A short time ago, I had a free ebook on Kindle. “They Can’t take That Away From Me,” It’s a short story, under my alter ego’s name (J. A. Menzies), and it’s not quite like anything else I’ve written. Closer to thriller than mystery. I thought I’d use this as a jumping-off place to talk


Don’t let your readers get lost! A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that many writers sort of assume that the reader knows who is telling the story, especially if it’s telling a true story. If you haven’t read that post, you might want to read it first. As I said then, assuming your readers


Assuming the reader knows who you are is one of the most common mistakes I see both in personal stories and fiction. When using the first person point of view, many writers just start telling the story, assuming that the reader knows who “I” is. I mean, the writer knows who “I” is, so why


Yesterday, on my personal website, I posted a character sketch of my “hero” Glen Sauten, the protagonist of my first published book, The Best of Friends. If you’re writing fiction, you might want to check it out. The truth is, I broke two key writing rules when I wrote the book, and yet it still


I speak to a lot of aspiring fiction writers, and I find that the majority of them want to write a novel (or are already writing one). My advice to them is to write at least ten short stories first. Let me explain. Ed Hoch passed away on January 17, 2008, at the age of


If you’ve been in one of my workshops where I talk about writing fiction, I usually hand out small cards with these words on them: character, setting, plot, theme. For me, they are the four corners of all good fiction. But when you begin a story, you usually have only of these things: a character


I’m having lots of warm, fuzzy feelings while finally reading a book I picked up by chance last summer. The book is Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life, by Elizabeth George, author of more than a dozen great mystery novels. Part of the reason I’m enjoying it is that I