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Craft-focused editorial analyses of popular fiction and nonfiction from bestselling authors.

Considering Distinctive Identity in Fiction Series and Its Importance in Cultivating a Loyal Readership

One piece of advice authors who write popular fiction often hear is that your odds of landing an agent and a traditional publishing deal can improve considerably when your novel is conceived as (or has the potential to work as) a series. This should come as no surprise to anyone who enjoys settling down with a new book in a series you know and love. To do so represents an easy purchase decision publishers and booksellers know they can rely on […]

By |2022-01-18T22:46:24+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, Genre, Getting Published, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, Traditional Publishing|Comments Off on Considering Distinctive Identity in Fiction Series and Its Importance in Cultivating a Loyal Readership

Editorial Analysis: WRECKED by Joe Ide Considering the pros and cons of irredeemable antagonists in crime fiction

I’m not exaggerating when I say the discovery of Joe Ide’s IQ series made an often-awful 2020 more bearable. Wrecked is the third book in this series starring the fiercely intelligent but lonely and isolated Isaiah Quintabe (“IQ”), who on first glance might resemble a modern-day Sherlock Holmes of Long Beach. In this story, Isaiah and his sidekick Dodson (kinda rhymes with Watson, doesn’t it?) help a reclusive artist find her long-lost mother and escape the wrath of five former soldiers determined […]

By |2021-02-24T16:02:31+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, Mystery / Suspense, Recommended Reading, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Editorial Analysis: WRECKED by Joe Ide Considering the pros and cons of irredeemable antagonists in crime fiction

THE CRIME WRITER, by Gregg Hurwitz Considering a special literary treat for writers and a masterful lesson in how to write mystery/suspense

If there were ever a novel that writers and editors could take special pleasure in devouring like candy, The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz is it. Putting aside the clever plot device that makes the book so naturally irresistible to novelists, The Crime Writer is a smartly written novel that stands out as a role model of writing and storytelling craft in the mystery/suspense genre.

Factor in that it’s about a mystery writer who, with the help of his editor, uses the […]

By |2021-08-02T23:59:31+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, Recommended Reading, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on THE CRIME WRITER, by Gregg Hurwitz Considering a special literary treat for writers and a masterful lesson in how to write mystery/suspense

Editor’s Eavesdrop: An Intimate Conversation with Ken Follett and Lee Child Considering writing and publishing perspectives from two masters of their genres

One silver lining to the challenges of the writing life in 2020 is the growing number of popular authors doing online events with their fans. This gives us the opportunity to get up close and personal (if only virtually) with some of the biggest names in publishing, and in many cases pose questions to our favorite authors directly.

When we saw Ken Follett and Lee Child were teaming up for such an event, our […]

By |2021-02-02T19:37:58+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, General, Historical Fiction, RSB, The Writer’s Craft, Traditional Publishing|Comments Off on Editor’s Eavesdrop: An Intimate Conversation with Ken Follett and Lee Child Considering writing and publishing perspectives from two masters of their genres

Editorial Analysis: WATCHERS by Dean Koontz Considering deft handling of extreme character arc and a unique characterization challenge in the author’s best-loved novel

Dean Koontz is a very funny guy who while contemplating his future as a geriatric (bunny slippers are involved) says he expects to feel then as he does now: that Watchers is the most satisfying book he’s ever written. He also believes many readers will think it to be his best, no matter how good any other books he has written—or will write in the future—may be.

The editor in me can’t help wondering what’s so special about this story to an […]

By |2020-09-30T18:10:39+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, TED Editor Posts, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Editorial Analysis: WATCHERS by Dean Koontz Considering deft handling of extreme character arc and a unique characterization challenge in the author’s best-loved novel

Cultivating Willing Suspension of Disbelief in Crime Fiction Tips and techniques based on two hit novels by Stephen King and Alexandra Sokoloff

A recent article in The New Yorker defines the willing suspension of disbelief as “the reader’s decision to put the argumentative, quibbling part of his mind into neutral and go along for the narrative ride.”

Stephen King is a master at this, and I’m sure I’m not alone in admiring how easy he makes it to engage us with his novels’ supernatural, paranormal, magical, or mystical elements even if we take some comfort in the belief that these things surely can’t exist.  […]

By |2021-02-02T18:59:56+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, TED Editor Posts, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Cultivating Willing Suspension of Disbelief in Crime Fiction Tips and techniques based on two hit novels by Stephen King and Alexandra Sokoloff