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


July Interviews













7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets


Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson

**********************************************************************************************************

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!


Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.


KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.


Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.


Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.