do and don't · how to break the rules well · writing problems

Opening scenes: murder

Starting with a murder is common in the thriller/mystery/suspense genres. The kill kicks off the plot. The scene might lead the reader astray with red herrings. It might agonize us because we know things the detectives don’t. Just because it works doesn’t mean you should start with the murder. The murder opening isn’t just a… Continue reading Opening scenes: murder

diversity tips · how to break the rules well · writing problems

Historical accuracy in fantasy

Yesterday I talked about the Tolkien-retelling issue. Let’s go over another common problem: historical comparison. Watch your medieval facts. The Dark Ages weren’t idyllic. Sure, it’s fantasy and you can make stuff up. But why is bronze stronger than steel and horses able to gallop all day long? History buffs will rip you apart unless… Continue reading Historical accuracy in fantasy

do and don't · how to break the rules well · writing problems

Quotes under chapter headings

Starting each chapter with a quote is a frustrating trend among writers. I see multiple manuscripts every day do this. I never read the quotes. I’m reading to get a sense of the writing style and plotting capability. I don’t care about some pretty words the author dreamed up to give voice to historical backstory.… Continue reading Quotes under chapter headings