Thursday, December 30, 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

One Method of Creating Characters in Fiction

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

Busted!—Janet Fitch caught championing an unlikable protagonist

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 worse off, who found the strength to make a difference.

To make that work you must get your reader to bond with this character. How do you do that?

[Read more]


Hearing Voices: The Sound of Kindness

Dani Greer

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hearing Voices: The Sound of Kindness

Writers of thrillers and police procedurals often research first-hand what their characters might do by going on “ride-alongs” with policemen or listening in on official dispatchers. I doubt, however, that most authors spend 16 hours a day over the course of a week observing a major crisis. That’s where I had an epiphany that could well work its way into some future story. Not only did I get all the fast-paced plot as this tense real-life story unfolded, I got to hear and know the characters.

[Read more]


Building Character

Shon Bacon

Monday, March 8, 2010

Building Character

Throughout the course of a story, your character [main character(s)] will undergo change(s), and it is through his/her features and traits (the things that make up the character) and his/her actions and speech that will illustrate the change(s) for the reader.

The first thing to ask yourself is: Who are my main characters? These characters will be “round” and “dynamic”, meaning these characters are complex, realistic. These are the character we care deeply about – we want to see them succeed (or fail if they are despicable characters…or change if they are despicable characters). There is a depth to their personalities that is reflective to how we live in the real world.

[Read more]


Putting Yourself into Your Book

The late Helen Ginger

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Putting Yourself into Your Book

Everyone knows that if you write fiction, then you write fiction. You don't put yourself into your book. And, yet, most of us do just that. We put ourselves into our books.

Think of the lawyers who write legal thrillers. They put bits and pieces of themselves in their book. They write from their experience and knowledge. What they know goes into the story. They may even base their protagonist on themselves or on friends or acquaintances.

I'm an ex-mermaid who wrote a book, Angel Sometimes, with a protagonist who is a mermaid.

[Read more]



Interpersonal Characterisation

Elle Carter Neal

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interpersonal Characterisation

Think of the last book you read or movie you watched that made you reach for the tissue box (if only metaphorically, perhaps). Can you remember the exact scene that required you to deal with some dust in your eye? Was it a dramatic action scene, or was it a reaction scene?

I’ll use the movie The Champ as an example. A character dies in a dramatic action scene, but it is not the death scene that has the audience weeping. The actual lump-in-the-throat moment occurs... 
[Read more]



Combining Characters

Kathryn Craft 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Combining Characters

Fiction writers must sometimes combine two characters into one, said BRP editor Helen Ginger in a recent post.

That was such a juicy little aside to her main point that I couldn’t let it rest. Why might an editor suggest you combine characters?

Here’s my take on it:

Characters aren’t really people.

[Read more]



Antagonist Conflict Scenes

Diana Hurwitz

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Antagonist Conflict Scenes

Antagonist Conflict scenes introduce us to the antagonist or antagonistic forces. This is your verbal camera focused on stage right.

These scenes test the protagonist’s and antagonist’s knowledge, ingenuity, and strength. They are battles of will and wit.

These scenes zero in on the conflict between the two opposing characters. Other characters may be present, but the focus is on...

[Read more]



When's the Last Time You Took Your Antagonist on a Date?

Shon Bacon

Monday, October 14, 2013

When's the Last Time You Took Your Antagonist on a Date?

About a month ago, I came across the following quote online by screenwriter, comedian, film producer, and comic book writer John Rogers:

You don't really understand an antagonist until you understand why he's a protagonist in his own version of the world.

I found the quote intriguing. Not to say we discard antagonists, but often in writing, especially in that developmental stage of a story where we're trying to get the bones of it down, we think about our main character, the protagonist. We write an elaborate backstory for this "good guy" or "gal" and flesh the character out into a living, breathing person complete with yearning and laden with obstacles and burdens.

[Read more]



Choosing Your Antagonist

Diana Hurwitz

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Choosing Your Antagonist

If you have an antagonist, it should be someone the reader loves to hate. It will be more interesting if he has some redeeming feature or at least feels he has just cause for his behavior. Amoral monsters, used frequently in horror, are less interesting. Personal stakes, even for the antagonist, make the tension higher.

In most genres, this character or entity has a goal that is the opposite of the protagonist’s goal. If the protagonist wants to uncover a mystery, the antagonist must be...

[Read more]

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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 when the narration is in first person present tense?

[Read more]


Ask the Editor: Tips for self-editing burnout 

Kathryn Craft answers Nicole Langan's question:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ask the Editor: Tips for self-editing burnout

What are some helpful tips on how an author can train their own editing eye even when they've read their own work a million times?

[Read more]


Ask the Editor: Strong Female Characters 

The late Helen Ginger answered a question from Darden North:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ask the Editor: Strong Female Characters

It seems that some agents and publishers are looking for fictional works that feature strong female characters. Can you define a strong female character?

[Read more]


Ask the Editor Free-For-All Is Back Today 

A free-for-all, with questions being asked and answered in the comments section:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ask the Editor Free-For-All Is Back Today

Ask the Editor Free-For-All is here to provide help. Our Editors are on hand to answer your questions about writing basics, manuscript submissions to publishers or agents, aspects of traditional and/or self-publishing, and more.

[Read more]


Thursday, December 23, 2021

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 into the world.

(Experienced authors: I hear you. Quit laughing.)

Today, however, in this new series that will count down to the publication of my traditionally published debut novel late next year, I will not tell you how I got my agent...

[Read more]


Not Right For Us At This Time

Guest blogger Nancy Martin, the author of more than fifty novels, shares rejection letter translations skills she's gained over the course of her prolific career.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not Right For Us At This Time

“Sorry, this manuscript isn’t right for us at this time.”

"We will pass on this one but please send us more submissions."

Have you received one of these emails after sending a manuscript or partial to an agent? This kind of rejection note generally means your writing is good, but your story idea is one that the agent can't sell. The real message? Put this manuscript in a drawer and write something fresh for us because your writing isn’t the problem.

Part of the frustration...

[Read more]


Agents and Conferences

The late Helen Ginger with some tips on approaching agents at conferences:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Agents and Conferences

Conferences used to be about learning to write. They had workshops on Editing, POV, Cutting the Passive Verbs, etc. Now it seems most of them are about finding an agent. The conference will have three or even twenty agents in attendance. Attendees can sign up to pitch to an agent. If there’s a pre-conference cocktail party, attendees show up in hopes an agent or two will be there and they can meet them and possibly fit in a pitch.

But the truth is …

[Read more]


Dos & Don'ts of Synopsis Writing

Sylvia Dickey Smith on crafting your synopsis.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dos & Don'ts of Synopsis Writing

A strong synopsis showcases your characters and plot, and demonstrates your ability to structure a story. It shows a cohesive plot worthy of an agent or editor’s attention and time, and allows your agent, publisher, marketing department or overseas acquisitions editor to sell your story.


1. If possible, write your synopsis before you start your first draft.

[Read more]


Compiled by Elle Carter Neal


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

2022 January - March and Early Registration Writers Conferences and Workshops

 January to March 2022 & Early Registration Events

Whether a one day session, one week conference, or a month-long writing workshop, writing related events are a good way to commune with other writers. They are opportunities to network and get your name out there. In some instances, you can meet and mingle with editors and agents. Some offer critiques or pitching sessions. Nowhere will you find a higher concentration of introverts enjoying each other's company. Local conferences are a good place to meet potential critique groups or recruit members. Note that information for this list is accurate as to what was available in December 2021. Dates and formats may change. Some events may be postponed or cancelled.

Some are free. Some require a fee. Some are more social than others. Many are for new writers, but a few dig deep into craft. You should choose an event that speaks to your needs and desires.

Unfortunately, with the pandemic, many in person events have been cancelled. Some have been replaced with virtual events, podcasts, or online classes and lectures. Virtual events allow for a wider audience and lower costs since attendance does not require travel and lodging. Many plans remain up in the air as the situation shifts.


May 19 - 23, 2022 Bear River Writers' Conference registration opens February 7, 2022. Boyne City, Michigan.

April 8 -  9, 2022 25TH Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia. Registration begins in January.

April 28 - 30, 2022 Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Conference will be. It will be a hybrid event at the Sheraton Grand Chicago and online. Registration opened November 1, 2021.

March 24 - 26, 2022 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, workshop. Registration opens at noon (EST) on Dec. 9, 2021 for the in-person workshop and a virtual package.

July 11 - 17, 2022 Fishtrap Summer Weekend, Wallowa Lake Lodge, Joseph, Oregon registration begins February 21, 2022.

March 8 - 13, 2022 Get Away to Write Retreat, New Smyrna Beach, FL. Registration is open now.

May 13 – 15, 2022 35th Annual Pennwriters Conference, Lancaster, PA  registration opens in January for the one day prior intensives and the three-day conference.


January 6 - 16, 2022 The Pacific University Residency Writers Conference in Seaside, Oregon.

January 10 - 14, 2022 Key West Literary Seminar and Writers' Workshop Program, Key West, Florida

January 14 - 17, 2022 Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway at Seaview Hotel near Atlantic City, NJ is an in-person conference.

January 14 - 17, 2022 The Colrain Poetry Intensive will be via Zoom this year.

January 15 - 22, 2022 Annual Writers In Paradise Conference, Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida has in person mask and vaccine requirements. May be cancelled if necessary.

February 5, 2022 Murder in the Magic City, Homewood Library, Birmingham, Alabama is an in-person event.

February 9th -12th, 2022 Superstars Writing Seminars, Colorado Springs, Colorado is in person and has vaccine, testing, and mask requirements. Visit the site for details. 

February 17 - 19, 2022 Life, the Universe and Everything Conference in Provo, Utah plans an in person event with mask and vaccine requirements please visit the site for specifics.

February 17 – 20, 2022 San Francisco Writers Conference in San Francisco will be an in-person event.

February 18 - 20, 2022 Southern California Writers Conference at the Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California plans an in person event.

February 24 - 27, 2022 Writers Studio at UCLA Extension, UCLA, California has moved this signature intensive workshop series to a fully online environment combining Zoom-based meetings, offline independent work time, small group activities, and other approaches to learning. The conference also features daily guest speakers and a keynote presentation by an industry professional of note.

February 27, 2022 Book-EM, Lumberton, North Carolina will be a virtual event starting at 10:00 a.m.

March 4 - 6, 2022 Futurescapes Conference at Utah Valley University will be virtual this year.

March 10 - 13, 2022 New York Pitch has a Zoom online event

March 17 - 20, 2022 New York Pitch a live event in NYC.

March 12 -13, 2022 Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona Campus plans an in person event this year.

March 18 - 19, 2022 Mid-South Christian Writers Conference will be an online event this year.

March 18 - 20, 2022 Clockwork Alchemy Steampunk Conference at the Hyatt Regency SFO, Burlingame, CA. Panel discussions on all things steampunk.

March 18 - 19, 2022 Door County Young Writers Conference is an in-person event at Sturgeon Bay High School. Check their site for other online classes and events throughout the year. 

March 19 - 20, 2022 Chicago Writers Association Conference, Warwick Allerton in Chicago, Illinois has mask, testing, and vaccine requirements. Please visit their site for details.

March 23 - 26, 2022 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference & Bookfair, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Convention Center will have in person and virtual components.

March 24 - 26, 2022 53rd University of North Dakota Writers Conference details pending.

March 30 - April 2, 2022 The National Black Writers Conference is a virtual event this year.

March 30 - April 2, 2022 Wild Seeds Writers Retreat at Medgar Evers College at CUNY in Brooklyn, NY will be a virtual event for 2022.

Posted by Diana Hurwitz, author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

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 Procrastinators.” How do I procrastinate? Let me count the ways... [Read more]



Journaling Your Way to Creativity

Shonell Bacon:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Journaling Your Way to Creativity

As the first-half of 2014 closes and the second-half opens, some of us writers might find our writing much like us when we step outside in the heat: wilted.

This month, I wanted to share one of my favorite ways of reinvigorating my creative writing: journaling...

[Read more]



Overcoming Writer's Block

Diana Hurwitz:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Overcoming Writer's Block

Writer's block is most often internal resistance based on fear which drives writers to self-sabotage and procrastinate. If you expose the source, you can battle it

[Read more]



Every Month Can be a New Beginning

Pat Stoltey: "...Overwhelmed Writer Rescue is for those of us who have problems related to procrastination, balancing writing time with work and family, or prioritizing projects."

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Every Month Can be a New Beginning

We tend to make yearly resolutions or goals, setting our desires down in a tidy list that acts like a straight jacket, holding us to the promises of January 1st no matter what happens in February or July or November. Failure to meet one or more of those goals... [Read more]



 Selected by Ann Parker

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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


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 enough to remember), a romantic Frank Sinatra ballad compared love and marriage to a horse and carriage, stating in both cases that they were inseparable. Is that true?

[Read more]


The sexual journey: Exploring erotica with Kathy Kulig, Part I

Kathryn Craft interviews Kathy Kulig:

Monday, October 25, 2010

The sexual journey: Exploring erotica with Kathy Kulig, Part I

Gutsy heroines and hunky heroes face the unexpected and overcome formidable odds, because with courage, true love can find a way…

Such are the steamy romances Kathy Kulig loves to read and the stories she loves to write. Her erotica has been published in print, e-books and anthologies... [Read more]


Monday, October 25, 2010

The sexual journey: Exploring erotica with Kathy Kulig, Part II

Kathryn Craft: You write under your own name; others take on pen names. What went into this decision, for you? [Read more]

Shon Bacon interviews Rachelle Chase:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Talking Sexual Overtones with Author Rachelle Chase

Two years ago, I talked to author Rachelle Chase about writing sex scenes as part of a series on my blog All the Blog's a Page. For the talk, I asked two questions: Is sex an important component to develop in your writing, and how are you able to weave it into a work and also have a strong plot development? Her detailed response is... [Read more]

Jim Thomsen chimes in with a post about sexual tension:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sexual Tension Is Sexier Than Sex

One of the sexiest scenes I've ever read in a novel can be found in Free Fire, a mystery by C.J. Box. In it, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett teams with Judy Demming, a National Park Service ranger, to investigate a killing in Yellowstone National Park... [Read more]


Shon Bacon interviews Samara King:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Let's Talk about Sex (in Writing) with Author Samara King

I don’t call Samara my favorite romance author because she’s my best friend. No, I call her that because her stories have wonderful blends of intriguing characters, humor, fierce attraction between heroine and hero, great sex, great stories (so that the sex isn’t just a prop), and a fast pace that makes you want to race to the end of the story... [Read more]

Thursday, December 9, 2021

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 Word in my Defense?

In looking for some old posts to link to in a new blog post, I discovered that my post about what drives this editor crazy had 43 responses. Some of them made good points that encouraged me to rethink some of my editing pet peeves, a few were personal attacks -- but okay, I'm a big girl, I can take that -- and several defended the use of ordinary, common word usage. [Read more]


Pet Peeves 

Jo Klemm

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pet Peeves

I assume anyone taking time to read this blog has some sort of vested interest in language. We write, teach, or edit. For that reason, I also assume we each probably have our personal grammatical pet peeves. You know what I mean, those words or phrases that, when used incorrectly, run chills up your spine.

 [Read more]


Release Your Peeves 

Craig Lancaster

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Release Your Peeves

I pay the bills as a newspaper copy editor. This is an altogether different creature from a book editor. Those of us who punch daily deadlines are the short-order cooks of the publishing world; we read and edit reams of copy in a compressed window of time.

In many ways, the pressure-cooker aspects of the job lend themselves to the cultivation of pet peeves -- little word burrs under our saddle that we automatically change to something more palatable (to us, if to no one else). [Read more]


Whom is the Person Which I Know?

Elle Carter Neal

Monday, August 30, 2010

Whom is the Person Which I Know?

Recently Craig Lancaster wrote about pet peeves and whether we really should be holding onto them so tightly. I’m guilty of dozens of peeves and have bitten my tongue blue trying to be polite to my family who are equally guilty of misusing my peeves; sometimes deliberately. Craig’s post reminded me that we had some Ask the Editor questions about the proper use of who, whom, which, and that.  [Read more]


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Naming Your Characters

Many writers are uncomfortable about starting a book without having found the right name for at least their main character. It’s easier to work with a "working title" for the book than a "working name" for a character. Once the author gets to know their characters, their names can become almost as entrenched as the writer’s own, and having to change them can be very off putting.... [Read more]


Politics and the English Language : Dani Greer shares an essay of George Orwell's:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Politics and the English Language

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent... [Read more]


Ten Tips for Self-Editing : Lillie Ammann shares her top tips for editing your own work:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ten Tips for Self-Editing

You’re faced with editing your first draft. Where do you start? What do you look for? Here’s an overview to get you started.

1. Remember that writing... [Read more]



Don't Kill Her, Chop Her Legs Off : Sylvia Dickey Smith has some extreme advice for us:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Don't Kill Her, Chop Her Legs Off

You don’t always need to kill your... [Read more]


What Does an Editor Cost? : Our most popular and most commented on post. Not much has changed, including debate over fair and affordable editing costs.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What does an editor cost?

It's all well and good to tell a writer they need a professional editor to peruse their manuscript before submitting to an agent or publisher. But, how much does that cost?

[Read more]


 Compiled by Dani Greer

Thursday, December 2, 2021

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 will cost you readers (and buyers). 


Friday, July 10, 2015

Playing the Genre Game

A shopper stops at a table in a bookstore where an author is having a book signing.

Shopper picks up the book. “What’s your genre?”

Author smiles. “It’s sort of a cozy, romantic, mysterious thriller for new adults.”

Shopper frowns. “Excuse me?” ... [Read more]



A Tale of Two Genres : Carola Dunn talks about the complexities of subcategories in the romance and mystery genres. 


Monday, July 27, 2015

A Tale of Two Genres

I’ve been writing “genre fiction” for 36 years. I began with romance, then moved on to mystery.

That’s the simple version.

For a start, I wrote Regency romance, not just... [Read more]



Mystery, Suspense, or Romance : Terry Odell discusses the fact that some genre categories are too broad.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Mystery, Suspense, or Romance

Although I write romantic suspense, I'm not happy with the moniker the industry gave to the genre. According to the publishing industry, romantic suspense includes all romance-themed mystery sub-genres, from cozy to thriller. There's the added... [Read more]



Anything But Cozy : Robin Spano dropped in to chat about the merits of a ratings system for books, like that applied to movies.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Anything but Cozy

Books should come with ratings, like movies.

As a reader, I'd mostly select R-rated titles, like I do with movies. Not because I love sex and violence, but because I like stories that push the limits of conventional expectations, and I find that most authors who push those limits don't limit their characters to polite language. ... [Read more]

Compiled by Elle Carter Neal