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GREAT FICTION - LIKE A PAUSE BUTTON ON A REMOTE CONTROL

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There are criteria that writers and scholars use to define great fiction—theories that set rules and raise bars. And although definitions may change slightly with each successive generation, there is a common belief that all great fiction is tied together by a common denominator, regardless of genre or current trend. Author Steve Almond described it best when he said: “Literature is nothing less than an ongoing discussion about what it means to be human. It is intended to awaken compassion within the reader, and when necessary, distress.” (http://www.mobylives.com/Almond_Bloom.html)In other words, all great fiction is informed with emotion.              A writer’s most important goal is to make the reader identify with and care about what happens to the characters. Maren Elwood, professional writing coach and author who worked with thousands of writers during her lifetime states in her book Characters Make Your Story: “All art is concerned with the creation of an emotional reaction on…

HOW TO CREATE “DOUBLE-DUTY” SENTENCES

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A story is increasingly more interesting and enjoyable when the reader is able to visualize what a writer is communicating. Writers use metaphors and similes to make their writing more visual. A Double-Duty sentence does even more, acting like an analogy instead of a metaphor. You may ask, “What is the difference between an analogy and a metaphor?” A clear description can be found in Bradford Stull’s The Elements of Figurative Language (Longman, 2001) in which he states, “In essence, the analogy does not claim total identification, which is the property of the metaphor. It claims a similarity of relationships.” With this definition in mind, let us look at an ideal example of a Double-Duty sentence.
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was a prolific English writer who published works on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics and fiction, including detective stories. He is best known today for h…

DO YOU KNOW THE “BIG FOUR” FEMALE DETECTIVE WRITERS FROM THE “GOLDEN AGE”?

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If you’re a writer of detective fiction or someone who loves a good detective mystery, then you’ll want to learn all you can about the “Big Four” female detective writers from the 20s and 30s. Their combined work has sold in the billions. Okay, let’s take the leader out of the picture since her work has sold over 4 billion copies. That still leaves millions of books sold, which means there are millions of fans, which means millions of buyers. That ain’t chump change.
   1)Number one on the list is Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976). Creator of two of the best-loved detectives, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. She wrote the best-selling mystery of all time and one of the best-selling books of all time, And Then There Were None, selling over 100 million copies.



   2)Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 – 1957). Creator of one of the great detectives of the “Golden Age,” Lord Peter Wimsey—sophisticated, witty and with a high social standing. Sayers was also a translator, translating Dante’s Divine Comedy,…

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER

You want to be a writer, eh? Okay, then; what will you need to do? Here are 12 ways in which you can begin:
1stand foremost, a writer must understand his/her own language.(We’ll go into greater depth on this subject and those that follow in subsequent blog posts.)A writer must understand that writing is more than simply putting two or more words together to create a sentence.A writer must understand that writing is more than simply telling a story.A writer must understand that all words have meaning, and this meaning will reflect differently to different people.A writer must be fascinated with words, and have a passion about length of sentences, metaphor, simile, rhythm and flow, and the aesthetic appearance of how words appear on a page.A writer must understand originality.A writer must be inventive.A writer must be succinct.A writer may not always hit the center of the bullseye, but he must, at the very least, have the ability to hit the target.A writer must carefully choose words th…

LIN ANDERSON: THE STRUCTURE OF STORY PART III

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Today, I'm excited to re-introduce Lin Anderson for Part 3 of her 3-part series on The Structure of Story. Lin has a lot of writing experience, having published eight novels, which feature forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod. Her books have been translated into several langauages and are in development for TV. Her short stories have appeared in a number of collections, most recently Dead Close was chosen for the Best of British Crime 2011. Also a screenwriter, her film River Child won a BAFTA and the Celtic Film Festival best fiction award. Lin's website is: http://www.lin-anderson.com/
In this essay, Lin talks about the importance of the ending and how it relates to all that has come before it. To illustrate her thoughts, Lin has included one of her short stories, One Good Turn.
Part 3: The Resolution
Before you write your resolution I'd like you to consider one thing. What image/thought/emotion do you want your reader to have in their heads when they reach the last word, beca…

JANE ISAAC: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

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Today, I'm excited to introduce fellow mystery writer and guest blogger Jane Isaac. Jane is the author of the psychological thriller, An Unfamiliar Murder.
Jane lives in rural Northamptonshire, UK. She studied creative writing, and later specialist fiction with the London School of Journalism. Jane is not only a mystery writer, she is also an avid reader, a mum, a dog lover and a traveler. Recently, she has had two short stories accepted for crime anthologies, so please listen up – she knows what she’s talking about.
Here is her fact-filled essay:
The Devil is in the Detail
No matter what genre you write, every book carries some element of research and, for crime fiction, the weight is a heavy one. There’s not only police procedure, plotlines, areas and events to study, but also people. What’s the secret formula behind the great characters in fiction? Research. Investment into creating and layering our characters gives them the depth to become ‘real’.
As writers we are great people w…

A GOOD INTERVIEW IS AN EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

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Less than 1 month ago, I had the honor of being interviewed by Laurie Hanan, http://www.wix.com/lauriehanan/laurie-hanan the author of Almost Paradiseand How Far is Heaven, for her blog. Laurie lives in Hawaii. (I know, I jealous, too.) The interview gave me a chance to talk about my books in depth, which is something an author rarely gets to do. It also gave me an opportunity to pause and contemplate my writing. A good interview, meaning questions that go deeper than "how long did it take you to write this book?" forces you to examine your conscience. It is something I recommend for everyone - authors and non authors alike. You may be surprised by your answers. Here is my interview in its entirety.

It is an honor to have with me today the very talented novelist, playwright, artist, and jeweler, Gerard Bianco. He is the author of the award-winning mystery/thrillerThe Deal Master.His latest book,Discipline: A Play recently won the Editor’s Choice Award. He is a contributing au…

MAKING YOUR OPENING SENTENCES FLOW

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I've spent 6 days on the first two paragraphs of my latest short story. I'm close to getting them the way I want. They're not quite there yet. I want them to flow. I want the reader to slide into the story without realizing he is being taken for a ride. I want him/her to feel as if they are floating with the current on smooth seas, not fighting against it, which means, I want to give the reader as much information as I can, enticing him to continue reading, but not overloading him with too much information. Let me show you what I mean. Here are the first few sentences from my story before editing: One day I came home and found a man lying on my living room rug. Ordinarily, this would have been a delightful surprise, but my discovery was far from normal. The man was dead! Here is the new version: I went for a walk one morning, and when I returned, I found a handsome man stretched out on my living room rug. I’m gay, so ordinarily this would have been a delightful surprise. But…

LIN ANDERSON: THE STRUCTURE OF STORY, PART II

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Today, I'm excited to re-introduce Lin Anderson for Part 2 of her 3-part series on The Structure of Story. Lin has a lot of writing experience, having published eight novels, which feature forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod. Her books have been translated into several langauages and are in development for TV. Her short stories have appeared in a number of collections, most recently Dead Close was chosen for the Best of British Crime 2011. Also a screenwriter, her film River Child won a BAFTA and the Celtic Film Festival best fiction award. Lin's website is: http://www.lin-anderson.com/


Part 2: The Muddle in the Middle
As I said in my opening piece, human beings intuitively understand when a story works. That’s probably most obvious when sitting in a packed cinema. The collective intelligence of the audience knows when things are going slack in the story. This happens usually in the middle section when the audience starts to fidget and eat their popcorn. They’ve dropped out of the …