News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

February 9, 2017

Candor, Tough Love, and The Delicate Art of The Bounce
How our editors handle manuscripts that aren't ready for editing

The first thing I’d put on the table in connection with how we handle manuscripts that need a lot of work could, I hope, go without saying. And that’s that we never want to be discouraging to an author. There’s no pleasure in telling a writer that a […]
April 27, 2016
crime seat tape - tips mystery writers

Writing Mysteries
Guides, tips, and recommended reading for mystery writers

A quick word of caution to the aspiring mystery writer… For its enduring popularity as a genre, mystery is a surprisingly tough genre to break into for new writers, and in some respects one of the hardest genres to write. This is in part due to the procedural […]
April 13, 2016

What We Can Learn From Lee Child & Jack Reacher
A lesson in handling exposition in mystery/suspense from a master

Exposition: a discourse of information. Often necessary, but also challenging to handle skillfully. In an earlier post for mystery writers, I talked a little bit about the value of resisting the urge to lecture your readers on what you might have learned in the course of researching your […]
February 11, 2016
career of evil book cover

Review of Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
A reflection on J.K. Rowling's talent as a mystery writer

“When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike […]
December 7, 2015
Book cover

Review of Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster
A reminder of why characterization still matters in mystery suspense

“When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small […]
November 25, 2015

Word Play by Peter Farb
An enlightening study of language that's a gold mine for dialogue-conscious novelists

Word Play by Peter Farb may not have been written with novelists in mind, but it’s a smart, funny, and delightfully entertaining book about language and how we use it. And it’s chock full of good insights for writers, especially on the topic of dialogue. One chapter I […]