“Two (Or Three or Four) Trains Running” on Sleuthsayers

"Back when I started reading grown-up mysteries like Ed McBain and Rex Stout, their books weren't much longer than the Hardy Boys books I'd recently left behind. If I pick up one of those books now, they feel very linear. We go from point A to point B, C, D and so on and eventually we can predict the next bead on the string. Maybe that's why some of the

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Check out the Femme Fatale Bundle on StoryBundle

O’Neil De Noux has curated a new Femme Fatale bundle for StoryBundle, "a terrific collection of ten outstanding novels by some phenomenal writers." At StoryBundle, you name your own price – whatever you feel the books are worth, and a portion of the proceeds goes to charities Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.For $5, you'll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format. If you pay $15 (or more,

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“Would I Lie To You?” on SleuthSayers

If a story uses a first person narrator, the most important action in that story is the telling. The narrator arranges the people and events in a way that serves his purpose. Since he has a stake in the story, sometimes he cheats. That's where the fun begins. Many of the classics gain their power from the irony of a dissembling story-teller. Read the full post to see why Steve is

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“Second Thoughts and Second Best” on SleuthSayers

A few months ago, I read a Facebook post from a writer I didn't know, ecstatically proclaiming that his writing was so good he never revised anything. I went to his Amazon page and opened the "look inside" button on his most recent masterpiece. His claim was about half-right. I read a page and decided he really didn't revise. If he'd been in my tenth-grade comp and lit class when

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“Less is Hard” on SleuthSayers

When people at events ask why I'm self-published, I can spot the other writers in the group with my standard answer: "So I don't have to write another synopsis." Condensing your 300-more-or-less-page novel to five pages (some agents want only two or even one) is like gift-wrapping the state of Michigan. Remember, there are two peninsulae (or is it peninsulas?), and they're both pretty big. Lots of ribbon and tape...

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