Fiction My timeline is collapsing.

My timeline is collapsing.

Yesterday’s New York Times headline read, nay, screamed: Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says  (NYT, 3/15/18) … And blew my fictional timeline to bits. The first Joe Mayfield/Louise Napolitani novel, Fatal Score, turned on the idea that a good technological development (gene sequencing and analysis) is borrowed to shore …

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Mechanics Technique, again

Technique, again

I am taking a look yet again at my first novel, Fatal Score (initially called Hack the Yak), which I am preparing to query. I asked an editor to look at the first three chapters.  The results were eye-opening. When I began writing, I used interior monolog (protagonist’s thoughts), which I laid down in italics.  …

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Mechanics Pantser … or not

Pantser … or not

There are two approaches to writing fiction.  A Pantser writes from the seat of the pants. The writer lets the characters pull the story along. An Outliner (maybe we should say ‘Engineer’) lays out the story … the plot line … then begins writing.  So far, I’ve been a Pantser. My third novel has a …

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Mechanics Writing with Feeling

Writing with Feeling

I read a submission guideline the other day that sliced novelists into ‘beginner’ and ‘experienced’ using the following cleaver:  “you may consider your work for the experienced category if it has been critiqued by people other than friends and family.” I get it.  Your wife’s going to tell you it’s great.  Family harmony vs. weak …

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Mechanics Wearing a Suit and The Oxford Comma

Wearing a Suit and The Oxford Comma

I went to a shiva yesterday for a friend’s mother.  It was in the evening.  A bit uncertain about dress, I wore a conservative suit and a tie.  When I arrived, I realized most of the people were more casually dressed.  A bit embarrassed, I mentioned to a friend that I felt overdressed.  He said, …

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Mechanics Long words

Long words

My critique groups often lean on me for using bigger words than necessary. Particularly people who read and adore Hemingway. My weak defense is accuracy: I want the reader to get an exact picture. The response is, “in well-written work, sixty percent of the reader’s vision is what the author wrote; forty percent is drawn …

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Mechanics Pitch Conference

Pitch Conference

Ahh, the pitch conference.  Three minutes to explain your darling child of a novel to a polite but dubious agent.  Three minutes for her to ask probing questions that tear it apart. I enjoyed most of the Writers Digest pitch conference in St. Paul, Minnesota last Saturday.  The classes were more reminders of ideas we …

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