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


Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw


Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.


Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/


Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)


Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:


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. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Is Your Prose Flat?

Is your prose flatter than a fiddle left out in the rain?

Does the scene you’ve written lie there on the page like malodorous gym socks on the floor next to the clothes hamper? Is your work as flavorless as Aunt Molly’s tofu casserole?


Well, my friend, step up close. All you need is a taste of Nancy Pickard’s pre-

patented prose perking up process. It’s not fattening and sugar free. It contains

no more alcohol than the law allows, although it can become habit-forming.


It’s not my idea but it works. Here’s how.


Read your piece and check Nancy’s recipe. Does your work include the ingredients

below?


Conflict: Conflict is the basis of all drama. Does somebody want something? Does your heroine want to prove that her best friend did not really spike the postal carrier’s lemonade with powdered oleander? Does she want to survive an attack by the baseball bat wielding rodeo clown?


Action: A movie director does not start filming by shouting, “Think about it.” Something has to happen. It may be internal action as well as external action. Does the scene advance the plot? If it does not, pull out your red pencil and start slashing.


Emotional shift (Turn): Someone should experience a change of emotional state. Although it is usually a character, occasionally it may be the reader. Lee Child’s hero, Jack Reacher, doesn’t show much change in emotion as he decimates the opposition but the author does a masterful job of evoking emotion in readers.


Surprise: There is a reason birthday, special occasion and holiday gifts are almost always wrapped. The gift the recipient gives to the giver is the surprise and excitement he or she shows while unwrapping the present. I suspect part of Steig Larsson’s appeal, despite the need for better editing, is his ability to take his readers unaware. Humor and horror both rely on surprise.


For extra flavor and to enhance emotional involvement by readers, try to use as many senses as possible in every scene. For me sight and sound are easy. I have to look for chances to include the rest.


Will Nancy’s pick-you-up make you a national best-selling author, winner of Agatha, Anthony, Macavity and Shamus awards and many others? Nope, you’ll have to settle for being a better writer and earn awards on your own.


Whoa, no pushing, son. There’s plenty to go around. Yes, Ma’am, that’s it Uncork the bottle. Drink deeply.


Step right up, sir. Step right up.


Count your change before you leave the window.

4 comments:

Pauline Alldred said...

Sounds like great advice, Warren. Thanks for the reminder. Worrying about grammar and line-editing isn't going to help if the conflict and emotion isn't there.

Ramona said...

I think clowns are scary--and now there's one wielding a baseball bat? Thanks for the nightmare!

Other than that minor complaint, good stuff! I like acronyms, so Conflict + Action + Surprise + Emotion = CASE. Got it. Will remember it.

Warren Bull said...

The system was invented by Nancy Pickard. I think its great.

jrlindermuth said...

Characters are merely a collection of words unless the emotions aren't there to bring them (and the story) to life.