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Writer's Knowledge Base

• February 2013 •

Introduction


Welcome to the February 2013 issue of the WKB newsletter.

Many thanks to Jodie Renner for her interview in last month's newsletter. This month we have an interview with writer Anne R. Allen.

I'm excited to announce that I'm working with author and writing coach James Scott Bell to offer an online, interactive, writing program to help make your next novel great. It's called "Knockout Novel" and you can learn more about it at KnockoutNovel.com. Plus, all the data is stored in your Hiveword account for easy access.

If you enjoy the WKB and this newsletter please tell your friends. It's easy to do -- just click the "Send to a Friend" link on the right. Or maybe tweeting is more your style. In that case you could send your peeps to http://writerskb.com/newsletter. Thanks!

Until next time...

-- Mike Fleming



Our intention with the newsletter is to provide you with the most popular WKB articles from the previous month and to feature bloggers who have articles in the WKB. We'd love to hear your feedback on what you think should be in the newsletter.

The newsletter is broken out into the following sections:

Featured Blogger -- This section consists of an interview with a blogger whose work ranks among the most popular in the WKB. The questions are from Elizabeth.

Popular Links -- The most popular links from WKB search results.

Popular Links from around the Web -- This section highlights the most popular links as determined by popularity around the web and not just the WKB. See the first issue for how this works.

Random Articles -- This section presents a set of random links from the entire WKB collection. You never know what you might find!



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Featured Blogger

Anne R. Allen


Anne, you describe your genre as romantic-comedy mystery. Any tips for writers on successful genre-blending?

I didn’t set out to blend genres. After many years in the theater, I was aware of the power of humor to keep an audience engaged, so I put a lot of laughs into my mysteries. Especially the kind that come from romance gone wrong. (I think romantic comedy is way undervalued these days. Jane Austen wrote it—and so did William Shakespeare.)  

Because of the romantic humor—and also probably because I started writing at the height of the chick lit phenomenon—my agent at the time tried to market my work as chick lit.

But it never quite fit. It’s not Bridget Jones humor. It’s pretty sophisticated—sometimes very dark—and most of my heroines are too mature to qualify as “chicks.” 

I also discovered that a lot of my audience is male. (I’ve had my most enthusiastic reviews from men.) So my new publisher finally helped me realize I write mysteries with rom-com elements rather than chick lit romance with mystery elements.

It’s more like Janet Evanovich for English majors. 

MY ADVICE TO NEW WRITERS IS: WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE AND FIGURE OUT WHERE IT FITS IN THE MARKETPLACE LATER. 

I adore the classic mysteries of Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie, and also the sophisticated humor of “screwball” romantic comedies of the 1930s and ’40s. I think I’ve brought elements of both into my books. 

 

You've described your award-winning blog, "Anne R. Allen's Blog," as a place where you help new writers avoid some of the pitfalls you learned the hard way. Could you give us an example of a lesson you've learned?

Oh, I’ve got a whole bunch. Here are three:

  1. DON’T TRY TO PUBLISH BEFORE YOU KNOW THE BUSINESS. I wasted way too much time querying agents when I didn’t have a clue what was expected, and although I knew how to write a novel, my books weren’t ready for the contemporary marketplace, and neither was I. 
  2. DON’T KEEP EDITING AND RE-EDITING YOUR WORK TO PLEASE EVERYBODY. I spent a decade on a novel that was really at its best around the third draft. I’d given up on the poor thing, but my current publisher asked about it, so I rummaged through the files and found a fairly early draft that’s pretty good. The later ones were awful. I edited out so much, the plot made no sense.
  3. DON’T DEPEND ON ONE CRITIQUE PARTNER OR GROUP for your feedback. Critique groups are fantastic, and a great way to learn the basics, but they can get inbred and either perpetuate incorrect information or give you a false sense of your level of competence. 

 

You're a successful later-blooming author. Words for writers who think it's too late to get started on a writing career?

OLDER WRITERS: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE! 

I only started writing after a long theater career, and my first novel wasn’t published until I was over 50. Even more inspiring: my mom, who is about to be 92, published a classic mystery novel, ACADEMIC BODY with a small press when she was in her late 80s. This year my publisher issued it as an ebook. It hit #2 in Mysteries and Thrillers in the free Kindle Store and is still selling well. She came out with a second book this fall. At the age of 91.

 

What are you working on now?

I’ve just launched my fourth Camilla Randall mystery, NO PLACE LIKE HOME, which has an Oz theme and a strong message about homelessness. Now I’m giving Camilla a little rest while I work on reviving that old manuscript I mentioned. 

It’s another humorous mystery, but longer than a standard whodunnit. The working title is THE ASHTRAYS OF AVALON.  Spanning five decades, it’s full of Baby Boomer nostalgia. The theme is the myth of the Golden Age—and how it never existed. Every age had its drawbacks—like sexism and cigarette smoke. 

Next, I’ll be doing a few short stories about Camilla and her best friend Plantagenet Smith, then I’m plunging into a new full length adventure where the two of them go to the English Midlands (the setting of SHERWOOD, LTD.) and meet up with what may or may not be the ghost of Richard III. 

The working title is THE LAST PLANTAGENET.  That one will take a lot of research, so it will be a while. I realize it’s ambitious, since Josephine Tey wrote THE classic mystery novel about Richard III with her 1951 mystery, DAUGHTER OF TIME, so I’m taking on a big project. I’m planning to incorporate the recent discovery of what might be Richard III’s body.

 

Where can we find you online? 

Anne R. Allen’s Blog

Amazon.com author page

Goodreads author page

Facebook author page 

and Twitter 
and LinkedIn
and Google+

 
 
  Popular Results from the WKB


WKB Articles that are Popular on the Web


Random Links


Credits

The Writer's Knowledge Base is the search engine for writers. It contains links to the writing-related articles collected and tweeted by  @elizabethscraig. The WKB is developed by Mike Fleming and powered by Hiveword which is his free web-based fiction organizer.

Elizabeth Spann Craig is a published author who blogs at Mystery Writing is Murder and tweets at @elizabethscraig.

Mike Fleming blogs about technology and writers and tweets at @hiveword.


Writer's Knowledge Base - The Search Engine for Writers

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