Home/The Writer’s Craft

DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, by Jeff Lindsay Considering pacing, plot, and story setup in the first 50 pages

Flap Copy: He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likable: He only kills bad people.

Ross’s Take: Though Darkly Dreaming Dexter was a book that I feel could have been improved, there’s a good deal the author does quite well in terms of pacing, story setup, drawing readers into the world […]

By |2021-01-16T16:28:51+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, First 50, General, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, by Jeff Lindsay Considering pacing, plot, and story setup in the first 50 pages

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 |2021-01-15T18:32:19+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

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 |2020-12-13T17:12:59+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

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 |2020-06-19T20:55:03+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

Editorial Analysis: BLUE MOON by Lee Child Considering what works and what could work better in Jack Reacher # 24

Author’s note: As a reader, I’m a loyal fan of the Jack Reacher series, awaiting each release with rabid anticipation. As a professional editor, I’m a longtime admirer of what Lee Child does well and, at times, a constructive critic of what I believe he could do better. I write about Lee Child often because I love his work and think there’s a lot to be learned from him. His fall 2019 release Blue Moon has given me plenty to […]

By |2020-06-16T17:33:07+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: BLUE MOON by Lee Child Considering what works and what could work better in Jack Reacher # 24