Writing Articles

English Settings I: Britishisms

December 20, 2016 5:05 pm Published by 2 Comments

So you’re an American novelist and you’ve decided to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. If your story is set in France it’s perfectly legit for your characters not to speak French if they happen to be, say, American. If your setting is... read more

romance novel writing tips for authors

Plot, Characters and Story Magic

June 1, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Note: For more on this topic, see my previous blog post on Plot and Character Development where I state: “For me plot and character develop together, just as bone and muscle emerge together in the developing fetus.” To illustrate the points in this blog’s title I’ll use The Alpha’s Edge,... read more

Size Matters

April 13, 2016 9:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Last week I was on the phone with an editor discussing my short story The Alpha’s Edge. She told me that when she hears a novelist say, “I want to write a short story” – mostly for the purpose of getting more material out into the marketplace quickly – she... read more

Are You A Writer?

April 5, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Beloved children’s book author Roald Dahl offers a checklist of qualities anyone wanting to make a living out of writing fiction must have. It’s found in a short piece called Lucky Break appearing at the end of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.

Creativity and the Road Trip

December 28, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Tips for tapping into creativity: Take a new way to work. Wear your watch on your other wrist. Go crazy and part your hair on the other side for a change. There are few thoroughfares I like less than I-95, especially the stretch between North Carolina and Orlando, Florida. I’ve... read more

how to name your characters when writing a novel

Naming Your Characters

December 21, 2015 5:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Rule #1. Don’t give characters names that begin with the same initial. If you have two characters Richard and Robert, it’s going to be difficult for your readers to tell them apart when reading at normal speed. It will not help to change their names to, say, Rick and Roberto.... read more

Plot and Character Development

December 14, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There is no one creative process. I was surprised to discover just the other day that the poet Yeats first wrote out in prose form what he then turned into a poem. It never occurred to me that poetry could originate in prose. I don’t know why it hadn’t, but... read more

Romance Villains

December 10, 2015 2:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You know who does good villains? Disney. Two easily come to mind: Claude Frollo the scrawny Archdeacon in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Ursula the massive sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Ruthless, self-righteous, religiously pious Frollo is super creepy – literally. As he creeps around the cathedral, spouting... read more

How To Take Criticism To Grow as a Writer

December 3, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

First: Aaaarrrrggghhh! (Yes, let’s just let out all the pain at the beginning.) Taking criticism is the worst. Horrible, horrible, viscera-writhing horrible. Okay, that’s done. Deep breath. Now let’s think constructively. Consider the source of the criticism before you consider whether you can learn from it. Take, for instance, reviews... read more