m sharing my thoughts on what to do with their feedback. As I mentioned last blog, I give beta readers a decent draft of my manuscript and a list of questions to […]

Using, Finding and Preparing Beta Readers

I’m going to devote a few posts to the topic of beta readers. I’m including the posts under “Thoughts on Writing” because beta readers can help writers both traditionally and self-published. This post is about using, finding and preparing beta readers. The next post will ask what do with their feedback. One can have different views on […]