Writers Tip #70: Dump Your Spouse if They Complain About Your Writing

01 Aug
writers tips

Great tips for soon-to-be great writers

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

I just finished James Frey’s outstanding How-to book for thriller writers, How to Write a D*** Good Thriller (St. Martins Press 2010).

lee child

One of my favorite thriller authors

I learned more about writing in my genre from these 246 pages than I’ve learned since I began writing. Each genre is different. If you try to apply rules of, say, literary fiction, to your thriller, you’ll bore your audience, not to mention drive them away. Thrillers are fast paced, less introspective and more moral than other genres. Don’t mix that up with exploring global warming or the political correctness of current labor laws.

I’ll be reviewing it soon, but wanted to share a truncated list of tips he has at the end of the book. These are reason enough to purchase this book.

  1. Commit yourself to creating strong conflicts in every line of every scene
  2. Decide you will have fresh, snappy dialogue and not a single line of conversation (read the book to see what that means)
  3. Decide to write quickly when drafting. Fast is golden (hard for me to do)
  4. If your significant other complains your thriller writing is taking up too much of your time, get a new significant other
  5. Trick the expectations of the reader and create nice surprises from time to time
  6. Have powerful story questions operating at all times
  7. End each scene or section of dramatic narrative with a bridge, a story question to carry the reader to the next one
  8. Try to be fresh. Don’t use the same old cliches. Be sure your prose is colorful and sensuous
  9. Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mounting right to the climactic moment

About #4–try to educate him/her first. It’s hard to find good mates.

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, an Editorial Review Board member for SIGCT, an IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, will be out this summer. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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