Category: Writing

#thiswritinglife

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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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 2. Love your creeps. Put the villain on display and do it early in the narrative. Get your reader invested in the character and then betray the hell out of both of them. Read the rest at Writer’s Digest here.

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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction (written for Writer’s Digest) by Dana Stabenow I only wish I’d had this list when I began writing, but thirty-seven novels later I do have a few things figured out. I don’t follow all these rules slavishly. I say begin with the murder but…often I don’t. Every writer does…

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Note: On occasion on #thiswritinglife posts I include reviews of books on the craft of writing. Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is the book I recommend most often to aspiring authors. I reread it myself cover to cover every few years. Notenote: For aspiring Alaska authors I also recommend The Associated Press Stylebook…

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Long ago and far away 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…

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[from the stabenow.com archives, February 10, 2008, with present-day commentary also in bold] Okaaaaay, five days after publication of Prepared for Rage, I have received the first email wanting to know when the next Kate novel will be out. Laurie King and I were talking about this yesterday. We’re pleased and flattered that you “Just…

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[Originally posted on October 21, 2013. Repeating it here because reading is as much a part of #thiswritinglife as writing is. And because you never know what you’ll find inside a used book, or what will happen when you write a blog post about it.] I found this copy of Ernie Pyle’s Here is Your War in…

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