/The Writer’s Craft

The Role of Mystery in Fiction An editor's take on the value of mystery in all genres of fiction

by Peter Gelfan

Unlike nonfiction, fiction’s motor doesn’t run on information, but on its opposite: mystery.

I’m not talking about mystery as a genre, but as the essential quality in all fiction that cultivates curiosity, stimulates the imagination, invites participation, and generally keeps readers reading. Every step of the reader’s journey should be fraught with questions, not only about how the story turns out, but about character, motive, backstory, and—perhaps most importantly—what he or she would do in the hero’s or villain’s […]

By | 2018-05-21T19:44:48+00:00 |PG, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on The Role of Mystery in Fiction An editor's take on the value of mystery in all genres of fiction

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 death […]

By | 2018-05-21T21:30:24+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

Everyone Needs an Editor: A Final Lesson from the Harry Potter Series Principle Five: All good writing needs good editing

By Jane Ryder with Beth Jusino.

“So why couldn’t Malfoy have brought that necklace into the school?”

“Oh, Harry, not that again…”

Many readers, myself included, echoed Hermione Grangers’ frustration at that point in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

For the past few weeks we have been looking at JK Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter books, and the lessons that aspiring authors can learn from them. We talked about when to hold back detail, how to drop hints, and the […]

A World to Remember: More Lessons from the Harry Potter Series Principle Four: Create a world the reader will remember

This blog is part of the Storytelling lessons from Harry Potter series. For part one, click here. For part two, click here. For part three, click here.

Diagon Alley. The Quidditch World Cup.The Chamber of Secrets. The Cupboard Under the Stairs. Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.

These were not places that existed in our imaginations before we met Harry Potter, but for many readers they are now as real as Times Square.

If we, as writers, look to […]

By | 2018-05-03T19:10:55+00:00 |The Writer’s Craft, Trends|Comments Off on A World to Remember: More Lessons from the Harry Potter Series Principle Four: Create a world the reader will remember

Heroes Have Hormones: More Lessons from the Harry Potter Series Principle Three: perfect heroes are uninteresting ones

This blog is part of the Storytelling lessons from Harry Potter series. For part one, click here. For part two, click here.

It’s Harry Potter time here at The Editorial Department, and in honor of the release of the newest addition to the series, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, we’re looking at what we can learn from J.K. Rowling that will help us in our own writing endeavors. We’ve talked about two different aspects of plotting […]

By | 2018-05-03T19:11:12+00:00 |The Writer’s Craft, Trends|Comments Off on Heroes Have Hormones: More Lessons from the Harry Potter Series Principle Three: perfect heroes are uninteresting ones

Chekov’s Gun: More Lessons from the Harry Potter Series Principle Two: Chekov had a gun; Trelawney had a prophecy

This blog is part of a series. For part one, click here.

This week we’re talking about Harry Potter. No, not the much-anticipated book that’s releasing next week (although I, for one, already preordered it.) We’re talking about the books that started it all, and the lessons that authors can apply in their own Works In Progress.

 

Principle Two: Chekov had a gun; Trelawney had a prophecy.

Being patient and letting a story unfold does not mean that a writer should hold back major […]

By | 2018-05-03T19:11:24+00:00 |The Writer’s Craft, Trends|Comments Off on Chekov’s Gun: More Lessons from the Harry Potter Series Principle Two: Chekov had a gun; Trelawney had a prophecy