News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

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 26, 2016

Let’s Hear It For The Little Guy!
When it comes to literary agencies, bigger isn't always better

Your manuscript is finally finished. It’s been revised, agonized over, critiqued, and revised again. It’s ready to take the next step. It’s ready for an agent. And because you want nothing but the best for your manuscript, you know you’ve got to find the best agent possible. The […]
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 […]
April 7, 2016

Query Do, Query Don’t
Ten tips literary agent Kate Johnson wants you to remember

I’ve recently worked through a post-holiday backlog of submissions, and stumbled on some recurring themes and – naturally – some recurring pet peeves. Agents are as diverse in their taste for query letters as they are in their tastes for reading material, so please know my advice comes […]
March 16, 2016

Spotlight on Sentence-Level Editing
Demystifying the distinctions between line editing, copy editing, and proofreading

In an earlier blog post I talked about the importance of developmental editing and why the focus on big-picture stuff – structure, book-spanning issues like plot or organization, character development, dialogue, and that sort of thing – needs to come first, before you spend too much time worrying […]
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 […]