Friday, December 12, 2014

Troubleshooting Your Novel Conference, by Steven James

Troubleshooting Your Novel
 One-day writing conference, by Steven James
Saturday, January 17, 2015
8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Radisson Airport Hotel
Nashville, Tennessee 

This one-day conference will be filled with practical insights,
dozens of ways to fix plot flaws, time-tested writing secrets,
and easy-to-implement ideas that will help you improve
your novel right now, no matter how far along you are in writing it.
From the broad aspects of building the framework of your novel to the fine brush-strokes of line-by-line editing, this day will transform your writing forever.
Steven James: Critically-acclaimed novelist and nationally known conference speaker

Steven will teach five manuscript-transforming seminars
Eric Wilson: New York Times bestselling author
 and manuscript evaluation specialist
Eric will do manuscript evaluations and consultations
Jodie Renner: Award-winning craft-of-writing author,
speaker, and freelance editor 
Jodie will lead an editing workshop and do
manuscript evaluations and consultations
Jonathan Clements: Literary agent, the
Wheelhouse Agency
Jonathan will do one-on-one consulations
(agent and agency subject to change)

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I've been busy creating a new series of handy, clickable e-resources for writers, editors, students, teachers, instructors, journalists, bloggers, and anyone else with a writing project on the go. I just published the second one last Wednesday, and yesterday, I decided to play around with the titles to re-brand them a bit. (Until yesterday, they were called Grammar on the Go and Spelling on the Go.)

So far, two e-books in the series are out: Quick Clicks: Spelling List - Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips and Quick Clicks: Word Usage - Style and Usage Tips for Writers and Editors. And to introduce the second one, I've just put them both on sale for $0.99 each, tonight through Tuesday, Nov. 18. Click on the titles to go to the e-resources on I'll list the links below for and, where they're also on sale for the equivalent of 99 cents USD.

Why more spelling, word usage, and grammar resources? Because these are designed to be super quick and easy to use, so they'll save you a lot of time - and you can rest assured that the information presented is well-researched and accurate.

At the beginning of each guide is a bank of letters like this, only with live links to small groups of words or terms in the document that start with those 2 or 3 letters:

A  ad  af  al  am  an  ap  as   Ba  be  bi  bo  br  bu   Ca  ce  ch  ci  co  com  con  cr   Da  de  di  dr   Ea  ef  em  en  ev  etc.

You click on a pair of letters and you jump right to the words starting with those two (or three) letters. Then on every page is a link to get you back "Home" or to the "Key" to look for another word or term.
The idea is to have the e-resource on your computer, e-reader, tablet, or phone beside you, or the PDF up on your computer, behind or beside your WIP, and just click to the word or term, check it, then get back to your writing project within seconds.
You can buy the PDF for $2.99 ($1.50 during this sale) by contacting Jodie Renner at info (at) JodieRenner (dot) com. You'll need a PayPal account, but they're very easy to set up.
If you click on the links to Amazon, you can open the book and preview the first 10 pages or more to check them out.
Spread the word about this great sale, as it's only for two days!

Quick Clicks: Spelling List on  (0.77)

And suggestions welcome for more words and terms to include in updated editions! Please add any suggestions or comments below. Thanks!
 Besides publishing her popular craft-of-writing books under the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, the award-winning Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller (and the upcoming Captivate Your Readers), as well as her handy, clickable e-resources, Quick Clicks: Spelling List – Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips and Quick Clicks: Word Usage – Style and Usage Tips for Busy Writers and Editors, Jodie Renner is a sought-after freelance fiction editor and author of numerous blog posts on writing captivating fiction. Jodie is also a former English (and French) teacher and has a master's degree in language and literature. Find Jodie on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

SHORT IS THE NEW LONG - article by Anne R. Allen

Do you read or write short stories?

Author and highly respected blogger, Anne R. Allen, has published an excellent article on the re-emergence and growing popularity of short stories in the latest issue of Writer's Digest Magazine. Anne has given me permission to present the bare bones of her detailed article here. Be sure to check out the rest of this well-written, informative article in the November/December 2014 issue of Writer's Digest.

As Anne says, "Bite-sized fiction has moved mainstream, and today's readers are more eager than ever to 'read short.' Here's why writing little stories is paying off in a big way."

Anne goes on to mention "nine factors working in favor of a short story renaissance:"

1. Small, portable screens are changing the way we read.

"The single-serving quality of a short narrative is the perfect art form for the digital age... Stories are models of concision, can be read in one sitting and are infinitely downloadable and easily consumed on screens," Amber Dermot told The New York Times.

2. Anthologies are hot.

"Multi-author anthologies are a great sales tool, and they've been reborn in the e-book space, where they're inexpensive to put together and provide wide visibility."

3. Publication identifies you as a professional.

Publishing your short stories in anthologies and journals will show agents, publishers, and reviewers that you're serious about your craft and publishing. And they can also help get your name out there and start building a fan base.

4. Networking with short fiction editors can further your career.

"Editors at small magazines often have connections in the publishing world."

5. Filmmakers buy rights to short stories.

"Just as indies are re-invigorating publishing, they are also the lifeblood of the film industry."

6. Online retailers favor authors with more titles.

"The more titles you have in an online bookstore, the more visible you are." And it's easy to turn out several short stories per year.

7. Short fiction contests can build your bio.

"Contests are easy to find and enter in the Internet era. [...] A win or even honorable mention looks great in a query or bio."

8. Shorts keep fans engaged and draw new ones.

"Shorts keep fans interested while they're waiting for the next book, and a free story in between is a great marketing tool. Consider writing a couple of shorts about your main characters while you're working on a novel."

9. Today's short stories make money and hold their value.

"Per word, a story can make more money than a novel. Not only does it take less time to write, a Kindle Single often sells for the same price as a novel-length e-book, and can be repurposed many times."

And finally, writing short stories is a great way to learn to write tight and make every word count, which is a great carry-over for any other kinds of writing you may do.

Check out these excellent related articles by Anne R. Allen on her award-winning blog:

Here's Why You Should be Writing Short Stories

 10 Reasons Why Short Stories are Hot. 

 The New Golden Age of Short Fiction.

 And this one by Jodie Renner, over at The Kill Zone blog:  "25 Tips for Writing a Winning Short Story"

Besides publishing her popular craft-of-writing books under the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, the award-winning Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller (and the upcoming Captivate Your Readers), as well as her handy, clickable e-resources, Spelling on the Go and Grammar on the Go, Jodie Renner is a sought-after freelance fiction editor and author of numerous blog posts on writing captivating fiction. Find Jodie on Facebook and Twitter, and check out her posts alternate Mondays on The Kill Zone blog. Subscribe to Jodie's sporadic (3-6 times a year) newsletter HERE.

Monday, September 1, 2014

FIRE UP YOUR FICTION Wins Another Award!

by Jodie Renner, editor & author

I'm pleased to announce that my editor's guide to writing compelling stories, FIRE UP YOUR FICTION, has won a third book award.

It just received another Silver Medal, this one in the Readers' Favorite Awards, in the category of Writing and Publishing.

Congratulations Jodie Renner!
Fire up Your Fiction
is a 2014 Readers' Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Non-Fiction - Writing/Publishing category!

Here's the certificate I received from Readers' Favorite Book Awards:

And the 5-star review this book received on the Readers' Favorite website:

Reviewed By Bil Howard for Readers’ Favorite

"Jodie Renner has done fiction writers a huge favor by compiling her blogs into Fire Up Your Fiction: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories. She covers subjects that can get a story moving and not only draw the reader in, but hold their attention and keep them turning pages.

"She covers the issues involved with creating and keeping conflict, tension, and action burning throughout your story and showing rather than telling. [...]

"Renner also discusses wordiness and the use of clich├ęs, as well as cutting down your word count in order to get to the action and keep it moving. She also gives excellent advice on how to make your dialogue sizzle; a problem for nearly every author. All in all, this volume is packed with plenty of digestible literary protein that will feed writers and make them eager for action. [...]

"Packed with information, accurate and inspiring, Fire Up Your Fiction: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories will help you transform your fiction into a more marketable product." 

Fire up Your Fiction - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories was also awarded a Silver Medal from the Florida Authors & Publishers President's Book Awards and an Honorable Mention from the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards in 2013, and was a Finalist in Foreword Reviews' IndieFab Book Awards and National Indie Excellence Book Awards.

Comments on this book by bestselling "writing gurus": 

"This book is packed with good advice on how to spot and fix weaknesses in your fiction writing. It summarizes the combined wisdom of the last century or so of fiction teachers into one handy volume."
- Randy Ingermanson, bestselling author of Writing Fiction for Dummies

"A handy checklist and self-editing guide that will get any fiction writer to a stronger, well-told tale."
- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Revision & Self-Editing, Plot & Structure, and Conflict & Suspense

Brief excerpts from other comments by judges:

"What a wonderful resource for writers at any stage of their career! I wish I had this book when I first started writing. ... I can't think of anything important that you haven't addressed succinctly and clearly. ... This should be on the booklist for Master's Programs in Writing for Publication. ... You must be a wonderful editor to be able to write such a readable, but comprehensive book."

- Judge, Writer's Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards, January 2014

“the Strunk & White for writers who want to be not just mere storytellers but master story-compellers.”

- Lucy Wang, reviewer for IndieReader

Amazon Reviews:

Fire up Your Fiction has received 85 reviews on to date, with an overall average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Many writers and aspiring authors have emailed me to tell me how much this book and my other book, Writing a Killer Thriller, have helped them tighten up their writing and make it more compelling. If you have read either of my books and found them helpful for your writing, I'd love it if you could write a review on Amazon.

Click on the book title to go to Jodie Renner's eBooks on Amazon:

Fire up Your Fiction - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories

Writing a Killer Thriller - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction

And look for Captivate Your Readers, out in late 2014, as well as two shorter resources, Grammar on the Go and Spelling on the Go.

Jodie Renner, editor & author

Join me on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spark up Your Story - Adding Tension, Suspense, & Intrigue – Handout

by Jodie Renner, editor & author

This is the HANDOUT for my 50-minute workshop, "Spark up Your Story - Adding Tension, Suspense, and Intrigue" at When Words Collide conference in Calgary, Aug. 8-10, 2014.

All genres of fiction, not just thrillers, suspense novels, and action-adventures, need tension, suspense, and intrigue to keep readers eagerly turning the pages. And of course, you’ll need to ratchet up the tension and suspense a lot more if you’re writing a fast-paced, nail-biting page-turner. 

A. Some “big-picture” techniques for adding suspense, tension, and intrigue:

~ First, make your readers care about your protagonist by creating a likeable, appealing, strong, smart and resourceful but vulnerable character, with some inner conflict, regrets, and secrets. If readers haven’t bonded with your character, they won’t care what happens to him. 

~ Put your character in motion right away. Start right out in the head and body of your main character, in an active scene with others, with some discord and tension.

~ Get up close and personal. Use deep point of view (first-person or close third person) to get us into the head and body of your main character. This makes readers care about the character and worry about him. A worried reader is an engaged reader.

~ Challenge your protagonist. Now that your readers care about your main character, insert a major threat, challenge, or dilemma within the first chapter or two that won’t be resolved until the end. Create an over-riding sentence about this to keep in mind as you’re writing your story: 

“Will (name) survive/stop/find/overcome (ordeal/person/difficulty/threat) on time?” 

~ Create a cunning antagonist. Your villain needs to be as clever, determined and resourceful as your protagonist – or even more so. Make him or her a serious force to be reckoned with!

~ Create a mood of unease by showing the main character feeling apprehensive about something or someone or by showing some of the bad guy’s thoughts and intentions. For a thriller, establish a sense of urgency, a tense mood, and generally fast pacing.

~ Show, don’t tell. Show all your critical scenes in real time as they’re happening, with action, reaction, and dialogue. Show your main character’s inner feelings and physical and emotional reactions. Don’t have one character tell another about an important event or scene.

~ Use multiple viewpoints, especially that of the villain. For increased anxiety and suspense, get us into the head of your antagonist from time to time. This way the readers find out critical information the heroine doesn’t know, things we want to warn her about!

~ Keep the story momentum moving forward. Don’t get bogged down in backstory or exposition. Keep the action moving ahead, especially in the first chapter. Then work in background details and other info little by little, on an “as-needed” basis only, through dialogue or flashbacks – not as the author telling the readers. 

~ Every scene needs conflict and a change. There should be something unresolved in every scene. Your character enters the scene with an objective or goal (agenda), but she encounters obstacles in the scene, so she is thwarted in her efforts to reach her goal. But circumstances or the character have changed by the end of the scene.

~ Put tension on every page. Every page needs some tension, even if it's just disagreement, resentment, doubt, or questioning simmering below the surface.

~ Vary the tension. But of course, you can’t keep up tension nonstop, as it’s tiring for readers and will eventually numb them. It’s best to intersperse tense, nail-biting scenes with a few less tense ones.

~ Add in tough choices and moral dilemmas. Devise ongoing difficult decisions and inner conflict for your lead character. Besides making your plot more suspenseful, this will also make your protagonist more complex, vulnerable, and intriguing.

~ Withhold information. Don’t tell your readers too much too soon. Dole out critical information little by little, through dialogue, thoughts, and brief flashbacks, to tantalize readers and keep them wondering. 

~ Delay answers to critical plot questions. Look for places in your story where you’ve answered readers’ questions too soon, so have missed a prime spot to increase tension and suspense. Draw out the time before answering that question. In the meantime, hint at it from time to time to remind readers of its importance.

~ Use foreshadowing to incite curiosity. Tease the readers with innuendos. Drop subtle hints of troubles to come. Hint at the main character’s past secrets. What is the character worried about or afraid might happen? Capitalize on this.

~ Add in some revelations and epiphanies to put a twist on things and reward readers for their interest and involvement.

~ Use the setting to establish the mood and create suspense. This is the equivalent of ominous music, harsh lighting, strange camera angles, or nasty weather in a scary movie. 

~ Make use of compelling, vivid sensory imagery to take us right there, with the protagonist, vividly experiencing and reacting to whoever/whatever is challenging or threatening him. 

~ Use brief flashbacks at key moments to reveal your main character’s childhood traumas, unpleasant events, secrets, emotional baggage, hangups, dysfunctional family, etc. 

~ Keep hampering your hero or heroine throughout the novel to increase worry, tension, and suspense. Stir in some of these ingredients: a ticking clock, obstacles, chases, traps, restrictions, handicaps, injuries, bad luck, etc.

~ Keep raising the stakes. Keep asking yourself, “How can I make things worse for the protagonist?” As the challenges get more difficult and the obstacles more insurmountable, readers worry more and suspense grows.

~ Plan a few plot twists. Readers are surprised and delighted when the events take a turn they never expected. Don’t let your readers become complacent, thinking it’s easy to figure out the ending, or they may stop reading.

See Jodie’s book Writing a Killer Thriller for a lot more detail on each of the points mentioned above.

B. Revision stage:

Amp up, condense, or delete any scenes that lag, and tighten up your writing. Now go back and make sure every scene and paragraph drives the story forward. Make every chapter, scene, page, paragraph, sentence, and word count! 

 See Jodie's Fire up Your Fiction for lots of concrete tips with examples for tightening your writing and revising your novel or short story to make it more compelling.

Also, see Jodie's Captivate Your Readers for more great tips!

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling FictionFIRE UP YOUR FICTION,  CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS, and WRITING A KILLER THRILLER, as well as two clickable time-saving e-resources, QUICK CLICKS: Spelling List and QUICK CLICKS: Word Usage. She has also organized two anthologies for charity: VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS – Stories and Poems about Life in BC’s Interior, and CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child WorkersYou can find Jodie on her Amazon Author Page, at, and on Facebook. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View

by Jodie Renner, editor & author   

This is the HANDOUT from Jodie's workshop on deep point of view at When Words Collide literary festival, Calgary, Aug. 8-10, 2014.

(POV = point of view = viewpoint – Who’s telling the story? or Whose head are we in for that scene?)

Some quick tips for avoiding POV gaffes in your fiction:

(The actual presentation of course had/has an introduction to point of view and deep POV or close third-person viewpoint, with lots of details and examples.)

~ First, decide whose scene it is. Who has the most at stake? (If in doubt, show it from the POV of your protagonist.)

~ Now, get into that character’s head and body and stay there for the whole scene or chapter. Don’t flit around to the thoughts of other characters or show anything that’s going on outside of your POV character’s range or perceptions.

~ Don’t show or describe things going on behind the character’s back, in another room, or anywhere out of their sight or hearing range. Only show us what the character can logically perceive at that time.

~ To describe the setting, use the perceptions, words, goal, attitude, and mood of the POV character for that scene. Don’t describe a scene as a neutral observer or as the author talking to the readers.

~ Color your descriptions of other characters with the attitude and feelings of your POV character toward them. Avoid neutral descriptions.

~ Don’t describe other characters in a way that the POV character wouldn’t. For example, don’t give a detailed description from head to toe of a character the POV character is looking at and already knows very well, like a family member.

~ Don’t get into the inner thoughts or feelings of any other characters in that scene. Show their thoughts, emotions, attitudes and intentions by their facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, words, and actions – anything the POV character can perceive.

~ When starting a new scene or chapter, use the name of the viewpoint character right away, in the first sentence, to establish immediately for the reader whose head we’re in now. 

~ After introducing the POV character, refer to him or her in an informal way, as they would think of themselves.

~ Use the POV character’s name at the beginning of scenes (full name for first mention), then use mainly “he” or “she” except when their name is needed for clarity. (The “he” or “she” is like “I”.)

~ Refer to other characters by the name the POV character normally uses for them. 

~ Avoid lengthy "info dumps." Don’t butt in as the author to explain things to the readers, outside of the character’s viewpoint. Instead, reveal the info from the character’s POV or as a question-and-answer dialogue, with some attitude and tension to spice things up. 

~ Don’t show the POV character’s facial expression or body language (unless they’re looking in a mirror). They don’t know what’s going on with their face. Or indicate it somehow through their thoughts or fears. For example, you could say “She felt her face flush” to indicate that she’s blushing.

~ Show the POV character’s inner thoughts, emotions, and reactions constantly to increase reader engagement.

~ Sprinkle in direct thought-reactions in italics, to reveal the character’s true feelings and increase intimacy with the readers.
What a great audience!

~ Show the POV character’s sensory reactions to their environment, other characters, and what’s happening. Use as many of the five senses as is appropriate to get us into the skin of the character. 

~ Keep the narration in the POV character’s voice. Not only should the dialogue be in the character’s voice and style, but the narration should too, as that’s really the character’s thoughts and observations.

~ Avoid lengthy backstory dumps, the author telling the readers about the character and their background. Introduce only the essential info, through the characters. Or use brief flashbacks, in scenes in real time, with action and dialogue.

~ Don’t have characters magically knowing the names of other characters they’ve never met or heard of, just because we, as the readers, have met those other characters. This is an easy gaffe to make inadvertently.

Copyright © Jodie Renner, 2014   

For more tips on using deep point of view to engage your readers and bring your characters and story
to life, see Jodie’s writers’ guides in the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, including her latest, CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS.

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling FictionFIRE UP YOUR FICTION,  CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS, and WRITING A KILLER THRILLER, as well as two clickable time-saving e-resources, QUICK CLICKS: Spelling List and QUICK CLICKS: Word Usage. She has also organized two anthologies for charity: VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS – Stories and Poems about Life in BC’s Interior, and CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child WorkersYou can find Jodie on her Amazon Author Page, at, and on Facebook. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Some Quick, Basic Tips for Writing a Riveting Short Story

by Jodie Renner, editor & author  

These basic tips for aspiring writers apply whether you’re an adult, a teenager, or younger, and whether your story is aimed at adults, teens, or preteens. If you know of a young person who’s interested in creative writing, share this post with him or her to help them spark up their stories.

Planning your story:

1. Decide on your target readership (audience). Are they adults, teens, middle-grade kids, younger kids? Mainly males or females, or both? What are the main interests of your target readers? Why would they like your story?

2. What’s the genre of your story? What kind of story will it be? A fantasy that takes place in an alternate universe? A romance? A cozy mystery? A suspense-thriller? A western? An action-adventure? Speculative fiction (sci-fi)? Sports fiction? Or a mainstream-type story, with people like you, in a setting you’re familiar with?

3. Where does your story take place? Is the locale real or imagined? Is it in the present, the past, or the future? What season? To spark reader interest, make the setting remarkable in some way, out of the ordinary.

4. Whose story is it? Create a multi-dimensional, complex main character readers will want to identify with and bond with. 

5. Give your character a burning desire - what do they want more than anything?

6. Give your character some secrets, fears and regrets.

7. Give your character a rival, competitor, or enemy.

Writing your story:

1. To avoid reader confusion and frustration, set the scene for the readers in the first few paragraphs with the 4 W’s—who, what, where, and when. Who is this, where are they, what are they doing, and when does it take place?

2. Get into your main character’s head in the first sentence and stay there for the whole short story. Forget about telling the readers the story as the author. BE the character instead! You can use “he” or “she” and their name (third person), or “I” (first person). Show the character’s thoughts, goals, worries, plans, physical sensations, and feelings about what’s going on. That will help your readers identify with your main character and really care about him or her.

But don’t show the thoughts or inner feelings of other characters. That's head-hopping. We only know how they’re feeling through what your protagonist (POV character) notices and perceives—their words, actions, facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, etc.

3. Make your character run into a problem of some sort right away or very soon. It doesn’t need to be the main problem of the story, but put something on the first or second page that challenges him and makes the readers start worrying about him. The difficulty or dilemma can be internal, external, or interpersonal.

4. Introduce some opposition, a rival, an enemy, or a nasty villain fairly early, too, to get things moving fast and make your readers start biting their nails.

5. Turn up the heat. Now, give your main character an even bigger challenge or problem—the main conflict of your story. Who or what is threatening them? What do they do to try to solve the problem? Then what happens?

6. Write in lots of action, dialogue, and character feelings and reactions. Don’t spend too much time describing things or places, or explaining things to the readers. Do that directly through the characters’ words, thoughts, and actions.

7. Climax: Have a major battle, showdown, fight, or argument—not necessarily a physical one. Can be psychological or interpersonal. Challenge your hero or heroine to the max. This is their lowest point, their darkest moment, when they have to draw on all their resources, summon up all their courage and determination to overcome the obstacle or make the difficult decision, and resolve the issue.

8. Resolution: My advice is to create a satisfying ending for the readers—let your hero or heroine succeed, defeat evil, get what they desire, etc., but just barely. It’s a really close call! They almost didn’t make it!

9. Character arc: How has your protagonist changed as a result of their recent struggles?

10. Story arc: How has their life changed as a result of what they've just been through?

For more info on writing short stories, check out Resources for Writers: 33 TIPS FOR CREATING A SHORT STORY WORTHY OF CONTESTS, MAGAZINES, AND ANTHOLOGIES (

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling FictionFIRE UP YOUR FICTION,  CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS, and WRITING A KILLER THRILLER, as well as two clickable time-saving e-resources, QUICK CLICKS: Spelling List and QUICK CLICKS: Word Usage. She has also organized two anthologies for charity: VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS – Stories and Poems about Life in BC’s Interior, and CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child WorkersYou can find Jodie on her Amazon Author Page, at, and on Facebook. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jodie Renner's Craft of Writing Articles, January to June 2014

by Jodie Renner, editor & author; @JodieRennerEd

A lot of people have been asking for a list of my craft-of-writing posts and other resources for writers, so here's a list, with links (just click on the title) of my blog posts from January through the
end of June of this year, 2014. I've listed them from most recent at the top, down to January 2 at the bottom.

June 30, 2014, The Kill Zone Blog:

12 Essential Steps from Story Idea to Publish-Ready Novel 

June 19, 2014, The Kill Zone blog: Dialogue Nuts & Bolts

June 16, 2014, The Kill Zone:

15 Questions for Your Beta Readers – And to Focus Your Own Revisions

June 2, 2014, The Kill Zone: Pick up the Pace for a Real Page-Turner

May 19, 2014, The Kill Zone:

How to save a bundle on editing costs – without sacrificing quality

May 5, 2014, The Kill Zone: Tips for Loosening up Your Writing

April 7, 2014, The Kill Zone:

 Looking for an editor? Check them out very carefully!

March 31, Crime Fiction Collective:

Are YOU Being Plagiarized, Too, Without Your Knowledge?

March 24, The Kill Zone: Nail it with Just the Right Word

March 8, 2014, Resources for Writers:

Don’t Give Readers a Reason to Reject Your Novel

Feb. 24, The Kill Zone:

Dangling Participles, Misplaced Modifiers, and Other Awkward Constructions

Feb. 21 – John Yeoman’s blog, The Wicked Writers Blog:

Seven Quick Ways to Write Sentences That Sizzle 

Feb. 3, Crime Fiction Collective:

Indie Publishing – Lessons Learned and Still Learning

Jan. 27, The Kill Zone: Fire up Your Fiction with Foreshadowing

Jan. 13, The Kill Zone: Book Contests for Indie Authors

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor, workshop presenter, judge for fiction contests, and the
award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Captivate Your Readers, Fire up Your Fiction, and Writing a Killer Thriller. She has also published two clickable time-saving e-resources, Quick Clicks: Spelling List and Quick Clicks: Word Usage, and has organized and edited two anthologies for charity: Voices from the Valleys – Stories & Poems about Life in BC’s Interior, and Childhood Regained – Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers. You can find Jodie at,, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  

Click HERE to sign up for Jodie’s occasional newsletter. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Southern Writers Magazine, ALA 2014 in Vegas, BC Youth Writers' Camp, Fire up Your Fiction for $1.75

Catch-up time! I've been so busy everywhere else - packing up an entire house, moving across the country, downsizing into an apartment, editing, writing, blogging elsewhere (like every second Monday on The Kill Zone blog), and traveling - that I've neglected my own blog. So today I thought I'd better do a bit of updating on recent and upcoming events.

Article by Jodie in Southern Writers Magazine

Great to see an article by me in Southern Writers Magazine, in the July 2014 issue, just out!

Here's a teaser on my article, and you can purchase an online or print subscription or individual issues here:
American Library Association Annual Convention in Las Vegas

I made a whirlwind trip in and out of Vegas June 27 and 28 to attend an awards ceremony and sign books at ALA. What a zoo! Over 13,000 attendees, down from the more than 20,000 in Chicago in 2013 - still crazy busy to me! It took me an hour and a half of lining up just to check into my hotel - and attendees stayed at several other hotels, too! Then lineups for absolutely everything - registration, coffee, lunch, washrooms, book signings, you name it.

One perk was that my book, Fire up Your Fiction, was a Finalist in the Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book Awards, presented there. Unfortunately, it didn't win a medal at their awards ceremony on Friday night, but it's still an honor to be shortlisted as a Finalist. Congrats to all the award winners in each category! And a big thank-you to all the great people at Foreword Reviews who help indie (independent) authors get their books out there. Also, I love how they still labeled my book an Award Winner on the display shelf!

Then on Saturday, I gave away a lot of signed books to librarians at the IBPA booth. I sure hope some of them end up in libraries!

"Spark up Your Stories" Workshop at BC Youth Writers Camp

Came home, got a nasty flu bug that wiped me out for 3 days, then headed off to the BC Youth Writers Camp in Penticton, BC, today (July 2) to present a 2-hour writing workshop called "Spark up Your Stories" to 63 eager young writers, aged 8 to 18. Their energy, talent and creativity was impressive, and most of them didn't even mind sharing their stories!


Fire up Your Fiction on at Half-Price

I almost forgot -- FIRE UP YOUR FICTION is on half-price (so $1.75) for the ebook for the whole month of July 2014 on Smashwords! Here's the link: Use the code provided to get 50% off at the check-out. Thanks, Mark Coker!


I've finally found (a bit of) time to get back to finishing my third book, Captivate Your Readers, which has been 3/4 written for about 6 months, and which I plan to publish in September!

And I'll be heading to the When Words Collide writers' conference in Calgary, Alberta Aug. 8-10 to present two workshops, one on Deep POV and the other on Adding Tension, Suspense, & Intrigue to your story.

Jodie Renner, a sought-after freelance editor, has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller and Fire up Your Fiction, which has won two awards to date, and is a finalist for two more. Her third book in the series, Captivate Your Readers, will be out in fall 2014. For more info, please visit Jodie’s author website or editor website, her group blog, The Kill Zone, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. To be the first to hear when Jodie's next book is out and to receive links to valuable, timely blog posts, sign up for her newsletter here.