April 2008 Blog Posts (187)

A review of Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon.

Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore

Elizabeth Lyon

The Penguin Group, New York, 2008

347 pages


It was at a conference for new writers in Austin that I saw a lot of shocked faces when literary agent Jim Donovan proclaimed that they could not imagine how much revising is necessary before a manuscript is ready for publication. How much revision? Elizabeth Lyon cites Dean Koontz who did thirty-one drafts of his… Continue

Added by Mark Troy on April 23, 2008 at 1:02pm — 1 Comment

The mysterious muse

One of the wonderful things that happens when the writing has gone well is that on re-reading you discover you were writing more than you knew. To explain, as I'm re-reading "Probable Claws," which is simply intended as a fun mystery, I'm realizing that the theme of commitment and its opposite, letting go, runs through it. I don't know what that means, but I've written it on a sticky and so now I see it every morning as I sit down to work.

And because we cannot control when, or whom,… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on April 23, 2008 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Convention Junkie

I confess, I'm a convention junkie. Already this year I've been to Chicago for Love is Murder in February, to Epicon in Portland OR in March, tomorrow I'm leaving for Las Vegas and the Public Safety Writers conference, May will find me in Omaha at Mayhem in the Midlands. I have two more in the fall.

Next year I'm going to have to decide just which one of the cons will be the most beneficial--or that I'll most enjoy since this is the last year I'm going to be teaching part-time which… Continue

Added by Marilyn Meredith on April 23, 2008 at 9:17am — No Comments

School Crimes

Having been a teacher and administrator, I was disappointed but not surprised by yesterday’s arrest of a Colombia, South Carolina high school senior who had collected enough supplies to carry out a bomb attack on his school. It seems that every week another name is added to the growing list of high school and college students intent on killing classmates, teachers and themselves.

In contrast to what we see on television and read in the newspapers and magazines, a recent five-year… Continue

Added by Christopher Valen on April 23, 2008 at 8:18am — No Comments

Fantastic new chart position on Amazon UK

Wow, 'A Study in Red' just rose to number 21 in the Amazon UK best selling Jack the Ripper book listings. This morning it was at 33, having reached number 27 earlier in the week. This is great although it can just as easily slip down the chart again by tomorrow or even tonight as I believe the listings are updated almost hourly according to sales records.

For now, though, I consider that a great position to have reached against so many very fine books by very illustrious authors. I'm… Continue

Added by Brian L Porter on April 23, 2008 at 4:47am — No Comments

Plot-Knots: What's a Writer to Do?

You start writing, and things go well for a while. You establish characters, and the story begins to unfold nicely. Then suddenly you hit a knot. An action that has to happen doesn't make sense for a character, or an event that has to occur isn't likely in the scenario you've created. What do you do?

Some writers outline their stories carefully before they begin writing, and I suppose that eliminates a lot of plot-knots. I can't do it. I never liked connect-the-dots; I'm a pantser… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on April 22, 2008 at 11:15pm — No Comments

80,000 words in and I finally know whodunit!

I guess most people presume that an author is in complete control of their work – their words and their characters. So perhaps it comes as a surprise to you that I’ve only just worked out/decided whodunit it for book 4 in the Sophie Anderson series. Scary, but true.

My mum came to baby-sit last Friday (as she does every Friday) and I confided in her: ‘I’m getting kinda worried, mum, because I’m 80,000 words in and I still don’t know whodunit.’ She gave me a look…the ‘you gotta be… Continue

Added by Phillipa Martin (PD Martin) on April 22, 2008 at 11:14pm — 1 Comment

Literary Agent Scott Hoffman on The Graveyard Shift

Join us today on The Graveyard Shift as top literary agent Scott Hoffman tells how to avoid shooting your book with a Glock.

The Graveyard Shift

Added by Lee Lofland on April 22, 2008 at 11:01pm — No Comments

More kind words

You know how I love to share the positive feedback I get about my novels. Today I’d like to introduce you to Janet Phebus.

I met Janet while doing a book signing at the Borders in Frederick MD. She took home a copy of Blood and Bone and later wrote me a very complimentary e-mail about it. What warmed my heart most was not that she said I wrote a good story, but that she noticed that I did it without the foul language and graphic violence so common in crime fiction… Continue

Added by Austin S. Camacho on April 22, 2008 at 10:40pm — No Comments

How big is too big?

I've finished – at least I think I've finished – the first draft of Probable Claws. It's a little over 86,000 words. Is that too big?

Tomorrow I start reading it through to see if it makes… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on April 22, 2008 at 12:44pm — No Comments

Back to the Billingtons!

I hit 200 words today so I'm please with myself! Hope I can do the same tomorrow, I'm not quite at the part where it all rushes from my fingertips but I hope that's just round the corner.

Added by Alison Bruce on April 22, 2008 at 7:35am — No Comments

Publishing Timetable for five Paperback Releases

With five paperbacks due for release by Still Waves Publishing, I've now been given the proposed timetable of release for the coming months.

These dates are of course subject to change but as long as all goes well these are the dates when each of the books should appear in print.

Purple Death: July 2008.

Glastonbury: July 2008

The Nemesis Cell: August 2008

Avenue of the Dead: October… Continue

Added by Brian L Porter on April 22, 2008 at 2:30am — No Comments

New York Times Bestselling Author Allison Brennan on The Graveyard Shift

Please join us today on The Graveyard Shift as New York Times Bestselling Author Allison Brennan takes us on the first of several trips to the FBI Citizens Academy.

The Graveyard Shift
- a blog for writers

Added by Lee Lofland on April 21, 2008 at 10:56pm — No Comments

Everybody's Talkin' at Me

The writing world is full of advice: agents, editors, fans, authors, and wanna-be authors all have advice on everything from plot to query letters to marketing. It becomes daunting just to read it, much less act on it.

You need to know what people are saying. Some of them know what they're talking about. Some don't, but they'd never admit that. I once heard a speaker proclaim to a roomful of hopefuls that one should NEVER send a query by email. He insisted that a snail-mail letter… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on April 21, 2008 at 10:30pm — No Comments

The Future is Now!

Recently I’ve spoken with a lot of writers who are troubled about the publishing business. Amazon.com has changed its policies, making it harder for self-published writers to sell there. Some publishers are talking about ending the return policy that allows bookstores to send unsold books back for full credit. After buying bookstore chain Waldenbooks, giant bookstore chain Borders may be bought by super-giant bookstore chain Barnes and Noble.

It all reminds me of a Steely Dan song… Continue

Added by Austin S. Camacho on April 21, 2008 at 10:22pm — No Comments


My new newsletter, called ABOUT MORGAN MANDEL - MARCH/APRIL, 2008 IS NOW UP:

here's the link:


If you can't connect, you can go to www.morganmandel.com and click the link at the top of the main page under the electronic… Continue

Added by Morgan Mandel on April 21, 2008 at 11:55am — No Comments

The NLAPW Rocks

Just wanted you to know that despite getting lost in DC I managed to have a wonderful time at the National League of American Pen Women meeting. Aside from speaking to a very interested and educated group of writers, I got to present in the historic Pen Arts Building, a red brick mid-town mansion dating back to 1887. Designed for an opera star descendant of President John Adams, it was leased to Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of President Abraham Lincoln, in 1910. I thank the ladies for a joyous… Continue

Added by Austin S. Camacho on April 21, 2008 at 9:53am — No Comments

Northeast Writing Workshop Tour

It’s a darn shame that some 4 million fiction manuscripts a year are rejected before the first few pages are even read. All that work on plot and characters and you can't get anyone in publishing to read past page 3, 2, or 1.

I’ve been a book editor working in publishing 44 years. Now that I’m retiring and have the time and means to travel the country, I'm sharing insider information about the manuscript submission process--including how to improve your own odds of surviving the 90… Continue

Added by Chris Roerden on April 21, 2008 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Now I'm writing articles for Hi-Brow Journals - And a great sales ranking too!

I'm pleased to say that I've been asked to contribute an article to 'The Journal of The Whitechapel Society 1888'. This is the journal of the prestigious 'Whitechapel Society 1888' that I found myself a member of soon after the release of the novel. I was approached by the editor when I contacted the journal about placing a book ad in their next issue. The article is called "Whodunnit?"..."I Dunno.", and I only wish that some of those here could get the chance to read it. Perhaps once… Continue

Added by Brian L Porter on April 20, 2008 at 7:00pm — No Comments

I'm trying

I tried yesterday to find the books that my friends on Crimespace have written. At the library, of course -- I have neither the budget nor the space to justify buying every book I want to read. What I discovered was that in this case, I'll have to buck up and buy if I want to read such things as "Death Will get You Sober" and "The Sex Club." With titles like that, why wouldn't I? So that'll be my next project.

Well, not project exactly. Buying books I seriously want to read isn't a… Continue

Added by Janet Ortegon on April 20, 2008 at 3:08pm — No Comments

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