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My First Literary Crush

My First Literary Crush

My First Literary Crush By Steven Axelrod

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As a kid I read hungrily and furtively, devouring comic books and Hardy Boys novels the same way I gobbled Mounds bars and Ring Dings. I borrowed every Albert Payson Terhune novel I could excavate from the dusty stacks of ...

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Where Do Characters Come From?

Where Do Characters Come From?

Where Do Characters Come From? By Tina Whittle

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When I first met Tai Randolph, the protagonist of my series, I didn’t know her name. I knew only that the person I was meeting was quick and smart and had a head full of riotous dirty blonde curls. I ...

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When Writing is Like Landing a Plane

When Writing is Like Landing a Plane

When Writing is Like Landing a Plane By Steven Axelrod

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Writing a transition for my book as I flew into Kennedy airport, I realized that my job and the pilot’s job weren’t all that different. Of course his takes years of training, the mastery of a highly complex machine, and ...

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When Setting Becomes a Character

When Setting Becomes a Character

When Setting Becomes a Character By Jeffrey Siger

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For those of you in the market for indispensable elements of mystery writing, you’ve come to the right place. As I see it, a mystery is composed of six indispensable elements: characters, dialog, plot, point of view, setting, and tension. ...

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The Exposition Paradox

The Exposition Paradox

The Exposition Paradox By Steven Axelrod

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I first noticed the exposition paradox when I was reading “The DaVinci Code,” a few years ago. It was not a favorite of mine, and I only slogged through it to the end because I had promised my mother I’d ...

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Create Your Own Reality

Create Your Own Reality

Many years ago I wrote a book set in Australia. It was while I was researching Aboriginal religions for this book that I first learned about “pointing the bone.” “Pointing the bone” is a ritual curse that Aborigine shamans perform ...

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Who Should Tell Your Story?

Who Should Tell Your Story?

An online discussion among several of my fellow Poisoned Pen Press authors got me thinking about the one decision every fiction author must make before typing CHAPTER 1 at the top of the page. That decision? Who will tell your ...

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It Makes A Better Story

It Makes A Better Story

Most people I know profess to not like film biopics.  “That’s not really the way it happened,” is the customary complaint.  For reply, I usually quote the novelist Stanley Elkin, from his masterpiece, The Living End.  Ellerbee, Elkin’s protagonist, demands ...

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Authorpreneuring

Authorpreneuring

  In a radio interview I heard Merle Streep say she was lucky because she knew pretty much how good she was or wasn’t at different skills. What a gift, I thought. I was in Tucson when I heard that ...

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Understanding Acknowledgments

Understanding Acknowledgments

I need to submit my “front material” for my next mystery, Fractured Families, which will be published March 2017. For me the most troubling task is that of writing thanks and acknowledgments. I worry that I will leave someone out. ...

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Book Sleuthing

Book Sleuthing

As a former information professional, I have mixed feelings about the Internet and the way it has changed our lives (and careers!) but sometimes it provides a lot of fun. I have become hooked on the used book sites and ...

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Observations on Writing a Novel

Observations on Writing a Novel

Yesterday I had one of those days in which my routine was all knocked into a cocked hat. After I got out of bed, I had to be off about business ASAP, and wasn’t able to ease into my day ...

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Details: Not the Most, Just the Best

Details: Not the Most, Just the Best

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about using details in writing. One reason is that I am deep into revising a lumpy first draft, making it into something clear and sparkling. At least that is my goal! This is the ...

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Writing Journey: Hard Work and a Little Magic

Writing Journey: Hard Work and a Little Magic

Last month, I blogged about being partway through a new journey—writing to the headlights, every day. Plowing through the story, regardless of how messed up the story feels. Just keep writing, Tammy. Don’t think, write. Along the way, during those ...

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The Power of Objects (For Good and Not-So-Good)

The Power of Objects (For Good and Not-So-Good)

Objects. Stuff. Things. Effects. Possessions. Obsessions. All words for those physical items that surround us, that we gather to us, that we buy, use, discard, pass long. I hereby step forward to confess: My name is Ann Parker and I ...

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The Truth About the Writing Life

The Truth About the Writing Life

I loved reading Jeffrey Siger’s entry about having fun with writing. This is a philosophy that everyone should apply to the best of her ability to every aspect of life. Bad things happen that must be dealt with, so you ...

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Story Lines: From ‘The Odyssey’ to ‘Unforgiven’

Critics have long debated whether the correct number is six or nine or eleven, but they do agree that all literature–no matter the genre–can be reduced to less than 12 basic story lines. Whether you label Homer’s The Odyssey a quest story, a ...

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Bad Words and Good Characters

Bad Words and Good Characters

A well-read, educated man once put the question to me. “You write so nicely,” he said. “Such good stories, so clever.  First, Do No Harm.  The Ragtime Kid.  You don’t use a lot of bad words, but the few that ...

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