Category: Writing

#thiswritinglife

Remember earlier in #thiswritinglife I enjoined the writers among you to never pass up an opportunity to stretch your writing muscle. And then Byron Birdsall got in touch to ask me to write a foreword to his collection of black-and-white drawings called Byron Birdsall’s Alaska. Never pass up an opportunity to stretch your writing muscle.…

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#thiswritinglife

[ITW interview with Gwen Florio, upon the publication of Less Than a Treason in 2017. Edited.] You are best known for your twenty-book series featuring Kate Shugak, an Aleut private investigator who lives in a fictional park in Alaska (we’ll get to the other three series in a bit). Let me repeat that: twenty books…

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#thiswritinglife

Storyknife Press: a publishing opportunity This year Storyknife has our first writers in cabins! We survived our capital construction campaign, construction, and covid, and we are now fulfilling our mission to support women writers by providing them with the time and space and inspiration (that view!) and fellowship they need to write books we will all…

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#thiswritinglife

I finished the first draft of the third Eye of Isis novel last week, and under strict instructions from the August writers in residence at Storyknife I am to take a week off. Relax. Take a walk on the beach. Drink a bottle of wine with friends. Read books instead of writing them. If only.…

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#thiswritinglife

[Written at Laurie King’s request for The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing, 2012.] Those “Eureka!” moments Writing successfully is sweat equity.  Butt in the chair, hour after hour, grinding out sentences and paragraphs and pages, none of which, one is grimly aware, may make the final cut when it comes time to edit.…

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#thiswritinglife

If you write long enough, eventually someone will ask you to contribute a chapter for a serial novel. What is a serial novel, you ask? In the archaic meaning, it’s a work of fiction published in installments–think of Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop and people in New York waiting on the docks for the ship…

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#thiswritinglife

Change, growing from within and forced from without, is the mainspring of character development.—Rita Mae Brown Anticipation is the sweet pain to know whatever’s next–a must for every real writer.—Richard Ford If you happen to be one of the fretful minority who can do creative work, never force an idea; you’ll abort it if you…

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#thiswritinglife

So, in Theft of an Idol (Isis3), Tetisheri discovers a body in the desert. I’m from the Arctic myself. I have a very rudimentary notion of how bodies decay (or don’t) in the cold, and no notion at all of what happens if they are left out in the Sahara. This requires some research. Google,…

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#thiswritinglife

Time. In crime fiction time is the essence of detection. If Whositz says “I was sleeping with my mistress when my wife was murdered” the first thing the detective on the case will do is verify that alibi. If Whositz is seen leaving his mistress’ house by the back alley in time to get home,…

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#thiswritinglife

Years ago I taught a class on “The Business of Writing” at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. One of the segments was how to write a query letter, and included a sample query letter I wrote to give my students an idea of how to get their toe in the door. From my syllabus: 3] …

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