Category: Writing

#thiswritinglife

No one wanted me to write the Eye of Isis series. Business associates said, “No, no, keep writing Kate Shugak novels, they are what sells.” My agents didn’t want me to write them because they couldn’t sell them without a multi-book contract that included a, you guessed it, Kate Shugak novel or a Liam Campbell…

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#thiswritinglife

Must be Tuesday …ten days from deadline… 4:20a Eyes pop open in realization that expository lump in Chapter 11 is neither informative nor amusing. 4:44a Bitterly acknowledge that there is no getting back to sleep and stagger into the kitchen in search of coffee. 5a Sit down at desk, open book, find section, rewrite, wonder…

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#thiswritinglife

When I sold my first multibook contract, back in the Dark Ages, the immediate response from my new publisher was a multipage questionnaire asking me what I would do to help them publicize my books. Would I reach out to local media? Would I do signings? Would I tour?  This was so long ago that…

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#thiswritinglife

Some people who like my books have formed an organization called the Danamaniacs. They have a page on Facebook, here, and have given me permission to post there. On June 5th, I gave them an update on the status of Theft of an Idol, aka Isis3 or the third Eye of Isis novel, as follows:…

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#thiswritinglife

I am frequently asked what a writer needs in the way of reference works. There are a lot of obvious answers, a dictionary, a thesaurus, a desk encyclopedia, nowadays all of which are available via Mr. Google. But if I were stranded on a desert island–with my laptop, or at the very least pen and…

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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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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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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 4. Make your protagonist a hero, if not in his own eyes then in everyone else’s. A hero is better than you and me; that’s why they are heroes and why they deserve their own novel and you and I don’t. How?…

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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 3. Put your protagonist at risk. Physically, mentally, emotionally, any or all. Liam Campbell jumped out of an airplane (on purpose), was nearly flattened by a herd of walrus, and has been shot at and missed far too many times. We won’t…

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