Posts and articles on writing, publishing, working with professional editors, and more from Editorial Department president Ross Browne.

South of Hell by P.J. Parrish A “First 50” Review

by Ross Browne

Flap Copy: For Louis Kincaid and his lover, female detective Joe Frye, the present and the past collide when they team up to find out what happened to Jean Brandt, who was reported missing by her husband from their Michigan farmhouse in 1981. Jean’s daughter Amy, only five at the time, has been plagued by dream-like memories of a violent killing, and it is assumed that the murder she has seen is her mother’s. But as Amy’s veracity as […]

By |2019-06-17T16:54:27+00:00|First 50, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on South of Hell by P.J. Parrish A “First 50” Review

Recommended Reading: Word Play by Peter Farb An enlightening study of language that’s a gold mine for dialogue-conscious novelists

by Ross Browne

Word Play by Peter Farb may not have been written with novelists in mind, but it’s chock full of good insights for writers, especially on the topic of dialogue. (You can check out the book here.)

One chapter I find especially interesting is on verbal dueling. The author’s position is summed up nicely in the very first paragraph with the statement:

“Most speakers unconsciously duel even during seemingly casual conversation, as can often be observed at social gatherings […]

By |2019-06-17T16:57:13+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Recommended Reading: Word Play by Peter Farb An enlightening study of language that’s a gold mine for dialogue-conscious novelists

Plot vs. Plot Event An editor's thoughts inspired by Robert Ludlum, Matt Damon, and Jason Bourne

by Ross Browne

It wasn’t all that long ago that the news hit Hollywood that Matt Damon was considering bowing out of his leading role as Jason Bourne. The untitled film he considered passing on would have been the fifth in a series based on a trilogy that we have Robert Ludlum to thank for. (Or blame for, depending on your perspective.) Ludlum stopped writing the series after book number 3, and it wasn’t until his […]

By |2019-06-17T17:06:38+00:00|RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Plot vs. Plot Event An editor's thoughts inspired by Robert Ludlum, Matt Damon, and Jason Bourne

Candor, Tough Love, and the Delicate Art of the Bounce How our editors handle manuscripts that aren’t ready for editing

by Ross Browne

The first thing I’d put on the table in connection with how we handle manuscripts that need a lot of work could, I hope, go without saying. And that’s that we never want to be discouraging to an author. There’s no pleasure in telling a writer that a manuscript needs rewriting rather than editing or that its flaws run deeper than even an intensive developmental edit can reasonably be expected to fix. But our commitment to telling […]

By |2019-06-17T17:08:25+00:00|Developmental Editing, RSB, The Editor’s Craft|Comments Off on Candor, Tough Love, and the Delicate Art of the Bounce How our editors handle manuscripts that aren’t ready for editing

Writing Mysteries Guides, tips, and recommended reading for mystery writers

A quick word of caution to the aspiring mystery writer…

For its enduring popularity as a genre, mystery is a surprisingly tough genre to break into for new writers, and in some respects one of the hardest genres to write. This is in part due to the procedural know-how a writer must have to write convincingly about investigating crime. But it’s also because of how inherently predictable the mystery formula ultimately is and the challenge of keeping readers entertained, engaged, and surprised […]

By |2019-06-19T16:48:27+00:00|Mystery, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Writing Mysteries Guides, tips, and recommended reading for mystery writers

What Writers Can Learn from Lee Child & Jack Reacher A lesson in handling exposition in mystery and suspense novels

Exposition: a discourse of information. (Often necessary, but also challenging to handle skillfully.)

In an earlier post for mystery writers, I talked a little bit about the value of resisting the urge to lecture your readers on what you might have learned in the course of researching your story or what you might know from your own in-the-trenches experiences.  The premise behind this advice is that readers–and fans of mystery/suspense in particular–generally read in hopes of being entertained rather than educated. A […]

By |2019-09-25T16:57:43+00:00|Mystery, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on What Writers Can Learn from Lee Child & Jack Reacher A lesson in handling exposition in mystery and suspense novels