Thursday, August 19, 2010

Starting to Query

DEATHBLOW is finally finished. 73,000 words read, re-read, corrected, re-written, every flaw ferreted out. I have sent a query to my four top choice agents. Those who say they are (a) looking for crime fiction, (b) they encourage new authors, and(c) who have a sales list of the sort of authors that I would like to become some day.

So, just when I thought my manuscript was flawless, and I'm sending the first chapter to an agent, I notice a typo! Give me strength.

Now that I have my third mystery novel done, The Man I Married zings this thought at me. My strong suit, he says, is humor, and instead of police crime, I should seriously write funny crime or funny detective novels—whatever. He's got a point. I have written humor columns for newspapers for years, and I crack myself up. It's something to consider.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Common Writing Mistakes

I find the most common "stupid" mistake I make in writing can be titled the I Knew What I Meant mistake. For example, my alpha reader will say, "What's your detective talking about? He's referring to his notes, but notes from where? From whom?" I say, "From the people at the fireworks, of course." And he says, "Well, maybe you know that, but you've got to tell your reader that." And my mind says to me, "Duh!" because he is absolutely right and I have made that stupid mistake again.

I use "stupid" mistake to distinguish this type of error from my other "careless" mistakes, "inaccurate" mistakes, and "bad writing habits" mistakes. To name only a few of my mistakes.

The big lesson in this post is that a person should always, always have readers. Bless them!

Monday, August 2, 2010


I have been reading various justifications regarding self-publishing recently, written by self-published authors. The points I see made most often are: (1) Self-publishing does not have to mean lack of literary quality, because authors who strive for excellence often self publish. I will admit this is true. (2) Self-publishing is a viable option in the face of increasingly picky agents and publishers. I will agree that agents and publishers are becoming more selective.

I have quibbles, however. (1) As a reader, I can trust that traditional publishing guarantees that I'm not going to pay good money for absolute dreck, whereas with self-publishing there's no artistic winnowing---it's a crap shoot. (2) As a writer, I ask myself, if no literary professional thinks my book is good enough to invest money in, why would I, a literary amateur, invest in its publication?