THROW-AWAY-WORDS

I’ve written about these before. Probably the last time was when I used my sheet of words/phrases to analyze my most recently published book, ACT OF SURVIVAL, Book 4 The Second Chances Series, released in 2019. The list came to me originally from the great Margie Lawson. If you haven’t taken writing classes with her,…

On Writing Romantic Suspense

Writing romantic suspense involves the skillful juggling of romantic elements and nail-biting suspense. A daunting task but so rewarding when all the essential ingredients come together in a well-crafted, character-driven novel. Here are eight tips: Ask yourself: what is intriguing about the premise? What will attract readers to the book? In Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series,…

In Praise of Series Bibles

I never intended to write a series. Fifteen years ago, I couldn’t imagine anything beyond a novella, possibly a novel, about the following What-If scenario that had invaded my daily thoughts: What if a teacher-turned-lottery winner returns to her hometown, only to find herself the primary suspect in the murders of four blondes? Can she…

On Navigating the Murky Middle

By Joanne Guidoccio I love beginnings—in life and on the page. Anything and everything is possible whenever a blank slate appears before me. That momentum can last for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even longer. At least, that’s what I like to think whenever I begin a new writing project. A linear pantser, I write…

The Right Character Names

By Joanne Guidoccio “How attached are you to the name Anna May?” Sandy Isaac’s question took me and six other members of the critique group by surprise. While I appreciated most of the suggestions I had received, I wondered about Sandy’s question. Anna May Godfrey is one of the villains in A Season for Killing…

To Prologue or Not to Prologue

Whenever I’ve asked a writing instructor or workshop facilitator about prologues, I’ve encountered a variety of negative facial expressions—everything from a wince to a frown to a quick shake of the head. And the following responses: Agents hate prologues. Readers will skip to the first chapter. Prologues = Information Dumps. One instructor offered a ray…

On Planting Red Herrings

When I shared an early draft of A Season for Killing Blondes, a beta reader complimented me on my use of red herrings and suggested the title could also be considered a red herring. Puzzled, I asked for clarification. She explained, “A red herring is a literary device that leads readers toward a false conclusion….

In Praise of Affirmations

During my cancer journey, I read Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, and developed an interest in affirmations. What is an affirmation? An affirmation states an outcome or truth you wish to impress upon your mind. While the affirmation doesn’t actually make things happen, it can raise your vibration so that you are…

The Secret Art of Journaling

“Everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.” ~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey. Despite Miss Jane’s quotation above, what do Marcus Aurelius, Louisa May Alcott, Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci,…

Will a Change of Venue Help Writer’s Block?

Well, it’s not exactly writer’s block … sort of. In 2015, my cousin and I took a trip to Scotland to follow some family ancestry as well as for me to do some research for the fifth book in my series, “Partners, Heart of the Phoenix”. For my main character, AJ Donovan, it took years…