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When I’m writing my teen mystery books, I sometimes could really use help. It’s been said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That special effect works really well in writers’ groups where writers read their stuff, and the group does a constructive critique.

What is a constructive critique? Hint: Nobody likes to hear only the negatives, or how you should rewrite the whole thing.

  • Say something positive.
  • Ask a question about character, plot, setting, or motivation, for example.
  • Ask, “If you could change one thing . . . “
  • What is the next sentence you would write

Those of you who are already in writers group know the value of this activity because writing is a solitary business. When you get stuck,taking it to the group can sometimes give you the key to unlock that door. At times, the support and commiseration you can get from a writing circle is all you need to move on.

The exchange of information as well as thoughts on your writing can lead to a published novel rather than an unfinished manuscript. Try a Meet-Up, a library writing circle, or one of the many on-line writer’s workshops, forums, or blogs. Look for the ones that allow interaction. If you get one that is not the support you want, move on. There are plenty out there.

Inspiring!

Inspiring!


I just started to write the fourth book of my Annie Tillery Mystery series. The enjoyable part of writing the book is now at hand because I have laid the groundwork I need to help me navigate through the plot of a mystery novel.

I guess I’m old-fashioned. I need an outline. Once I get the basic idea for the story I write a list of chapter titles, even giving the chapters the most clever names I can think of to remind me of what I want to put there. Then, I go back and fill in the details. This helps to clarify the plot. Some of the original ideas just don’t fly when you put them in writing. Next, I make a flow chart of where I introduce the clues used by the characters to solve the mystery. This helps me to take care of every clue and tie it all up at the end. Then I go back and mark where I need to do research. I make a list of possible research terms and sites for my Google search, etc. The list of characters emerges from the chapter outline, and I make a separate list of them, choosing their names, traits, and role they play in the book.

This gives me a good matrix around which I can write the story. Even if I must leave the writing for a period of time, I can go back to this work and pick up where I left off.

Lastly, I start a writing course in a few weeks. I do this every time I write a book, because it reminds me of all techniques, and introduces a few new ones to help move the action along, home descriptions and make the characters come alive.

The next book brings Annie into contact with the life of her great grandmother who played an interesting role in WWII.

Rosie the Riveter

A plane built by women at the Grumman plant on L.I. during WWII


One of the things I look for most in the books I read is what makes the characters attractive to me.

Vulnerability does it for me. A story line or plot may be great but if the characters don’t “bleed”, the book leaves me wanting more. Anti-heroes are the best example. Those characters may do something you don’t agree with or is just wrong, but if you get a peek into their soul, why they are compelled to do the deed, or what they are feeling, you may empathize.

You may still hate that character, but you may also be able to relate to why they got to that point.

Good characters (with white hats) have to have some flaws, a point at which they crack, or struggle to do the right thing. Better still, let them do the wrong thing, and then try to make it right.

I grapple with this in my own writing. My main character, Annie, is too good. I keep trying to make her more human, put a wart on her nose, so to speak. I find it hard. Moving the plot along, and having her be one of the plot drivers is not as hard as making her human enough so that each right move she makes isn’t easy for her either.

Share your struggles with creating sympathetic characters.

teen mystery Annie Tillery mysteries

Trouble on the Brooklyn Bridge from “Girl with Pencil, Drawing”


I hope you’ve been following my blog tour. You can see the entire schedule here.

I am a winner of this contest.

I am a winner of this contest.

http://www.enchantedbookpromotions.com/tour-schedule-annie-tillery-mysteries/

After all the hard work of writing publishing and promoting the Annie Tillery Mystery series, it is pure joy to get a review that gets what I have been trying so hard for. Thanks Mindy.

http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.be/

Review: 

I have fallen in love with spunky Annie and her mysteries.  This is going to become part of the books I pass down to the children in my life.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 clouds.


In this Brief Crime, you will be asked to consider what forensic scientists can tell from skeletonized remains and artifacts found on or near the remains. Forensic Anthropology and Taphonomy are the branches of science that can help solve this mystery. See what you can find and then tune in next time.Fire Island Lighthouse

The last keeper left the lighthouse in 1960. The Coast Guard had automated the operation of the light and live-in keepers were no longer necessary. Harry Nesbitt was 61 years old and wanted to retire anyway. He had been having trouble with vandals and some old coot who claimed to be the only living survivor of a tragic rescue of a cargo ship. The shipwreck was a legend on Long Island. It was a terrible storm that drove the ship onto the shore. Every soul had to be taken off the ship by breeches buoy before it broke up on the sand bar.

Harry paid no attention to the old coot, but he continuously showed up, trying to gain access to the lighthouse keeper’s quarters. When Harry locked up, he checked the lighthouse, and every part of it was clean, ship-shape and empty. It was a sad time for Harry, but it was also a new start.

On July 20, 2010, the lighthouse was declared a national treasure and restoration work was started. The locks were rusted shut, but some of the windows had been broken. Rats and mice, as well as spiders were everywhere. The kitchen showed signs of use and the workmen just figured that some homeless folks had taken refuge, hoping to be left undisturbed.

When the construction workers descended into the basement to check the furnaces and electrical work, they found the skeletonized remains of a human.

   The police were called in and a crime scene was isolated,       photogrimages (31)aphed, and items of evidence collected. Clothing with a few cash register receipts in the pockets were collected. There were scattered cigarette butts near the body as well as plated with dried food and a moldy coffee cup.

Who was this human? Was it a man or a woman? With no ID on the body how will the person’s identity be determined?

What can the clothing and items on and around the body tell us?

How long had they been there?

Was there foul play, an accidental death, or death from natural causes?

Why was this person there?

 

 

 

 

 


You never know, when you write a book, what the reviews will be. I’d like  to share these reviews with you. First, because I am grateful that my work is appreciated, and second because the reviewers got what I hoped that you, the reader, would also get. Thanks for reading Annie Tillery Mysteries, great teen mystery books.

Raymond Klesc at New Book Journal writes,

http://newbookjournal.com/2014/06/secrets-in-the-fair-chimneys-by-linda-frank/

at Pinterest at…

 http://www.pinterest.com/pin/61994932345458028/

Simon Barrett at bloggernews.net gives all three books a lovely review.

http://www.bloggernews.net/134885

http://www.bloggernews.net/134804

http://www.bloggernews.net/134466annietillerybanner

THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY


If you guessed the kidnapping of the infant son of Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly non-stop from Long Island to Paris, you are right! Congratulations! It was called the “Crime of the Century” because of the media frenzy created due to Charles Lindbergh’s notorietyLSLCSP001_06 LSLCSP001_14 Lcharles1. Those “entrepreneurs who capitalize on such tragedies even sold tiny ladders to the crowds of by-standers who showed up daily to observe the entry and exit of the lead characters in the case.

The major evidence that convicted the kidnapper, Bruno Hauptmann, were as follows”

  • A ransom note which was analyzed for both handwriting and fingerprints.
  • The ladder used to abduct the child from the second story bedroom, proven to be made from lumber from Hauptmann’s house.
  • A telephone number belonging to the ransom contact, found on a door jamb in a Hauptmann bedroom.
  • Some of the ransom money found in a box in a closet in Hauptmann’s house.
  • Identification of an auto that was seen by an eye witness in the vicinity of the Lindbergh mansion in Hopewell, N.J.
  • A wood chisel found along with the ladder at the crime scene. It matched Bruno Hauptmann’s chisel set, and was the tool missing from the set.
  • Hauptman was not able to get corroboration of his alibi that he attended a movie the night of the kidnapping.

1. If you like orderly, precise, scientific empirical evidence, read this compelling summary of the analysis of the kidnapper’s ladder found at the crime scene, http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com/koehlerletter.html.

2. Read about the handwriting analysis. http://www.gale.cengage.com/pdf/samples/sp403243.pdf.

3. Here is further supportive material regarding the evidence. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Hauptmann/incriminevidence.html.

LET’S SEE WHAT KIND OF A DETECTIVE YOU ARE:

  • WHICH EVIDENCE DO YOU SEE AS THE CLINCHER, THE MOST COMPELLING EVIDENCE IN THE TRIAL WHICH CONVICTED BRUNO HAUPTMANN?
  • WHICH PIECES OF EVIDENCE WOULD BE ANALYZED DIFFERENTLY TODAY, WITH EITHER MORE CONCLUSIVE RESULTS, OR WITH DIFFERENT RESULTS?
  • COULD DNA ANALYSIS HAVE BEEN APPLIED TO ANY OF THIS EVIDENCE? THE BODY OF THE LINDBERGH BABY WAS FOUND AND FINALLY IDENTIFIED FROM A DESCRIPTION OF THE BABY ON HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE, AND MEDICAL RECORDS.

The parallels between Murder on the Orient Express and the Lindbergh case are:

  1. death of an infant son of a famous aviator
  2. the degree of public outrage
  3. the tragic unnecessary death of a maid

A difference is that Hauptmann was convicted and subsequently executed. Cassetti (Ratchett) was not convicted. The beauty of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is that twelve people who all played a part in the lives of the family of the kidnap victim exacted the justice denied by the court trial. They became the “twelve jurors, tried and true”.

If you are a fan of a well drawn mystery plot, read the book, or see the film made in 1974 with great performances by Hollywood’s greatest actors.

 

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