How to Write a Murder Scene

Read to Write Stories

Claire Vaye Watkins won the prestigious Story Prize for her debut collection of stories, Battleborn. Her story, "The Last Thing We Need," appeared in Granta 111. Claire Vaye Watkins won the prestigious Story Prize for her debut collection of stories, Battleborn. Her story, “The Last Thing We Need,” appeared in Granta.

American films are full of violence; in fact, the anticipation of death is probably one of the reasons that people go to the movies. There’s a visceral, perverse thrill in seeing someone killed in front of your eyes, and that feeling is harder to create in writing than it is on the screen. It’s difficult to replicate the speed of a gunshot or the blind, chaotic feeling of participating in a fight. Some writers try to copy the techniques of film: a lot of choreography (punches, kicks, and ricocheting bullets). But the best writers use techniques that are only available in written fiction to create powerful scenes of violence.

Claire Vaye Watkins has written such a scene in her story, “The Last…

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How to Support an Author’s New Book: 11 Ideas For You

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Chuck Sambuchino

large_5595133805My Writer’s Digest coworker, Brian A. Klems, recently geared up for the release of his first book — a humorous guide for fathers called OH BOY, YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL: A DAD’S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO RAISING DAUGHTERS (Adams Media). On top of that, my coworker Robert Brewer (editor of Writer’s Market) recently got a publishing deal for a book of his poetry.

So I find myself as a cheerleader for my writing buddies — trying to do what I can to help as their 2013 release dates approach. I help in two ways: 1) I use my own experience of writing & publishing books to share advice on what they can expect and plan for; and 2) I simply do whatever little things I can that help in any way.

This last part brings up an important point: Anyone can support an author’s…

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Fiction Friday: 8 Things Writers Forget When Writing Fight Scenes

Lisa Voisin


Recently, I attended a session called “Writing About Fighting” at VCON, a science fict ion and fantasy conference. The panel consisted of writers and experts who were disciplined in multiple martial arts, including authors Lorna Suzuki and T.G. Shepherd, and Devon Boorman, the swordmaster of Academie Duello in Vancouver.

For me, this talk was so fascinating, it was worth the cost of admission alone. I spent days thinking about the topics discussed and tried to incorporate them into The Watcher Saga. These are just a few of them as I remember it.

Eight Things Writers Forget About Fight Scenes:

1. It’s not about the technical details

First of all, if you’re not technical and don’t know the details of fighting, you shouldn’t try to write about them. Some writers try to to include technical details of fighting, which only calls out their lack of expertise. If you don’t know what…

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The Three Bogeymen and the Black Legend of Venice: Beckford, Casanova, Twain and Dickens

Letters from the exile

 photo image_1_zpsa0f85dfb.jpg
Cell in the Pozzi, next to the Doge’s Palace

De chi me fido guardami iddio
De chi no me fido me guarderò io

[God protect me from all those I trust
From those I trust not, I’ll protect myself.]
A prisoner’s inscription in the Pozzi

The Most Sinister of Police States

The origins of the black legend of Venice date from a few centuries before the fall of the Republic, starting from the creation of the new judiciary (1539) called Inquisitori di Stato (State Inquisitors), also commonly known as I tre babài or The Three Bogeymen. Two were chosen from among the members of the Consiglio dei Dieci (Council of the Ten) and were dressed in black (i negri, The Blacks), and one was a ducal counsellor dressed in red (el rosso, The Red). They sat in a room of Palazzo Ducale, under the…

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