A Brief Word of Advice to Mystery Writers

I’m not naming any names or spoiling any books, but here’s a plotting tip from a longtime reader: If you want us to be surprised that one of your characters is a bad guy, don’t have him quoting Friedrich Nietzsche the first time we see him. It’s not subtle foreshadowing. It’s giving the game away.

Situation Wanted – Author

Last week I blogged about Kip Esquire’s pie-in-the-sky wish to be a reporter or a commentator for a news organization. Kip has no direct experience in that area, but as a blogger with a background in law and finance, he’s not totally unqualified. I’m sure he realized it was unlikely anyone would make him an […]

Celebrity Crime Roundup: Whoopi on Vick, Craig

As the end of the year approaches, I’ve been cleaning up my backlog of unpublished posts. I often start to write about something and then discover that I have nowhere to go with it. I’ve deleted most of those posts as there’s no way to salvage them. Sometimes, however, I just have trouble finding enough time […]

Yesterday I Couldn’t Spell “Journalist”…

The Chi-Town Daily News is a web-only newspaper focussed on local coverage through citizen journalism. That means they depend on people from the neighborhoods to report on stories from the neighborhoods. Or, to put it another way, they’re hoping they can get people to write for them for free. Since I’ve been writing for free […]

More on Restrictive Clauses

Continuing Ken Lammers’ concerns with how to distinguish restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, I have a little bit to add to what I said earlier. I’ve checked several more writing handbooks, including the Harbrace College Handbook, the Little, Brown Handbook, the St. Martin’s Handbook, and The Careful Writer. (My editions are not as current as those […]

Restricting Clause

Ken Lammers needs an English language expert for an appeal he’s writing. The argument is about the meaning of a statute, so I imagine this problem could have been avoided if the Virginia legislature had worded their law a little more carefully. Instead, someone’s freedom may depend on how restrictive clauses are supposed to be […]