“And the winner is…”

“And the winner is…”

“And the winner is…” A reflection on writing success   I was pretty sure I’d win. After all, I’d been writing for six years—mostly for curriculum publishers and magazines, and I was confident that I really had my act together. The writers’ conference I was attending had a short-story-writing contest and, thankfully for me, although […]

From Covering Crime to Writing Crime

From Covering Crime to Writing Crime Author of  Desert Remains (Seventh Street Books)   “Hello. I’d like to see the menu. Thank you. Now if you wouldn’t mind listing the specials and telling me about the crime du jour.”   That was me, as a cocky young reporter, walking into the newsroom every morning, anticipating whatever […]

Top Five Places to Find Writing Inspiration

Top Five Places to Find Writing Inspiration

Top Five Places to Find Writing Inspiration One of my favorite parts of writing is the noodling. I love the mulling that comes before I’ve committed to what a story will be. I love choosing the tiniest grain of an idea and then going off to look for the things that will transform it into […]

How My Teenage Diaries Inspired My Novel

How My Teenage Diaries Inspired My Novel

How My Teenage Diaries Inspired My Novel   When I decided to write a novel with a dual timeline—present day with flashbacks to 1989—I got out my old teenage diaries for a bit of inspiration. As you might expect, there were times where I laughed or cringed as I read, but actually I was mostly […]

Five Tips for Writing a Compelling Legal Thriller

Five Tips for Writing a Compelling Legal Thriller   Courtroom Scenes Are Inherently Dramatic. A courtroom can provide a perfect locale for drama and tension. Events take place in a confined space. Authors can “play to the jury” while playing with readers’ expectations, allowing the suspense to build. Judges can be depicted as people who […]

Writers and Day Jobs

Writers and Day Jobs

Writers and Day Jobs A writer’s gotta have a day job. I knew that going in.   I was in high school back then, learning about the Civil War and differential calculus and the reproductive system of the earthworm. It was important stuff, all of it. Earthworms are hermaphrodites. They have both male and female […]

Jeff Abbott's Top Ten Writing Tips

Jeff Abbott’s Top Ten Writing Tips

Jeff Abbott’s Top Ten Writing Tips I think we’ve entered a time when we’re a lot more suspicious of writing advice than we used to be. A lot of writing chestnuts feel prescriptive to too many people—not everyone can write every day; sometimes, yes, you want to tell rather than show; passive voice isn’t inherently […]

Thirst: On Writing, Harry, & Flying Jumbo Jets by Jo Nesbø

Thirst: On Writing, Harry, & Flying Jumbo Jets by Jo Nesbø (Excerpts)

What am I thinking when I set out to write a book? First of all, I think it’s impossible. It’s impossible to transform my thoughts and feelings into letters that can convey them to a reader without losing most of—and the most important parts of—their meaning. And it’s definitely  impossible for these vague, sound-mimicking symbols to […]