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Authors


MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .


SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .


LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .


BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .


SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .


SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .


M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .


ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .


STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .


GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .


JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .


JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .


LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .


ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .


ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .


In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    I love the idea that so much of learning to write well starts the instant you learn it. What a fabulous craft! Last week we learned 2 Tricks for Breaking Writer’s Block in One Day. Now for the rest of the month we’ll be talking about other tricks that also work in one day.

    We’re always hearing about how we need to increase the tension in our stories, how we need to get ahold of the reader by the lapels and never let go.

    But how?

    1. Curiosity

      Don’t answer your questions the minute you ask them.

      Give the reader time to wonder. Who is that suspicious character? Why are they involved with your protagonist? Why is your protagonist reacting the way they’re reacting?

      You’re constructing a puzzle, and the reader keeps turning pages to collect the clues and discover whether or not they’ve solved it correctly.

      Patricia Highsmith began The Talented Mr. Ripley—about a man who drifts into murder for the sake of wealth and a new identity—with a scene in which Tom Ripley scurries down a busy street escaping in great distress a man obviously following him, who Tom believes is a police officer sent to bust him for one of his confidence tricks. He’s not from the police, it turns out. In fact he doesn’t mean Tom harm at all. He’s just desperate to offer Tom the opportunity of a lifetime.

    2. Cutting

      Don’t let your final draft ramble.

      Far too many aspiring writers write and write and write and forget to revise out the standard 75%. Go ahead and write everything you can discover about any given scene, but then go back later and cut everything you possibly can—almost all exposition, every possible dialog tag (especially internal dialog), every single extraneous scrap (choose one action instead of two or three, one line of dialog instead of back-&-forth, one pivotal descriptive detail). Cut scenes. Cut paragraphs. Cut sentences, phrases, individual words. Trim it down to the lean, mean bones.

      James M. Cain packed so much into so few, simple words that his classic novels The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity read like explosions.

    3. Contradiction

      Don’t let your stories lie flat.

      Toss them like hot potatoes from one plotline to another. Now we’re startled. Now we’re entranced! Now we’re scared. Now we’re intrigued! Now we’re freaked out of our seats. Now we’re flying high. . .

      Zane Grey, the granddaddy of all great adventure stories—from which sprang such modern post-apocalyptic blockbusters as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road—wove double plotlines through his novels so thickly the reader is forced to let go the reins early on, so they wind up airborne without either wings or parachute by the end of the Hook.

    And that’s where you want your reader: in the air, out of control, completely possessed by an ungovernable urge to discover what on earth your story is all about.

    NEXT WEEK: 4 Tricks for Improving Your Fiction in One Day

    FINALLY: 1 Secret Trick to Becoming a Genius Writer in One Day

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    “The freshest and most relevant
    advice you’ll find.”

    —Helen Gallagher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    The Art & Craft of Writing Fiction

    The Art & Craft of Writing Stories


    A. VICTORIA MIXON, FREELANCE INDEPENDENT EDITOR

    VICTORIA’S ADVICE COLUMN

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