Dramaquill's All Things Writing

February 10, 2015

Who is your favorite suspense novelist?

Part of learning to write well is reading good books by successful authors in your genre.

Here’s a list of some of the top writers who create suspense to keep you flipping pages well into the night.  Who’s your favorite?

Mary Higgins Clark     http://www.maryhigginsclark.com/

Nora Roberts  http://www.noraroberts.com/

Dean R Koontz  http://www.deankoontz.com/

Stephen King  http://stephenking.com/

James Patterson  http://www.jamespatterson.com/

December 8, 2014

I didn’t finish Nanowrimo – am I a failure?

First of all, congratulations to all those writers who conquered and won the Nanowrimo 50,000 word challenge.  I salute you!

I chose a WIP (“Summer at Birch Beach”) this year.  I had about two thirds of it written in a very rough draft.  I thought I would use Nano to not only finish the rough draft but also begin working on an amazing revision.  After the month was up, I would have a new manuscript to shop around.  Needless to say, after about a week, and 8859 words, my Nano writing got detailed.

Since I didn’t finish Nano, am I a failure?  If you didn’t finish, are you?

Let’s look at what I did accomplish during November:

  • Secured a contract with a new publisher for my suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die”
  • Finished the second act of a full length melodrama play for my acting class
  • Wrote lyrics, music and accompaniment for two original songs for the melodrama
  • Started final revisions on my sequel, “Amorous Obsession”
  • Wrote a synopsis for the back of the print version of my book
  • Wrote a query letter for my sequel

I may not have managed the 50,000 word goal on “Summer at Birch Beach” but I wrote every day.  The melodrama script had to be finished by December 1st so the students could begin learning their lines, blocking scenes and singing new songs.  I had to do a small revision for my new publisher so that I could get my book up before Christmas.  And now that my suspense novel is available again, that inspired me to work on the sequel.

So…I did NOT win Nanowrimo.

But I did win the writing battle.

If you didn’t complete the 50,000 word journey of Nanowrimo this year, you aren’t a failure.  Just signing up and giving it a try deserves a high five.  You did write.  You do have a word count.  Now…keep going!  It will pay off.

To purchase “When Love Won’t Die” in ebook Kindle format OR in print, go to:


October 28, 2014

Pros and Cons of Nanowrimo

For those unfamiliar with the term Nanowrimo, it stands for the National Novel Writing Month.  It’s an online challenge for writers who’d want to jump start their next project (or this year, complete a work in progress).

The goal of Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words during the Month of November.  That averages out to approximately 1660 words per day for 30 days.

I’ve participated in Nanowrimo a couple of times but have yet to cross the finish line with a total of 50,000 words.  So does that mean I failed the challenge?


1.    You write something everyday

2.    It develops a habit of writing daily.

3.    At the end of it all, you have a large chunk of writing done.

4.    You meet people online and in your area who are also doing the challenge.

5.    You gain new contacts

6.    There are lots of motivational articles to get you through the month.


1.    You have to make the time to participate

2.    When you’re finished you may just end up with 50,000 words of horrible writing

3.    For those who like to edit as they go, that’s a no-no with Nano.  This will drive some writers crazy.

As I see it, the Pros outweigh the Cons so why not give Nanowrimo a try?

For more information (and to register and participate for free):   http://nanowrimo.org/

Happy Nanowrimo!

August 14, 2011

What comes first – the plot or the characters?

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I wonder if most people’s first reaction when reading the title of this post was, “Duh, the plot of course!”  And hey, maybe they’re right.  But for me, I seem to have much greater success developing new projects if I have a set of characters in mind first.

When writing plays for Slightly off Broadway’s drama department, just knowing whether the actors will be playing hillbillies or wizards sparks all sort of creative flow.  I can’t imagine trying to come up with the story first when the list of possible characters is somewhat endless. 

My inspiration for writing my first suspense novel was actually loosely based on something I had witnessed in the life of someone I knew.  My villain took on the characteristics of a handful of individuals I’d seen in action in disfunctional relationships throughout the years, be it my own or those of my friends and/or family.  My heroine became the culmination of three strong women, all of whom faced horrible circumstances and found a way to survive.  I think the hero is actually someone I wish existed.  I can’t imagine figuring out the plot of my story if I didn’t first get to know these characters.

Currently, I’m working on another suspense novel, and again, the characters prompted me to not only develop the plot but also helped me with the location.  The story morphed relatively easily out of just a few details about the lives of each of the characters.

Now it might sound like I’m saying that it isn’t the plot, but in fact it’s the characters that come first.  In my case, that does seem to be true – at least so far.  But I think this question, much like the “what came first – the chicken or the egg” question has lots of room for debate.

I’d love to have other writers weigh in on their experiences in regard to plot and characters.  Feel free to post to get the discussion going.

June 25, 2010

Character Interviews Part II – Mel

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Here’s the next interview from my upcoming suspense novel.  This time, we delve into the mind of our villain, Mel:

Mel (villain of the novel “When Love Won’t Die”)

1.    Do your consider yourself a villain?

A villain?  You mean a bad guy?  No way!

2.    Do you believe in happy endings?

I try to but it hasn’t been easy.  Maybe this time?

3.    What are your deepest fears?

I’m not afraid of anything!  I want certain things that I can’t have right now, but I’m not afraid.  I WILL get what I want!

4.    Do you consider yourself an honest person?

I don’t lie!  I can’t help it if nobody wants to hear the truth.

5.    Are you a forgiving person?

No.  Why should I be?  Of course there is one exception and that’s my Angel.  I could never turn away from my Angel.

6.    Would your life make an interesting movie?

I don’t care about crap like that.  Movies are a stupid waste of time.  Nobody wants to see a movie when it’s filled with the truth of the real world.  Hollywood wouldn’t make any money on the truth.

7.    How do you feel about children?

Children just get in the way. 

8.    If you could be someone else, who would you be?

I don’t fantasize about stuff like that.  What’s the point?  I am who I am so I’d better learn to live with it.

9.    If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Somewhere private and secluded with just me and my Angel.

10.   What do you think your future holds?

That’s nobody’s business but mine but I know I’m going to make sure I get what I want, no matter what I have to do to get it.

June 3, 2010

Character Interviews Part I – Eleanor

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I got this great idea from some of the authors at my new publishing company and have decided to post interviews of my first suspense novel’s characters in the hopes that you will want to read more about them by buying the book when it comes out.

ELEANOR  (heroine of novel “When Love Won’t Die”)

1.    What made you start writing suspense novels?

Believe it or not, I never really thought I would become a writer as my career.  I initially used writing, in journal form, to deal with some circumstances in my past that continued to haunt me years later.  Who knew I’d get three best sellers out of random journal diddling.

2.    Do you believe in happy endings?

I think a happy ending is all in the perspective of who is looking at it and how it affects them.  I don’t know if any ending is ever completely happy, but when circumstances that affect me cause me to be happy, I would definitely call that a happy ending.

3.    What are your deepest fears?

I have one fear, but other fears stem from that.  My deepest fear is that my past will destroy my present.

4.    Do you consider yourself an honest person?

I do for the most part, however, I know a few people who would disagree with me.  I think, on a rare occasion, sometimes the truth just isn’t appropriate.  But be prepared for the fallout if a lie ever catches up with you.

5.    Are you a forgiving person?

I try to be, but unfortunately there is one person I truly don’t think I can ever forgive.  I wish that person didn’t have that power over me.

6.    Would your life make an interesting movie?

Yes, I’m afraid it would, but that doesn’t make me happy.

7.    How do you feel about children?

If I had one regret in my life it would be that I was never able to have any children.  I guess it wasn’t in the plan and I don’t know why.  My husband and I did try several times but we kept having miscarriages.  I don’t like to think about the emptiness that I feel when I think about not being able to have any children.

8.    If you could be someone else, who would you be?

I was someone else a long time ago.  I can’t imagine being anyone but who I am now…Eleanor Marie Bennett.

9.    If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’m not big on world travel.  As long as I’m surrounded by family and friends, that’s home to me and that’s where I want to be.

10.   What do you think your future holds?

In all honesty I hope my future is quiet, calm and uneventful (laughs).  No really, I mean that wholeheartedly.  I’ve had more than enough (clears throat) excitement, if that’s what you want to call it, to last me ten lifetimes.


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