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Showing posts from December, 2021

Protagonists and Antagonists

  Characters are the beating heart of a story, with the protagonist as the most vital component of that organ. Here are a collection of posts we've written about protagonists and antagonists.   One Method of Creating Characters in Fiction Pat Stoltey Friday, April 23, 2010 I once heard mystery author Diane Mott Davidson speak at a convention. She said her fictional victims were often based on annoying people she met in real life. [ Read more ]   Busted!—Janet Fitch caught championing an unlikable protagonist Kathryn Craft Friday, April 1, 2011 Unlikeable protagonists are commonplace these days. Why? Maybe writers took the advice that their characters should be flawed and ran away with it. Or maybe, with so many of the educated middle class out of work, losing their homes, or in over their heads in credit card debt, we writers are looking for a new kind of hero. Someone even w

Ask the Editor

  Photo by Peter Holmboe | Pexels We ran an extensive and popular Ask The Editor series here at The Blood-Red Pencil , starting in 2009. Here is a selection of the top posts from that series.   Ask the Editor: Selling an E-book to a Print Publisher Jesaka Long answers a question from Susan Culp: Thursday, January 22, 2009 Ask the Editor: Selling an E-book to a Print Publisher Question: Would I have difficulty interesting a print publisher in my book if it has already been published as an e-book? What would be the drawback, if any? [ Read more ]   Ask the Editor- Showing passage of time in fiction Lauri Kubuitsile answers Betsy Rosenthal's question: Saturday, March 21, 2009 Ask the Editor- Showing passage of time in fiction Can you offer any tips on how to show passage of time whe

Traditional Publishing

  Although we now focus quite heavily on indie and self-publishing here at The Blood-Red Pencil , many of our early posts were geared towards helping authors navigate the traditional publishing gauntlet, from completed manuscript, to agent queries and pitches, to landing that much-coveted book deal with one of the large publishing houses.   Countdown to a Book One of the most comprehensive series of posts we ran here was Kathryn Craft 's seventeen-post epic account of her journey through the traditional publication process, starting with her realisation that she needed help long before she could even think about querying an agent. Friday, October 5, 2012 Countdown to a Book 1: Joining Hands It was 2001 and I’d been a dance critic for eighteen years, paid for my writing all the while. I had this writing thing in the bag. I just needed an agent to get my recently drafted novel out i

Procrastination plus Writer's Block

A look at past Blood Red Pencil posts indicates procrastination is a challenge for many and often comes hand-in-hand with writer's block.      My Cure for Writer’s Block and Procrastination Pat Stoltey: "Last year I needed something more drastic. A new approach to motivating myself." Tuesday, June 12, 2018 My Cure for Writer’s Block and Procrastination   Everybody has a cure, right? A way to pull yourself out of the doldrums and get back to being a writer who writes. We try them all from setting timers and typing gibberish to practicing with writing prompts until an idea kicks in. Maybe we try three morning pages every day... [ Read more ]       How do I Procrastinate? Heidi Thomas:   Monday, March 7, 2011 How do I Procrastinate? I hereby dub myself “Queen of the Proc

Let's Talk About Sex - Handling Sex Scenes and Sexual Tension in Your Book

Writing sex scenes: an awkward topic, but not one we've shied away from .    Ask the Editor - Sex Scenes in a Romance Novel   Shelley Thrasher advises using the CLICK acronym. Tuesday, January 27, 2009 Ask the Editor - Sex Scenes in a Romance Novel Question: I would like to know in contemporary romance, what is the rule of thumb as to how many sex scenes there should be in a novel. Michele Cameron Moments of Clarity Michele, I’ve edited about fifty contemporary romances during the past four years and have never... [ Read more ]   Scintillating Sex or Subtle Suggestion Linda Lane: Friday, February 14, 2014 Scintillating Sex or Subtle Suggestion It has been said that love makes the world go ’round, and many of us still believe that. Back in 1955 (for those who are old enou

Pet Peeves

Image via Flickr / Sharon Drummond Every author and every editor has at least one pet peeve when it comes to how a collection of words should be set down upon any given page, and those of us contributing to the Blood-Red Pencil are no exception.    Things that Drive an Editor Crazy   Maryann Miller's post regarding her pet peeves ruffled quite a few feathers...  Tuesday, October 7, 2008 Things That Drive An Editor Crazy I’ve been editing for a long time and am still amazed at how often I see common mistakes repeated over and over again. For instance: Fred walked out, taking the file with him. You don’t need ‘with him’. If he took the file, it’s with him, DUH!! [ Read more ]     May I Say a Word in My Defense?   ... and prompted a follow-up post.   Sunday, January 24, 2010 May I say a

13 Years Ago

Blood-Red Pencil founder Dani Greer brought together a group of fellow editors in the second half of 2008, with the idea of creating a repository of articles offering writing and editing advice. Thirteen years later, this humble blog now contains nearly 2,500 posts and over 30,000 comments. Here is a selection of posts from our first full month in operation. As Dani says, "We came out of the gate strong. Wow."   The Curse of Commas : L.J. Sellers discusses rules for commas that are open to interpretation. Friday, September 26, 2008 The Curse of Commas Commas are the single worst thing about being an editor. How can such a tiny little piece of punctuation cause so much time-sucking anguish? The rules are both inflexible and squishy at the same time.... [ Read more ]   Naming Your Characters : Elle Carter Neal offers advice for choosing the perfect name for your characters

Talking Genre

Each December our bloggers take a break while we look back at a few of the thousands of posts we've created over the years here at the Blood-Red Pencil. We'll start off with Genre . Secrets of Genre Strategy : Morgan Mandel shares some secrets for getting noticed in your genre.   Monday, July 20, 2015 Secrets of Genre Strategy Today, I'd like to share some secrets for getting noticed in your genre. First, it's a step in the right direction to write a great book. However, these days that's not enough. Amidst the vast competition, somehow your gem must stand out and get noticed. Genre strategy is one way to do that. Here are some secrets to achieve that: Be specific. Narrow down your genre . For example, don't just say you've written a romance. The romance genre contains... [ Read more ]    Playing the Genre Game : Linda Lane offers a warning that being too vague