Sunday, August 5, 2018

How To Write Bad Characters

image by neskita_flickr
How many ways are there for your characters to fall short of the compelling, three-dimensional ideal? A nearly infinite variety.
Flat. Two-dimensional. Thin. Stereotype. Underdeveloped. Implausible. Placeholder. Caricature. Insufficiently complex. Not fully fledged. Mere outlines. Sketches. Functions, not people. Poorly thought out.
For our purposes today, let’s call them “bad,” and let’s talk about the best ways to make your characters as bad as possible.
(Of course, what we really want is “good” characters – compelling, interesting characters who feel as real as people – but sometimes the best way to figure out how to do something is to start with how notto do it.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Michigan #SistersInCrime presents On Human Trafficking Aug4th Romeo Library via @Mi_SinC

Michigan Sisters In Crime presents On Human Trafficking August 4th Romeo District Library 

Michigan Sisters In Crime speaker, Lt. Wendy Reyes of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, is on the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.Human trafficking affects individuals across the world, and right here in Michigan. It is commonly regarded as the second largest criminal enterprise after drugs. Human trafficking affects every community in Michigan across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Open to members and non-members - Free Event
Date: Saturday, August 4, 2018
Time: 10:45am - 1:00pm
Location: Romeo District Library
Cost: FREE
For more info and to register, go to:
Michigan Sisters in Crime Member Info:
* We will be represented at Bouchercon. If you have a published book and want to donate it in a Bourchercon gift basket, bring it along on Aug. 4
* Also, for published members, send a headshot and link to your website or Amazon page to and we'll post it on our webpage.
Contact us for questions
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Monday, July 30, 2018

Writing Fiction: How To Write Evocative Characters Through Action And Strong Language


In this article, Damon Suede outlines how to use character action and strong language to lift your characters off the page.
One of the odd myths of fiction is that characters are just like people, only imaginary… as if Darcy and your mailman differed only in their fame, wealth, and relative eligibility. That’s nonsense, of course.
Characters share some characteristics with people but only enough to help them fulfil their function: to extract satisfying emotion from an audience.
One of the most obvious differences is that characters have to earn belief, while actual people get the benefit of the doubt. If we can see them and talk to them, then we assume they exist.
Characters have to convince an audience to believe. Characters don’t feel. Characters aren’t born. Characters don’t actually disobey their creators, although at times it feels like they do. The feelings are real. The characters are not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dialogue Tips for Mystery Writers

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Playing with sentence length in crime fiction. Is it time to trim the fat?

Today’s post is about creating tension in crime fiction with sentence length. I look at how overwriting can mar the pace of a novel and frustrate a reader, and how less can sometimes be more.
Playing with sentence length
This post featured in Joel Friedlander's Carnival of the Indies #93
Around eighty per cent of the books that end up in my editing studio are in the crime fiction genre.

One of the most common problems I encounter is overwriting. That’s not because the authors are poor writers. It’s because they’re nervous writers.

It takes a lot of hard graft to put enough words on a page to make a book. Yet it takes an equal amount of courage to remove them ... or some of them.

‘What if the reader just doesn’t get it?’
‘What if they’ve forgotten what I told them above?’
‘What if I haven’t provided enough detail?’
‘What if I just love both ways I’ve said that?’

These are the kinds of questions that result in anxious authors bulking up their prose.

In a bid to help you trim the fat, I’m going to explore the following:
  • Trusting your reader
  • Feisty fragments and snappy shorties
  • Damage by dilution
  • Letting go of what you love
read more

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing About Acts of Violence via Michigan Murder & Mayhem #motownwriters

by Jane Friedman  

As an editor who has seen countless first pages over the years, I’m familiar with the go-to scenes (and cliches) that often end up there. Alarms buzzing, phones ringing, and sun shining through the bedroom window make for common and often boring openings. In an effort to avoid that everyday boredom, some writers end up on the other extreme: sexual violence, murders, fatal car wrecks. They can pose some of the same problems—because they’re used so often and without distinction.
In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, writer Kim Brooks discusses how her creative writing students have been producing stories with shootings, stabbings, overdoses, and other TV-inspired physical insults. When she asks her students to avoid adding to the body count, their response: “Violence is interesting.”

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…So Much We Take For Granted* (via Michigan Murder & Mayhem) #MotownMoxie #Motownwriters #Michiganwriters

I’ll bet you’ve had this experience. You walk into a room, flick the light switch, and… nothing happens. Or you click to get online, only to get the message that there is no Internet connection. It’s a bit of a jolt when that sort of thing happens. Part of the reason is, of course, that you’re annoyed when the electricity, or the hot water, or the Internet, or…. isn’t available. But another part of it is that we take a lot of those things for granted. When something we take for granted suddenly isn’t there, this can be quite a jolt.
That jolt’s irritating at best in real life. But it can add interesting tension and even suspense to a crime novel. And the way in which characters cope with those jolts can add character depth.

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