Nanowrimo Video Writing Lite Tip #1 — Suspense

Hi, all. In honor of National Novel Writing Month, I’ve decided to repost my Writing Lite video series. I hope you find them useful, even if you’re not participating. There are twelve videos, and none are over four minutes– most are under three. I’ll try to post a few each week so you have them […]

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50 Tips For Fiction Writers

Whew! It took over a year to do, but my 50 Free Tips for Fiction Writers is finally complete. You can find them over at Pinterest. They’re also scattered among my blog posts over the past year, but they’re all together in order  here. Here’s what they look like:             […]

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Writing Lite Tip 50: Never pay for a review. It will come back to bite you.

Writing Lite Tip 50: Never pay for a review

Enough said? You don’t need to pay for reviews. You can find reviewers online, on Facebook (Check Reviewing groups), Twitter, Google+, and more. Some kind souls have even made lists of reviewers who will review self-published books, but you’ll have to check to see how timely they are. Make sure you craft a respectful, polite […]

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Writing Lite Tip 49

Writing Lite Tip 49: Pay for a professional cover & interior

You probably already know how important a good cover is. Save your pennies for a graphic designer who has experience and knows what he’s doing. And don’t forget to have them create a back cover and a spine, whether or not you’re planning a paperback release. You might want one at some point. Covers are one […]

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Writing Lite Tip 48 - Use characters' actions instead of dialogue tags.

Writing Lite Tip 48: Use characters’ actions instead of dialogue tags

You already know you don’t need dialogue tags other than “he/she said” or, occasionally, “he/she asked.” Often, however, you don’t need a tag at all, if you couple it with a character’s action. That action, BTW, will tell you more about a character’s frame of mind than a bunch of words. Examples: Ellie ran a […]

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Writing lite tip 47

Writing Lite Tip 47: Most plots follow a 3 or 4 Act structure

I don’t recommend many books on writing, but this one is an exception. Carolyn Wheat’s HOW TO WRITE KILLER FICTION is an excellent analysis, not only of the difference between mystery and thriller, but also of plot structure. Wheat calls each act an “arc” and lays out the elements of each. It’s a highly worthwhile investment. […]

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Writing Lite Tip 46: Write backstories for your major characters. You'll be surprised what you learn.

Writing Lite Tip 46: Write backstories for major characters

I talk about character backstories and how to write them here. Basically, I believe they’re the best way to get to know your characters and what motivates them. How passionate or emotional they are. What their style of interacting is. The lengths they’ll go to to achieve their goals. A backstory will help you create […]

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Writing Lite Tip #45

Writing Lite Tip 45: Make Sure Slang Is Accurate

…Especially if you’re writing about a time or setting that’s unfamiliar. Check regional or foreign slang on the internet; listen to people from that particular place on YouTube, or make some calls to suss out how folks really talk to each other. If you’re writing historicals, the reference librarian at your local library will be […]

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Writing Lite Tip 44

Writing Lite Tip 44: Avoid alliteration

I’m being intentionally cute here, because alliteration isn’t.  Unless you’re writing broad comedy, there’s no reason to use alliteration in your fiction. It calls attention to itself and takes the reader out of the story. Too much alliteration can result in a reader gnashing his/her teeth and throwing the book across the room. At least […]

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  • About Libby

    Compulsively Readable ThrillersLibby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Fifteen novels and twenty-five short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first.

    She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few.