/The Writer’s Craft

Missing, Presumed, a novel by Susie Steiner Considering characterization, craft, and the conventions of mystery writing in a stunning series debut

by Ross Browne with Susie Steiner

One thing the editor in me loves about mysteries is seeing how successful authors navigate the challenge of writing entertainingly in a style of novel that’s inherently formulaic. For all its boundless appeal, mystery is a genre whose stories can be very similar in plot and structure, usually opening with the discovery of a crime and ending with the perpetrator being brought to justice in some way or another.

Many of my own […]

By | 2018-06-14T19:50:12+00:00 |Book Reviews and Analysis, Mystery / Suspense, Q&A, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Missing, Presumed, a novel by Susie Steiner Considering characterization, craft, and the conventions of mystery writing in a stunning series debut

The Best Books on Writing Ever! Picks from our editors and staff

There are tons of books on this subject out there, ranging from “duh!” to “wow.” Because you’re our peeps and we don’t want you to waste your time with the former, our staff has put together a short list of the latter. We’ve included links to make it easier for you to find these awesome resources, along with the staff member’s take on what’s most useful, informative, or inspiring about them, so you can go straight to the good stuff.

And the […]

By | 2018-06-06T18:12:22+00:00 |Book Reviews and Analysis, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on The Best Books on Writing Ever! Picks from our editors and staff

Sudden Prey, by John Sandford An editor’s review considering characterization and its impact on story in a bestselling crime series

by Ross Browne

Anyone familiar with my taste in books probably knows how much I love John Sandford and admire his skills as a writer. One reason I like his Lucas Davenport series so much is that these deftly plotted novels usually go deep into the minds of deranged killers in seriously engaging and convincing fashion. Understanding what makes his bad guys tick and seeing their world through their eyes is part of the dark appeal […]

By | 2018-05-17T19:11:42+00:00 |Book Reviews and Analysis, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Sudden Prey, by John Sandford An editor’s review considering characterization and its impact on story in a bestselling crime series

Revise Your Book, Hollywood-Style A novelist, screenwriter, and editor shares his take on a secret weapon for manuscript revision

by John Robert Marlow

Are you an author who

  • Has never tried using an outline?
  • Likes the idea of outlining, but gave up on it because it was too much trouble—or just didn’t work for you?
  • Uses an outline for initial story planning, but not for revisions?
  • Would rather have a root canal than use an outline?

If so, you’re not alone. Let’s face it: traditional outlines—with formatting and structure imposed by programs like Microsoft Word—can be a huge pain, especially when you want to change things. All […]

By | 2018-05-16T18:13:28+00:00 |Developmental Editing, JRM, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Revise Your Book, Hollywood-Style A novelist, screenwriter, and editor shares his take on a secret weapon for manuscript revision

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 | 2018-06-05T20:34:52+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 where […]

By | 2018-06-05T20:14:04+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