Blog Posts from the Beginning
I am working on a new book. It’s so new it has no title, and to be honest, I’m not sure what will happen. Certainly no ending is in sight. But it’s different, I think, than anything I have written before, so I’m having a good—if hard—time.
Sleepless in Denver
Here’s one of writing’s hazards. I had spent much of the day working out a plot problem on new book. At about 11 PM I thought I solved it. Great, I told myself, write it first thing in the morning. Made a brief note, and went to sleep. Or tried to. Bingo! Eyes opened at
The cover of a novel is usually the first connection between reader and book. Very important. Readers are sometimes puzzled that the writer usually does not control the choice. The truth is, the writer is not always the best judge. I’m not. The writer may write well, but his/her artistic, marketing, design talents and judgments
No straight lines
I want readers to read my books from page one to … the end. I don’t write them that way. The book I’m working on (still no title) is (at the moment) a mystery, a thriller, or something like. That means I go back and forth, making sure everything fits together smoothly. Sometimes, as happened
Creating a good title for a book is hard. I’ve written some strong ones, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and some weak ones, Shadrach’s Crossing. Just today, I had a discussion with my editor about my soon to be published book. I’ve been calling it Deception. “I’m not sure,” she said, “it’s strong enough.
The copy-editing process is something about which the reader is generally not aware. Think of it this way: You’ve written a term paper for school, and your teacher returns it to you (without a grade) with corrections (such as punctuation, spelling, grammar), suggestions for changes, perhaps pointing out confusions in your writing and narrative logic
I have written before about book titles. Changes, changes. Now my editor and I have settled on a new title for my forthcoming book. It came about this way. When I was writing the book I had a working title, The Field of Battle. It derived from a line in the book, something that Thomas
If you are a poor speller, does that mean that you are a poor writer? F. Scott Fitzgerald was a famously poor speller. Does that make spelling unimportant? It is a question of communication. Take this sentence: I went walking with the dog. Using the same letters you could write, I went walking with the
The other day, when talking to a fifth grade class, a boy asked, “How do you know when to end a chapter?” A good question. A good book has a complex structure, with different structural beats. Those beats might be the turn of the plot, a great sentence (or paragraph), a shift in mood, an
The word thriller seems to have come into the English language at the end of the 19th Century. Ken Follett cites the 1903 novel The Riddle of the Sands (Childers) as the first modern thriller. I’d suggest The Turn of the Screw. James Patterson, by way of definition, speaks of the thriller’s “intensity of emotions,”