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Find your novel's ending

Novel Ideas #25: “Find Your Ending”

Have you had this happen to you? The End comes too soon, leaving you feeling unsatisfied. OR, the whole thing just goes on and on, for far too long -- a complete anti-climax. We've all been there, at one time or another. An author leaves us hanging with a too clever cliff-hanger. Another author, unwilling to leave her magical world, adds a half-dozen chapters after the dramatic "final" scene, and desperately works to tie up every possible loose end. You don't want to disappoint your own readers by committing either of these two … [Read More...]

Plot builds Setting

Novel Ideas #7: “Setting Builds Foundation”

So you've got a cool story to tell, with a crafty plot. Great! Now, where should you "put" it? And does it really matter? Doesn't Plot outrank Setting, like, totally? Yes and no. Where your story happens can have an enormous influence on everything from pacing and subplots, to secondary characters and their behavior. Can you imagine a Stephen King novel that does NOT involve the state of Maine, one way or another? (Yes, even Roland in the Dark Tower Series visits Maine!) Where your story happens can also make your books more … [Read More...]

Author, director, inventor Tony Verna 2014

Goodbye my friend: Tony Verna – author, director, inventor

My friend is gone. I didn't see it coming; he was only 81 years-old. Author, director, and inventor Tony Verna died late last week, after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (according to ABC News). Although I spoke with him earlier this month, he never said a word. Well, other than a modest, "feeling under the weather" in an email he sent me January 13. I'm shocked and deeply saddened by Tony's death. Hell, I thought he'd outlive me. He never seemed "old," you know? He always sounded the same on the phone: a gravelly baritone … [Read More...]

our dog Layla

On writing, deadlines, and the flu

What's the best medicine for the flu? You might think it's Tamiflu® or Theraflu® or maybe honey and whiskey (tea?). My wife's doctor recommended cough medicine plus Tylenol®. (What's with all the T-medicines, anyway?) Each of those products may be fine for treating the symptoms. What about a cure for the flu? Turns out, the vaccine only works in advance; so that's not much help once your have the flue. From what I've seen this year, the best medicine for the flu is ... laughter. That's right -- laughter. Let's face it, suffering … [Read More...]

Reviews: Of books and authors

Editor’s review of “The Fires of Waterland” by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

"poignant and compelling -- don't miss it" In The Fires of Waterland, emerging author Raymond Alexander Kukkee has produced a powerful coming-of-age tale. His characters are vividly drawn, with utterly convincing dialogue. The story of Fletcher Williams' troubled but hope-filled childhood develops through a series of bittersweet flashbacks. We learn that "Fletch" is an orphan; but his hard-drinking father still lives. We meet his luckless mother, then lose her without warning. In between … [Read More...]

Tips on writing and blogging and stuff

Novel Ideas #7: “Setting Builds Foundation”

So you've got a cool story to tell, with a crafty plot. Great! Now, where should you "put" it? And does it really matter? … [Read More...]

Novel Ideas: #14 “Dogs Must Live!”

You may think you have a perfectly rational reason for killing a dog in your novel. Maybe he's a very large, rabid dog. … [Read More...]

Novel Ideas: #1 “Start Writing”

Those first words are critical, aren't they? (Hell, I tried and tossed a dozen different sentences to start this post!} The … [Read More...]

Mandy's Pages Website

How many Mystery Writers does it take to change a light bulb? ~ Two. One to screw it most of the way in, and another to give it a really interesting twist at the end!

courtesy of the Reader's Digest, October issue

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