Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘writing’

The Dangers of Critiques: A Blast from the Past

(I am hip deep in edits and my brain isn’t focusing on anything but those. So here’s a post from December 2016 about critiques. I’ll add a few additional comments at the end.– ASG)

As writers, we are going to see our work critiqued, whether we want to or not. Most of the time we don’t want to. Let’s be honest, no one likes hearing that their baby is ugly and that is what we risk when we read a critique. However, before we ever see our work in print, many of us workshop our work in critique groups or we have alpha and beta readers look it over. Then there are the editors. We trust them to tell us what is good about our work and what is bad about it.

But what do we do with that information once we get it? Read more

Writers, morality and the #MeToo fallout

I’ve been pondering whether to write this post for the better part of a week. I’d been hearing rumbling from traditionally published authors about a contract clause that is as evil–their words and I agree–as the rights grabbing clauses that have become common in publishing contracts. But then, several days ago, an op-ed piece appeared in the NYT and I knew what I needed to write. The clause? A morality clause. Yes, you read that right. More and more traditional publishers are now including a morality clause in their contracts. Read more

The Unreliable Narrator




I’m quite fond of this device, though I admit that in its simplest form (“and then I woke up and it was all a dream”) it has been done to death. No, I didn’t think Agatha Christie was cheating in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and I enjoyed the double-impostor twist of Mary Stewart’s The Ivy Tree with its narrator who misleads us delightfully by telling the truth… just, not all the truth. So I was pleased to see a new twist on this in one of the fantasy novels I’ve been reading via Kindle Unlimited, and I’ve made a note of the author for further reading.

In W.B. McKay’s Bound by Faerie the narrator is hired to retrieve a magical artifact. She’s warned in advance:

Today, however, we’d gotten word that Lou was in possession of a heavily enchanted necklace. I hadn’t been given any particulars about its power, just a strict warning not to put it on and a description.

 Of course she puts it on – what do you think? It’s part of the rules of the game, isn’t it? Psyche brings in a lamp to gaze on Cupid, Beauty picks up the only remaining spindle in the kingdom, and McKay’s Sophie Morrigan puts on the necklace, part of whose enchantment is the power to lure her into doing exactly that. Read more

And the light dawns

Day before yesterday, I downloaded a bunch of books. They were of different genres. Some were from traditional publishers. Others were small press or indie published. My goal was to simply sit back for an evening or three and read. I haven’t done that in a very long time and looked forward to it.

Of course, as with battle plans not surviving the first encounter with the enemy, those plans went up in flames, at least metaphorically speaking. The first book, which sounded so good from the blurb and seemed well written from the sample, soon fell flat. There wasn’t a trope the author didn’t like and embrace to the point where I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Fortunately, it was one I’d gotten as part of Kindle Unlimited. It was returned. Read more


Or perhaps “wut?”

That’s pretty much been what I’ve said to a lot of things recently. Everything from my current WIPs to industry news, I’ve been scratching my head and wondering “what?”. Sometimes, it’s been with a degree of amazement and wonder, sometimes sheer befuddlement. All of it has been with a great deal of head shaking and wondering what in the hell is going on. Read more

Kate is being held hostage by the internet gods

Poor Kate. She’s traveling right now and has found herself at the mercy of hotel internet, almost non-existent hotel internet. In the message she finally managed to get out to Sarah and me, it had taken five minutes to load email. She was terrified she’d grow old and die, her body not being found for months or longer if she tried to get WordPress to load and then upload a blog post. So I said I’d throw something together. So bear with me as I try to get my uncaffeinated brain to function enough to work.

Over the last few days, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what Mad Genius Club is. The blog has come a long way since Sarah and Dave started it 10 years ago. (In fact, it has been 10 years and month almost to the day since our first post went live.) In that time, we’ve seen changes in writers and in direction. The template has changed and so has the tone of the blog. That’s all good, at least it is in my opinion. The last thing Sarah and Dave wanted was for the blog to grow stagnant. Read more

Choppy Waters Ahead

For those registered U.S. voters, today is the day for mid-term elections. That means our media (mainstream, social, alternative, etc) is filled with all things politics. If you wade through it all, sifting through the piles of excrement, you might find a glimmer of truth somewhere. “Might” being the operative word. For those who dislike politics or who grew tired of political ads long ago, today can’t get over soon enough. But for those who love observing human nature–or who write about politics, the media, twisted characters–today is a day to sit back, observe and take notes.

No, I’m not going to get into a political discussion here. That’s for other blogs I write for. This is all about writing and about how, as writers, we need to not only do research but we need to observe what is going on around us. It doesn’t matter whether  you write political thrillers, courtroom dramas or military fiction. You need to know how people will react, what motivates them and why in the situations you put them in. And then there’s the research. Read more