If you like psychological thrillers and have yet to see The Fall, grab the popcorn and prepare to be glued to your sofa. After broadcasting its third season in the United Kingdom, this tantalizing BBC produced crime show is now available to Netflix streaming customers. Created by entertainment guru Allan Cubitt, The Fall takes the viewer on a bumpy ride for seventeen episodes as Gillian Anderson (starring as a senior police investigator) tries to capture a killer (played brilliantly by Jamie Dornan) and then, once caught, make sure he is punished with a long jail term. In between the chase and the search for justice,Read More →

I took away lots of lessons from ThrillerFest 2016, including the need to spice up dialogue and emphasize active over passive. More than a few faculty members, bestselling authors all, went so far as to encourage attendees to learn about screenwriting techniques. Ever eager to learn, especially now at this early stage of my mystery writing endeavors, I signed up for the next Save the Cat workshop in New York City. For those who don’t know, this famed approach to screenwriting was created by Blake Snyder and described in a series of books he wrote prior to his untimely death in 2009. In a Writer’sRead More →

No doubt you’ve heard the maxim that good writers need to be good readers. Stephen King goes a step further, advising that “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” In “How to Make a Living as a Writer,” James Scott Bell recounts how he read lots of books strategically in order to better understand plot points and know “when it might pay off to leave a ‘blot‘.” I agree with both gentlemen that it is important to read. Fortunately, I love books so reading to write is far from a dismal task. That said, as I stretch my creative wingsRead More →

Entertainment media was abuzz this weekend about the end of one popular series and the next installment of another. After six seasons, loose ends were neatly wrapped up for the British upstairs – downstairs crowd at Downton Abbey. A few hours earlier, Netflix offered up another round of U.S. political intrigue in the form of a fourth season of House of Cards. (The original House of Cards was a shorter production about UK politics that debuted in 1990.) While both shows interweave complex plots that involve a large cast of characters, the material is by far darker in the case of House of Cards. Indeed, some might find itRead More →

Credits to Plato who coined the phrase that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” While true that what I find pleasing may differ from others’ opinions, there seems to be a school of thought that every book should have at least one villain. In other words, a beauty is insufficient without a literary beast.  A “baddie” does not necessarily have to be a person. As Randy Ingermanson shares on his website, www.advancedfictionwriting.com, “It’s perfectly OK to have society be the cause of all your lead character’s ills. It’s perfectly OK to have the environment be the ‘villain.’ It’s OK to have your protagonist be his own worst enemy.”Read More →