If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.


Friday, November 5, 2010

One is the Loneliest Number

One is the Loneliest Number

Apart from writing teams, like the original Ellery Queen, writing is a solitary activity. Like other writers, I have given up activities I enjoy, avoided friends and family, and lost sleep to pursue the muse. Fortunately, I have an understanding wife who can tell from the look on my face when I am involved in an important internal writing discussion over matters such as whether a semicolon would work better than a period or the word “and” or whether “punched” be more appropriate than “clobbered.”

Writing is one solitary activity that absolutely requires other people. I don’t know any successful writers who can compose work entirely on their own. Every accomplished writer has what author Joel Goldberg describes as at least one “informed reader” who has the skills and knowledge to give meaningful feedback about the author’s unfinished work. The reader could be an editor, an agent, a writing partner, a teacher or a critique group. In addition to knowing about writing, the reader needs have no personal agenda and the credibility to give negative comments in addition to pointing out strengths.

Much as I like compliments, and believe me, I LIKE compliments about my writing. What I value even more, are comments on what needs improvement. I believe there is a thin line between work that gets published and work that almost gets published.

There is no guarantee of publication, of course. Your brilliant depiction of vampire Viennese poodles may have arrived just after a story about vampire Viennese poodles has been accepted. Tastes vary of course. More than one editor has said he or she liked my writing without ever accepting any for publication.

Most of my experience has been with critique groups although I have one writer/publisher/friend who can critique my work and have it sounding more like what I would write than what I did write.

Who helps you write?


Ramona said...

Warren, I also get good feedback from critique group partners, but I have found the most valuable person in my help arsenal is a non-writer. She's strictly a reader. If she doesn't get it, I assume no other reader will get it, so I'm not doing my job well enough. Pretty simple.

Warren Bull said...

My wife is my first reader. Despite being foolish enough to marry me, she's a bright lady. If she says, "Huh?" it means my writing is not clear and I need to change something

Pauline Alldred said...

I agree that a non-writing reader can be the most helpful reader. They're not looking to see if you're keeping up with the latest publishing trends or following an article on what agents want. Non-writing readers want a good read and they're not going to tolerate confusion. I have friends from work or neighbors who comment truthfully on my characters and let me know what they like to read.

I also have critique partners or teachers who sit on my shoulder while I'm writing. Sometimes I have to go through a goodbye process because I find I've outgrown one of my former critics.

E. B. Davis said...

Critique partners, who are other writers, knowing little of me personally. The people near me always judge in a personal way, not a professional way. That type of review isn't helpful and isn't to the same exacting standards that writers possess. You're right Warren, it is a dichotomy of singular writing with the help of the writers' village.

jennymilch said...

Oh, who helps me write? I wouldn't have room to write them all! I rely on a group of trusty readers that would fill a tour bus to write the supposedly solitary novel: my agent (she gets it last though), TBEITW (The Best Editor in the World, a freelancer I'm lucky enough to get for free), several writer friends, and people everybody always says NOT to rely on--but who in my case feel free to tear things to shreds--my husband and parents and siblings. They all read widely varying types of things and thus catch everything under the sun in my work.

Warren Bull said...


It's great that you have readers who are honest enough to rip your work to pieces and fantastic that you trust them enough to listen. What a family!

Jillian said...

I have a critique group as well as a beta reader that is first and foremost a reader. She helps the most with what works and what doesn't. Sometimes the crit group gets bogged down in the minute stuff-such as whether there should or shouldn't be a capital letter after the quote mark. (Have an ongoing debate on that with one member) That is so not what I need. LOL.

Carolyn J. Rose said...

My husband (and sometimes co-author) bounce around ideas while we walk and I solicit opinions from the teachers I work with and the women who swim with me at the community center. I'm also fortunate to have had a long-term working relationship with book doctor Elizabeth Lyon. She's the go-to person for big questions about craft.