ABOUT ANNE FRASIER
Anne Frasier (a.k.a. Theresa Weir) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of thirty books. Her memoir, The Orchard, was an Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the October Indie Next List, a B+ featured title in Entertainment Weekly, a One Book One Community Read, Target Book Club Pick, and Books-A-Million Book Club Pick.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
6. Fear of telling:
This is a big one. Show don't tell has been hammered into us for so long that we are terrified of divulging any information without showing. But some telling is okay. Telling is bad when it would be more powerful to show us, but feeding us a sentence or two of information is perfectly okay.
7. Word repetition:
This seems harmless enough, but it's about as annoying as a dripping faucet. Repetitions words, especially unusual words, can stop the reader, or at least distract the reader. Sometimes repetition can't be helped, but try to avoid it whenever possible.
8. Allowing reader to make assumptions and write her own story:
if you don't give reader adequate information, she will begin filling in the blanks with her own story. Suddenly the reader is trying to balance the story she is making up, with the story on the page.
9. Lack of conflict:
Here's another one we hear all of the time, yet it's also a rule that many new writers ignore. Try to establish the conflict in first scene. When I point out this problem to writers, I've been told: My story isn't an adventure, or isn't a thriller, or isn't suspense.
I just thought of this, so I haven't tested it, but I'm thinking you should be able to come up with a pitch for any book, any television show, any movie, after fifteen minutes of reading or viewing. Probably less. I'm going to start testing that to see how long it takes on average.
What is this story about? That's the question the reader is asking, that's the question she wants answered so she can sit back and enjoy the ride.
10. Not establishing main story line in opening, or at least close to opening:
This goes hand-in-hand with establishing conflict. Let us know what the main character is up against as quickly as possible. If you don't, the reader will once again go off on her own, trying to figure it out. You're writing the story; not the reader.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Here's my biggest writing problem, and it's so big it deserves a post of its own.
I ALWAYS reach a point where I'm so anxious to kick the manuscript out the door that I mentally shut down and move it to the finished pile even when it isn't finished. This is completely different from not being able to see the holes because I'm too close; this is just a wall I hit and I'm done, done, done. I could put it away for a month and I'd still feel the same. I actually reach a point where I have to be able to convince myself that I'm finished.
And after all of these years, I still don't know if I'm deluding myself or if I'm actually done. Someone has to tell me it's not finished, and then the veil lifts. But sometimes a writer needs to be done. For that moment, we need to believe the freakin' thing is finished.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I started putting together a list of writing tips, hoping to come up with 10. Right now I'm up to 63. :D So now I'm hoping I can hit 100. I'll try to post groups of five every so often. I would say every Sunday, but I don't know if I'll stick to that. I'm going to start with five problems that are all related and occur in many manuscripts, mine included.
1. Thinking you've told us something you haven't.
2. Not giving reader enough information. Making us work too hard to figure out what the hell is going on.
3. Not allowing characters to react to events.
4. Trying to create mystery by withholding information.
5. Thinking you understand point of view when you really don't. It's not enough to simply have the POV character in the scene. Put us in that character's head so we know what he's thinking about events going on around him.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Once Upon a Crime
604 w.26th St. Minneapolis
from Pat and Gary:
52 Authors in four hours! (see schedule below). If you haven't been to one of these, or actually, even if you have, you probably ask “where do you put them all?” Well, we've often wondered that ourselves; it does get cozy. Fortunately, the book racks are on wheels, and we move them all out, except for the large “local” rack. So this probably won’t be the best time to browse, or to sit and chat with us. But we guarantee a good time, home-made “crime-themed” refreshments and some special giveaways!
Among the invited authors this year are several current and former Minnesota Book Award finalists and winners, some Edgar award winners and nominees, plus winners and nominees of just about every other mystery award available. To round things out we're even having a National Book Award winner, and a Hugo award nominee. Such incredible talent we're blessed with. But enough about awards. Awards are neat, and bring with them a certain degree quality assurance, but all of these authors are great, and we're lucky to be associated with them.
Two lovely and talented ladies from “out of state” will be joining us as “honorary locals for the day”: Libby Fischer Hellmann (Chicago) and Victoria Houston (Rhinelander, WI). Both are no strangers to Once Upon a Crime, and enjoy a strong following among our customers. We're honored to have them. In addition to appearing at our store whenever they each have a new book out, this will be Victoria’s second “Write of Spring”. Libby was also here for our “Once Upon a Crime” anthology party last fall.
Speaking of anthologies, the Write of Spring is a great opportunity to collect scads of signatures! We'll have on hand the editors and most of the authors of four terrific mystery anthologies: The Silence of the Loons”, “Resort to Murder”, “Twin Cities Noir”, and “Once Upon a Crime”. Bring out your inner autograph hound, and get several – they make great gifts.
12:00 JOEL ARNOLD; JUDITH YATES BORGER; LAURA CHILDS; KATIE DeCOSSE; MONICA FERRIS; PETE HAUTMAN;
LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN; PRISCILLA HERBISON; KATHLEEN HILLS; WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER; JACKIE MAHER;
DAVID OPPEGAARD; DEBORAH WOODWORTH
1:00 CARL BROOKINS; GARY BUSH; JAN DUNLAP; MARGARET FRAZER; BRIAN FREEMAN; ELLEN HART;
VICTORIA HOUSTON; CAMILLE HYYTINEN; JENIFER LeCLAIR; ANDREA SISCO; BETH SOLHEIM; ROGER STELLJES;
2:00 BARBARA DaCOSTA; PAT DENNIS; BARBARA FISTER; STEVE HORWITZ; DAVID HOUSEWRIGHT; CHUCK LOGAN; LARRY MILLETT; JULIE SCHAPER; RICK SHEFCHIK; ANTHONY NEIL SMITH; STEVE THAYER; CHRISTOPHER VALEN;
3:00 KJ ERICKSON; WILLIAM FIETZER; LOIS GREIMAN; BOB GUST; JUDITH KOLL HEALEY; DEAN HOVEY;
JULIE KRAMER; MICHAEL ALLAN MALLORY; SUJATA MASSEY; SCOTT PEARSON; SUSAN RUNHOLT;
MARILYN VICTOR ; J. P. WHITE