…that little episode a while back involving Dulcey, Norma, and Norma’s boyfriend Chuck.

[from “Cherchez la Femme,” a Kate Shugak short story] Most women hated Dulcey Kineen as much as their men loved her, of course. Margaret Meganack had erupted into Bobby Clark’s house when Marvin, that morning’s guest on Park Air, had strayed from the advertised topic, which was the current red salmon run or lack thereof,…

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from 7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction, written for Writer’s Digest. 7. Backstory. Every single character gets one, including the guy who shows up once to deliver the mail. It can be as little as a sentence or as much as a subplot running through the entire narrative. The supporting cast is what makes a great…

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From 7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction, written for Writer’s Digest. 6. Decide early on if you’re writing a series or a stand-alone.* Don’t introduce that great character only to kill him off at the end of the first book of a 22-book (and counting) series. Don’t ask me how I know. *Realize that a book…

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I don't know how to choose work that illuminates what my life is about. I don't know what my life is about and don't examine it. My life will define itself as I live it. The movies will define themselves as I make them. As long as the theme is something I care about at the moment, it's enough for me to start work. Maybe work itself is what my life is about.

# Permanent link to “My life will define itself as I live it.”

I’ve already got a cause.

[from “Under the Influence,” a very short Kate Shugak story] Kate stood up. Mutt cast a languishing farewell look at Jim and padded to her side. “You’re scaring me, Chopin. You’re starting to sound like a crusader.” I’ve already got a cause, he thought as he watched her walk out the door.

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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 5. Never neglect setting.* It’s key to everything that follows. What does it look like, smell like, sound like, feel like? What effect does the setting have on the characters, and why? Once you figure out setting, you can figure out who…

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For centuries Hondurans have told their children the myth of the Lost City of the Monkey God, but myths are often rooted in fact, and in the early Oughts cinematographer and inveterate searcher for lost cities Steve Elkins starts looking for it. National Geographic/New Yorker writer and novelist Douglas Preston, in the way nosy journalists…

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Something should be Done.

[from “Conspiracy,” a Kate Shugak short story] At the same time the Grosdidier brothers were settling on a command structure at home, they were willing, nay, eager to assert their independence abroad. There were a few years when Park rats had only to see the Grosdidier brothers coming in one door to exit immediately out…

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