A Woman Called Sage

Mel Starr

Genre Happenings

The Genesis of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

The period from conception to birth for humans is nine months. Gestation for fictional humans may be longer. Master Hugh de Singleton’s genesis required thirty-five years.

While teaching middle school history in Portage, Michigan, in the early 1970s, an eighth-grade student asked if I would be...

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Melanie Dobson

For Writers

Write What You Don’t Know

Friends often ask what I enjoy most about writing. I explain that my favorite part of “writing” isn’t the actual writing. It’s the research. I love exploring houses and museums, tracking down names and places, and turning the crisp pages of a diary written more than a hundred years ago as I gather information to shape...
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Brandilyn Collins

Making A Scene


Are your subplots as effective as your main plot? Often a novel can be enhanced by an effective secondary plot or two. Here are a few pointers:

1. Allow the subplot to grow naturally out of your characters’ (particularly the protagonist’s) personal lives. This might be a romantic subplot. Or a plot involving a problem that the character continually faces. For example, in my Hidden Faces suspense series, Annie’s son, Stephen, provides a dramatic subplot in the first three books.

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Sue Duffy

Author By Night

A Little Fiction on the Side

If you’re writing a novel while holding down a day job, it helps if your spouse is a cook or doesn’t mind eating chicken from the gas station down the street. In my case, it was the Exxon.

It also helps to lobotomize the part of your brain that controls the impulse to dust. To vacuum. To pull weeds. In fact, you should...

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Kathy Carlton Willis

For Readers

Elements Of A Good Book

One of our readers requested tips on how to evaluate and appreciate good novels. Last month we discussed how to dig deeper when reading, and this month we’re looking at the elemental ingredients of excellent writing. If you take the time to analyze each of these areas while reading, you’ll discover layers cleverly crafted to create a stand-out novel.

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