You've met her. Maybe not in person, but she appears in almost every James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler novel. Pulp fiction would have never gained an audience without her. She appears in movies and in novels of all types today. The femme fatale -- the sexy, seductive woman who leads men to destruction.
Women wonder why men are so stupid they can't recognize her for what she really is.
You've met him. Maybe not in fiction,… Continue
Added by Jackson Burnett on August 18, 2012 at 1:54am —
I finished a book last night that was one of those "I can't wait to find out what happens" stories. The author had me caring desperately for the characters, hoping against hope that they could defeat the almost certain doom that swept toward them. I read and read and read...and then they died. Greek tragedy and ANNA KARENINA aside, that's not what I read for. I read to be entertained, at least when I read genre fiction. I contend that an "entertaining" author who gives the reader false hopes… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on January 2, 2012 at 9:55pm —
Trick question. They're not, or at least they don't have to be. Some people I know have self-published, AFTER they thought about it for a long time. They paid an editor to find the errors they missed. They paid an artist to do a classy cover. They even paid a computer geek to make sure the formatting is clean, correct, and friendly to whatever e-reader would be used. Then and only then did they self-publish. Yay for them.
On the other hand, there are people who are too anxious,…
Added by Peg Herring on May 17, 2011 at 3:45am —
No author is thrilled to receive a bad review, and I’m no exception. Yes, I’ve occasionally gotten them, but a bad review doesn’t have to equal a meltdown. Read today’s Writers Tricks of the Trade in the Las Vegas edition of examiner.com. … Continue
Added by Morgan St. James on April 1, 2011 at 8:13am —
On my book tours I often venture to places few others visit. There are book festivals in tiny provincial towns. Readings at bookshops in small rural villages. This week I spoke in a German town that many Germans are convinced doesn’t even exist.
Bielefeld (population 330,000) is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia. Or is it?
Since the 1990s, there has been a widespread internet campaign to convince Germans that this town…
Added by Matt Rees on September 2, 2010 at 7:25pm —
The mystery I'm reading right now doesn't have it. The descriptions are artful, the plot moves along, the situation is unique and interesting. But I feel the author's hand on my shoulder, pushing me along, trying to make me believe what she needs me to believe in order to get to her conclusion.
Characters say things that sound, well, out of character, and I hear her yell, "THAT'S A CLUE, READER!" People explode with anger, blurting out their secrets when they should be cautious and… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on February 3, 2010 at 10:11pm —
I'm reading a book by an author I like very much...today. Since I like her current work, I went back to find her earlier books and, well, the one I bought just isn't as good.
Of course there's a learning curve, and some authors climb to better writing over time while others plummet downward, racing to keep a book a year in the hands of readers. And not every book can be a gem. But this book, unfocused, too cute in places, and unsure of what tone it wants to strike, got me thinking… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on December 4, 2009 at 10:22pm —
I've said it here before, so stop me if you've heard it: writing has made me into a very picky reader. Once upon a time I could enjoy a mediocre book: let myself slide into disbelief, allow a few terrible sentences to pass, ignore a character who has no flesh whatsoever. But now that I'm tuned in to the "how" of writing, I'm offended by writers who slack off, the way good doctors and good lawyers must be embarrassed and insulted by the Medicare-cheaters and ambulance-chasers in their… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on October 14, 2009 at 10:37pm —
There's only you and me, and we just disagree. (Okay, now sing that one in your head for the rest of the day!)
Just finished a book where the guy the protagonist was trying to clear of murder charges turned out to really have done the crime, with no mitigating circumstances. He was a stone killer who used everyone, including the protag, and deserved no sympathy at all. In addition, the nasty psychopath who we all wanted to have done the crime did a "good deed" murder as a favor at… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on July 16, 2009 at 10:53pm —
In everything I write, there seems to be a character who refuses to be defined. Throughout the rough draft he (or she, I really can't say) is nebulous and shifty. For me, it's often a "bad" character, one who will be in some way dishonest.
Of course I begin with a scenario, so I know his/her role and propensities, but how does he/she present to the reader? In a mystery, it's important to give clues so readers don't feel cheated at the end by a surprise from out of nowhere. But how… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on April 20, 2009 at 10:24pm —
I'm a really, really evil guy who opposes everything your good guy stands for. I want (the Holy Grail/ world domination/ hidden treasure/ other) so badly that I will do anything, absolutely anything, to get it.
Mr. Good Guy stands in my way, so I have decided to kill him. I've thought about this a lot, and I have a plan to (blow him up, run him off the road/slice off body parts until he's history/other) because I am really, really evil. Once I rid myself of him, I can (live like a… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on March 30, 2009 at 10:21pm —
Today my guest blogger, reader/reviewer/judge P.J. Coldren, has some complaints. Constructive ones, of course, so listen up, authors!
For my last guest blog, I'm going to do something I don't normally do. I'm gonna gripe. I've been reading mysteries for a bloody long time, and there are some things that really irritate the crap outa me.
I know that as readers we don't want to be bored with the minutia of daily life. In fact, that's one thing that annoys me - the long… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on January 28, 2009 at 10:00pm —
I admit it; I've become a picky reader. Becoming more aware of writing as I practice the craft, I am increasingly intolerant of writers who are sloppy and formulaic. In the last two days I've started no less than five books only to drop them in the give-away pile an hour or so later. It's something I never would have done in the past, but I've decided that there's too much good writing out there to waste my time on junk.
I've ranted here before about secondary characters who have no… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on January 23, 2009 at 10:37pm —
Some of the scariest modern research, at least for me, is the stuff that looks into how the brain works and how it affects the body. The person I thought I was, that creation with Free Will, is largely imaginary. The real me is a mix of chemicals and neural pathways that have little to do with choice and a lot to do with repetition. In real life we don't choose very often, at least not with anything like free will. That makes resolutions sort of superficial, dependent on whether our brains will… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on December 29, 2008 at 10:56pm —
The answer to that question has gone through several phases in my lifetime. When I was a kid, bad guys were shot dead left and right, and nobody gave them a second thought. Then we got into the idea of rehabilitation, and bad guys were arrested and led away with "Book 'em, Dano" or something similar. When cop/sleuths' personalities began to enter into fiction, we had to deal with the fact that they FELT like killing the really bad guys. For a while there, it became pretty common for the bad guy… Continue
Added by Peg Herring on December 16, 2008 at 10:14pm —