The Poetry of Fiction: Michael Byers and Percival’s Planet

by Marylee MacDonald in General

Two things set good writing apart from mediocre or just plain boring writing. One is the writer’s ability to sharply observe the world and render those observations in language that’s free of clichés. The other is the author’s knowledge, and mastery, of English grammar. A few years ago I offered a novel workshop to my […]

Discoverability and New Authors: How to Find Readers for Your Books

by Marylee MacDonald in General

“Discoverability” was a new term to me, but I heard it at the Digital Book World conference, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. “Discoverability” perfectly sums up what authors feel when they finally get their book finished, edited, and uploaded to Amazon. “I wrote my book! Yeah, me! But, uh oh, now what?” […]

Ten Questions for Dave Wickenden

by Dave Wickenden in Ten Questions

In this column, I’m asking subscribers to share their knowledge about writing, publishing, and marketing their books. I’m calling it “Ten Questions.” Thank you, Dave Wickenden, for letting readers know about your thrillers. You’ve written topical novels that spring from the same worries and concerns all of us share.–Marylee MacDonald Dave Wickenden’s Author Tip: “After I […]

Genuine Heroes and Heroines : Part 3

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters

What makes us care about a heroine or hero? Why do readers make the emotional investment in one protagonist and not another? In previous posts I’ve talked about flawed or dark main characters and protagonists who are average Joes or Janes. In this post, I’m going to talk about heroes and heroines whose heroic qualities […]

Ten Questions for Janice J. Richardson

by Janice J. Richardson in Ten Questions

In this column, I’m asking subscribers to share their knowledge about writing, publishing, and marketing their books. I’m calling it “Ten Questions.” Thank you, Janice J. Richardson, for letting readers know about your fun mystery series.–Marylee MacDonald Janice J. Richardson’s Author Tip: “Start with fingers on keyboard.  Ready, set…go!  Don’t agonize over the plot, wording, […]

Ten Questions for Jack A. Saarela

by Jack A. Saarela in Ten Questions

In this new column, I’m asking subscribers to share their knowledge about writing, publishing, and marketing their books. I’m calling it “Ten Questions.” Thank you, Jack Saarela, for getting this off to a great start.–Marylee MacDonald Because he believes it’s helpful to hear a manuscript read aloud, Jack Saarela recommends the free Natural Readers’ text-to-speech […]

Brooding and Tormented Main Characters | Part 2

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters

Characters who have tortured interior lives are dark characters. Dark protagonists are suffering and in pain. Often, they’re nonhuman: fallen angels, vampires, haunted detectives, or recovering addicts. The writer’s big challenge is to make these protagonists sufficiently likable that readers will stick with them until the end. And, from the author’s perspective, an additional challenge […]

Is Your Protagonist an Average Joe or Jane? Give Them a Shot at Greatness: Part 1

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters

Do you want readers to love your protagonist? Then you must make that protagonist a hero or heroine. This is the first of three posts that will discuss what it means to be heroic. This post talks about heroic characters who are average Joes and Janes, but who perform extraordinary actions. In my next post […]

Billy Battles: The Remarkable Life of a Reluctant Hero

by Ronald E. Yates in For Readers, For Writers Who Need Readers

This week I’ve invited Ron Yates to do a guest post about the hero of his historical-novel trilogy about the life and adventures of Billy Battles. Why am I featuring this series? Well, first, because I loved the first two books and have been eagerly awaiting this volume. And, second, because I know all authors […]

Revising for Tension

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

Are you putting pressure on your characters so that they’re forced to change? Do quiet characters have moments when they’re about to explode? Adding tension to a novel often means that you must deepen the characters’ intensity of emotion. Sometimes, you must even write new scenes to replace those that are just marking time. I’ll […]