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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

How Do We Write about The Future Now That It’s Here? Tips for writing science fiction writing in the 21st century

by Shannon Roberts

Science fiction, as a genre, has often struggled to be taken seriously. Oh, it’s garnered some respect, a few classics, and a bucketful of noteworthy authors, but how seriously are we expected to take a class of fiction that still doesn’t even warrant its own section in too many bookstores?

Don’t get me wrong: Science fiction was gaining in popularity (though not by that name) in the late 19th century, and came admirably […]

By |2019-06-17T19:47:20+00:00|Sci-Fi, SR|Comments Off on How Do We Write about The Future Now That It’s Here? Tips for writing science fiction writing in the 21st century

Yul Brynner’s Black Hat Considering good vs. evil in fantasy fiction

Bad guys and black hats are, in the classic American Western film, almost synonymous.

Even if you haven’t seen many Westerns, you’ve probably absorbed this knowledge via cultural osmosis—I certainly had.

Yul Brynner Yul Brynner in his black hat

Fortunately, the first Western I was privileged to watch was The Magnificent Seven (if a cowboy movie based on a Japanese film inspired by the mythology of the […]

By |2020-07-15T17:28:20+00:00|Fantasy, SR, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Yul Brynner’s Black Hat Considering good vs. evil in fantasy fiction

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

A Guide to Sub-Genres in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Sub-genres of any kind can be difficult to nail down, but in the genres of fantasy and science fiction it’s not easy to even get them to hold still. The principle reason for this is that these two genres are often collectively called “speculative fiction” because they deal with the question “What if . . . ?” This leads not only to genre hybrids such as science fantasy, but to sub-genres that may be applied to either fantasy or science fiction, […]

By |2019-06-19T17:44:10+00:00|Fantasy, Genre, Getting Published, Sci-Fi|Comments Off on A Guide to Sub-Genres in Fantasy and Science Fiction