If only the Internet gave out (legitimate) MFAs

I do not have an MFA, and I’ve barely taken any writing classes. Oh, there were a few in high school and undergrad — my book is actually dedicated to my high school creative writing teacher — but when I think about my development as a writer, those aren’t the experiences I think about. No. Instead, I think about what might be the writers’ equivalent to the school of hard…

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Agony of The First Line

Thursday, December 25, 2014

How do I hate writing first lines? Let me count the ways! Actually, I even hated coming up with the first line of this very post. But as the other Debs have noted, I know first lines are super important. Critical, in fact. They immediately reveal so much about your characters and their worldview. Which is why, while working on TINY PRETTY THINGS, we had to think four times as…


Writing Craft 101: Why Description Isn’t Just About Setting–It’s About Character

Friday, May 9, 2014

(This discussion assumes you’re writing in first or close-in third points of views. That is, you’re filtering the story though one or more characters’ worldviews.) I’ve been thinking about how description gets a bum rap in many corners of the fiction world, especially in my world of crime, thriller and suspense writing. Even my mom wants nothing to do with description. My mom! (By the way, she’ll never read Kilmoon….


Suspense For Dummies, Or, Keep the Questions Coming, Baby

Friday, January 17, 2014

We all know what suspense is, right? Suspense is that thing, you know, that causes you to turn the pages because you want to know what happens next. Uh-huh, and I’m sure you’ve heard well-meaning instructors say things like, The secret to writing a thriller (or any genre) is suspense. You’ve got to have suspense on every page. And you’re agreeing, nodding your head and thinking, Totally makes sense. I’m…


Craft Week: How to Wield Significant Detail in Fiction Writing

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome to Craft Week at the Debutante Ball! This week, each Deb will post about a writing craft topic near and dear to her heart. John Dufresne, the author of The Lie that Tells a Truth, a really great writing book if you’re in the market for one, often uses the word convince as the goal of a fiction writer. Who are we convincing? What are we convincing them of?…