fiction writing photo

Can Good Writing Be Taught?

To celebrate the release of her newest novel, Last Night, Karen Ellis reflects on what makes great fiction writing and how to discover and unleash the voice within. It’s an old question and generally the answer is “No.” And yet I’ve been teaching creative writing for twenty-five years—teaching, or leading, workshops in basic fiction writing, suspense, […]

true event fiction

A True Event Can Make Riveting Fiction

A True Event Can Make Riveting Fiction  Glen David Gold’s novel Carter Beats the Devil (2001) opens with President Warren G. Harding gamely getting up on stage in a San Francisco theater to participate in a conjuring trick. Hours later, he’s dead. Were the two events connected? Suddenly the conjurer—the real-life Joseph Carter, a household name in […]

TEN TIPS FOR WRITING CRIME FICTION

The Five Don’ts of Writing

The Five Don’ts of Writing   Most of us have mulled over the myriad articles on ways to improve our writing, searching for that nugget of advice that will elevate our craft from mundane to marvelous.  How many times have you clicked on that kind of article or stopped at the magazine page to see […]

Fiction Writing from A to Z

Do you know your fiction writing ABCs? Fiction Writing from A to Z   Reminders about our craft make our imaginations burst into creative mode. From A to Z, we find sources of inspiration to keep us writing. I’ve chosen the first word that entered my mind for each letter as a means to keep […]

Four Crime Genres, Four Techniques to get you that Contract!

Four Crime Genres, Four Techniques to get you that Contract!

Four Crime Genres, Four Techniques to get you that Contract!   Psychological suspense, thrillers, horror, and mystery are popular subjects for a lot of genre writers. Yet all writers are already intimately familiar with these topics; so much of a writer’s life is an everyday encounter with most if not all of them. Supernatural self-belief, […]

If You Can’t Dream Up an Original Idea…Steal One

If You Can’t Dream Up an Original Idea…Steal One

If You Can’t Dream Up an Original Idea…Steal One   Like most published writers, I’ve moderated quite a few workshops in the art and craft of writing thrillers and mysteries.  In virtually every one of these sessions, one of the attendees will invariably raise his or her hand and tell me that they’ve been trying […]

Rules for an Aspiring Techno-Thriller Writer

Rules for an Aspiring Techno-Thriller Writer: I’ve been asked several times for advice to a new techno-thriller writer. I started making a list, and it’s gotten a lot longer than I expected. These are all things I’ve learned since I got into the business. Some were as Tom Clancy’s co-author (apprentice); others were after I struck […]

Why Setting Must Be Antagonistic

The Necessity of an Antagonistic Setting

The Necessity of an Antagonistic Setting A trait of a bestselling writer is the ability to raise the stakes for the protagonist. A writer often turns to obvious means of adding stress, tension, and conflict through characterization, dialogue, plot twists, and emotive conflict. Those are powerful tools, but an antagonistic setting means shaky ground for […]