Writing excellent back cover copy doesn’t happen by accident. Using a formula of sorts can help you. There are five parts to really excellent back cover copy (plus one extra for cozy mysteries). Back cover copy is an incredibly important marketing tool for your book. It includes a hook to grab the reader’s attention. It then hits the core elements of the plot in the most enticing manner possible. This copy is the second thing a potential reader will use to judge whether or not the book is for them (first is the cover). Just like a teaser from a television show or a movie trailer, the back cover copy in a book gives the potential audience enough about the story to pique their interest. It is what draws them in and gets them to commit to reading the first page (which is the third step in a reader’s decision-making process). Here are the five steps for writing really excellent …

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Creating compelling characters is, in great part, contingent on how those characters engage with the plot. Do things happen TO them? Or do things happen BECAUSE of them? A character to whom things happen is not nearly as interesting as a character who makes things happen. Keep reading for three tips to writing compelling characters who are active participants in their stories. Character Study Let’s look at a character study, first: Ivy Culpepper is the amateur sleuth from my Bread Shop mysteries in Kneaded to Death. Scenario One Ivy’s mother has just died. She returns home to be with her father and brother. She starts taking a bread making class for no particular reason. One of the classmates dies. The bread shop owner, Olaya, is a suspect. Although Ivy likes Olaya, she doesn’t want to get involved and chooses not to. A few clues happen to appear in her path. The police find the clues, too, and the case is …

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Writing a scene takes thought. Before starting, it is a good idea to ask yourself a few questions. This will help you hone in on the core elements of the scene you are planning, and will (hopefully) make it much easier to write. Today I have 6 questions to ask yourself before writing a scene. 1. What is the purpose of your scene?a) Will it advance the plot? If so, how?b) Will it introduce a new character or develop an existing      one? If so, how?c) Will it develop the romance (if there is one)?d) If you are writing a mystery, does it introduce a clue or   a suspect or a red herring?e) does it introduce a conflict? If so, what? 2. What characters will be in the scene? Try not to over-populate a scene. Too many characters make it difficult for the reader to follow. 3. What is the conflict in the Scene?a) is it internal (throwing an obstacle in the way of the  …

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Deep POV is a technique that moves the reader so far into a character’s head that they are completely engrossed. It is the surest means to grab your reader’s attention… and keep it. It’s also sometimes called Limited 3rd, meaning you are in only one person’s head through an entire scene, and the reader sees everything through that lens. There are 4 steps needed when establishing Deep Point of View. SHOWING vs. TELLING First, let’s take a broad stroke look. When an author writes in Deep POV, they are showing, not telling. The author uses all the sensory details (what the character is seeing, tasting, etc), but more than that, it goes into the POV character’s mind, showing how he/she FEELS and WHAT he/she THINKs. It also helps develop voice because Deep POV avoids AUTHOR INTRUSION at all cost! This means there are no:      • He thought, she thought, I thought, I could see, he felt, etc. The …

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What makes a book a page-turner? It’s easy to say it is the plot and the characters that keep readers turning the pages. That is definitely part of it, but when you really think about it, it’s the killer scenes, one after another after another that make a story compelling. The end of one scene draws the reader into the next scene. That doesn’t happen by accident. A good writer knows the elements of a scene and how to construct it to keep the reader engaged and turning the page. Here I have 6 Tips for Writing a Killer Scene. First, what is a SCENE? You have to understand what something is before you can really get better at it. So let’s take a look at the definition: SCENE (n) A story unit containing a single and continuous dramatic action. Okay. Easy enough.  Or is it? It is when you really dig and analyze the parts of a scene that …

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Writing may be your passion. It is certainly mine. It can, however, take you on a roller coaster of emotions. It can bring up emotions we aren’t necessarily prepared to deal with. It can be mentally exhausting. By the end of a really great writing day, my brain is, simply put, tired. Add to that moments of doubt. Those doubts may manifest through questioning our ability, maybe our talent, and sometimes even wondering whether or not we should be devoting this much time to something so unsure…something that may not make us any money in the end. We tend to work alone, which can be isolating. So much of the time, we live in our heads, creating characters and conflict and entire worlds there, all to the exclusion of living in the real world. Regular people don’t really understand what that’s like. Only fellow writers tend to really ‘get’ what other writers go through. Below is my Top Ten List …

Top 10 List of Writing Tips Read more »