Basic spy craft for daily use

Writing, women and spies

Le cul entre les deux chaises

The bus stop nearest my house doesn’t have a shelter so when it rains, which is most of the time, people huddle under the awning of the bakery up the block or the alcove of a building nearer the route. On a rainy day like the dozens of others I’ve experienced here, I was in the latter spot with an elderly lady and I ducked out and reached the stop exactly as the bus pulled up, hopping directly on.

The lady sat down next to me once she’d gotten away from the protection of the building and hobbled over to the curb. “How did you know it was coming?” she asked. “The window,” I said, generally indicating a storefront receding behind us. Then I said, “La vitrine,” since a shop or display window is not the same as the kind you have in your house. She looked confused…

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More flesh please!

reblogging, because I can’t turn down a post that has a big ol’ skeleton on it, and is about writing.

Dianne Gray author

No, not that flesh – I’m not that kinda gal. I’m talking character flesh.


In a previous post Put Some Flesh on the Bones of my Dreams I received some great comments from other bloggers on how they add flesh to characters.

I thought I’d share their secrets with you (shhh – don’t tell them!)

4am Writer When I teach kids creative writing, I have them pretend they are their own protags and question each other in order to help them flesh out their heroes and villains. This helps them realize that even villains have a soft side too, which is harder for kids to understand as most villains they read about are very ‘cookie cutter’ and one-dimensional.

Anna Scott GrahamI talk out scenes that may or may not be in a book, but mostly it’s dialogue to get to better know my characters. (I’ve warned my family…

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Reblog: Guest Blogger: Jodie Renner: Essential Characteristics of a Thriller Hero

Jodie Renner guest post at The Writer’s Forensics, perfect for my thriller series here.

The Crime Fiction Writer's Blog




The hero or heroine of a suspense-thriller, like the protagonist of any popular bestseller, has to be impassioned, unique, and likeable enough for the reader to want to jump in and follow them through their journey, worrying about them and cheering them on through their challenges. So it’s important to take the time to create a charismatic, passionate, complex, sympathetic main character, one that readers can connect with immediately.

Heroes in novels and movies haven’t really changed a lot over the centuries since the days of Robin Hood and Maid Marion, but they continue to have universal appeal because through them, readers can vicariously participate in exciting adventures and confront and defeat evil to win the day and restore justice. Makes for a very entertaining, satisfying read. Get the adrenaline flowing with worry and fear, then triumph over adversity together, just in…

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Structure Part 5–Keeping Focused & Nailing the Pitch–Understand Your “Seed Idea”

Kristen Lamb’s series on structure is worth the bookmark. In this one, she talks about loglines / pitches.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Welcome to the 5th installation on the topic of structure. As an editor for years, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in spotting and fixing structural problems. Sadly, over the course of doing this many years, I have run into far too many novels that had plot problems that ran so deeply there was no saving the manuscript. Like a building with massive structural flaws, the best course of action was simply implosion. Rebuild. Start from scratch.

I used to try to teach from the perspective of an editor, but I found that my thinking was flawed. Why? Because editors are like building inspectors. We have skills best used on a finished product. We are trained to look for problems. Is that a good skill? Sure. But do building inspectors design buildings? No. Architects do. Architects employ creativity and vision to create a final structure. Hopefully, they will have the…

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Author Mission Statements

Author Mission Statements.

Via Vikki, I learnt of this post by Joanne Phillips, beckoning us all to come up with a mission statement.

A little like my own post on catch phrases some time ago, and I have to hold my head up in shame – coming up with something so definitive about myself is even harder than trying to snag a 25 word gripping elevator pitch or one paragraph blurb for a novel.

Much harder.

A case for author networking — INFOGRAPHIC

Marcie Brock created an author infographic. I’ve pinned this.

Marcie Brock, Book Marketing Maven

A case for author networking — INFOGRAPHIC

Back in May, before the Author Blog Challenge got underway, I did a post about infographics and declared my intention to explore this popular new communication tool.I finally had some time and decided to apply the infographics technique to our ongoing conversation about the benefits of networking to authors.

Is it the  best infographic ever created? Probably not. Is it a solid first attempt? I’d say so.

I used a program called for the formatting, but relied primarily on Photoshop to create the individual components of the infographic. Also downloaded a new toy called Inkscape, which I played with briefly but did not use for the creation of this image. It’s a free graphics program that looks like it will be a nice ancillary tool to use in concert with Photoshop.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never been trained in graphic…

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How weather can be a writer’s muse

It’s funny how we are always advised to never start a story with the weather, yet the weather is the one element that invokes so much in us. As does the images Sara selected for this post.

Sara Kjeldsen Writes


This is a no fail setting for me to want to write. The soft, dreamy fog hovering over a landscape is so inviting. It just oozes of adventure.


It is soothing, dark, lovely, intriguing. So many stories have been born out of rain.

Storm Clouds

Beautiful in a dark way, they are a break from sunlight’s monotony. A foreshadowing of what is to come. An arising conflict. A black travelling cape to be worn for a great escape.
Falling Snow

A different setting and mood. Signifying another world, another time. An invitation to the fantasy side of the mind.

Tell me, fellow writers, what it is about the weather that inspires you? Does rain or fog transport you to another place or time, enabling your writing to flow? Or, does a clear sunny day speak to your creativity more?

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Writing Matters: Hitting The 50,000 Word Wall

Reblogging because I like the image.

I ponder this, though. I’ve been reading a lot of writer’s posts lately, where they have set themselves targets or say they are stuck at the 50K mark. I guess that level – 50,000 – has been handed down to us by NaNoWriMo and other writing marathons.

For me, writing in a genre that expects 80-130K novels, 50K is only mid-point (in which case, I can perfectly understand getting stuck there). Though lately I have set the 50K as a self-enforced target simply for entering NaNo Camp in June, and possibly I will have to do the same if I wish to blurt out a part novel in November’s NaNoWriMo, just for the sake of the self-reward in “winning”.

In my mind, though, I know that a novel at that length just isn’t going to cut it, nor is it at all near completion. So, I try not to avoid thinking at that 50K level.

Rachel Funk Heller

Today’s post was inspired by Jennifer Lewis Oliver a member of my WANA class of last year, she posted that she felt stuck in her latest work, that she didn’t know what to do next. And when I participated in a fast draft with other writers, someone mentioned getting stuck at the 50,000 word mark. When I wrote the latest version of my novel, I was also stumped when hitting that number count. So of course, because I can’t leave well enough alone, this got me thinking, and hitting the books.

I went back to Blake Snyder, in his book, “Save the Cat Strikes Back” he talks about how the action just after the Point of No Return, or if you study Chris Vogler, he calls it the “Ordeal” is one of the toughest to write. If you do the math, and your goal is an 80,000 to 90,000…

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Reblog: The Impotence of Proofreading


Just English

Here’s another performance of Taylor Mali, this time on the importance of proofreading your works.

A good laugh and yet some food for thought 🙂


Has this ever happened to you?
You work very horde on a paper for English clash
And then get a very glow raid (like a D or even a D=)
and all because you are the word1s liverwurst spoiler.
Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence.

This is a problem that affects manly, manly students.
I myself was such a bed spiller once upon a term
that my English teacher in my sophomoric year,
Mrs. Myth, said I would never get into a good colleague.
And that1s all I wanted, just to get into a good colleague.
Not just anal community colleague,
because I wouldn1t be happy at anal community colleague.
I needed a place that would offer me intellectual…

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