Meet Matthew Peters | Thriller Author Shares Words of Wisdom

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Ready to Publish

Matthew Peters writes page-turning fiction, and he’s the author of a new novel, The Brothers’ Keepers. Early reviewers have compared The Brothers’ Keepers to Dan Brown’s De Vinci Code, but Matthew Peters’s novel is actually better written. It’s the kind of novel that a few years back, might have been snapped up by an agent and found wide distribution in […]

Anton Chekhov | How Many Characters Should A Story Have?

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Readers

Anton Chekhov’s vivid characters live in our imaginations to this day. One of my favorites is “Lady With the Pet Dog,” also translated as “Lady With the Little Dog.” If you’ve never read his stories, or haven’t read them in a long time, here’s a site with audio recordings of them. Sit with the characters, as […]

How To Set Up A Critique Group | 5 Cardinal Rules

All writers get butterflies when they submit works-in-progress to a critique group. No matter how experienced or professional we might pretend to be, we writers have thin skins. A critique group can do a lot of good. It can help a writer identify one-dimensional characters and boring plots. But, writing groups can also do a […]

Storyboard Your Novel | A Road Map To The Climax

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

In Hollywood a storyboard helps directors plan their projects. Storyboards provide a quick and easy way to visualize the ups and downs of the plot. Writers working on scripts use storyboards to make sure the “beats” (key story developments) fall where they should. Fiction writers can use a storyboard to imagine where a story needs […]

Web Tools | A New Author’s Guide To 3 Simple Book-Launch Apps

Web tools are a huge help to new authors, especially those who are late-life writers. We seniors didn’t grow up with the internet and social media, and frankly, it can all be a bit daunting. You say you’d rather be writing than dealing with marketing issues? Well, me, too! But, you can’t expect readers to […]

A Conversation with Nick Mamatas About Lovecraft’s Legacy, Writing Conventions, and His New Novel ‘I Am Providence’

by Marylee MacDonald in

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Intriguing book. I hadn’t even heard about Lovecraft until a Scottish writer from Edinburgh gave me a heads up.

Book Reviews And How To Get Them

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Who Need Readers

How can new authors get book reviews? It doesn’t happen by magic. Before you can effectively market your book, you need 30 to 50 book reviews in online bookstores.   Why? Because book reviews provide social proof. Let’s say you’re a reader whose favorite genre is Cozy Mysteries. (Most readers have a pretty narrow bandwidth.) […]

Literary Prize Long List | Man Booker Finalists

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers

If there were one literary prize I would be honored to win, it’s the Man Booker Prize. What’s wonderful about the long-list is that it showcases the diversity and vitality of literary fiction. I was happy to discover some names I recognize among the many I don’t. Britain’s The Guardian published this list of finalists to […]

Does A Plot Outline Stifle Creativity Or Enhance It?

A plot outline can either stifle creativity or bring a novel’s plot into sharper focus. I don’t outline before I begin a novel, but when I am revising, an outline helps me make decisions about which scenes to keep and which to throw out. Scene Outline of Draft 1 When I began The Vermillion Sea […]

Story Arc | A Simple Way to Understand Plot

A story arc is the chain on which the pearls of your novel are strung. You can think of story arc as the things that happen—the scenes or episodes—from the beginning of the novel to its conclusion. The story arc—also called a narrative arc—is the same thing as plot. Some writers are naturals when it […]