If You Don’t Love a Character…

L-R: Robin Allen, Kaye George, Janice Hamrick, Hopeton Hay

Sunday’s Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter presented a New Authors panel: Robin Allen (If You Can’t Stand the Heat: Stick a Fork in It), Kaye George (Choke; Smoke), and Janice Hamrick (Death on Tour; Death Makes the Cut). Hopeton Hay, host of KAZI Book Review, served as moderator.

Here, listed in no particular order and attributed to no particular panelist, are the tips I gleaned from the discussion:

  • If you don’t love a character, get him out of your manuscript.
  • Characters don’t always behave.
  • Publishing the first book makes writing the second easier.
  • There is no one correct way to write a book.
  • Characters come to life during the writing, not during the outlining.
  • Write characters worthy of subplots; they will carry the book.
  • Writing is torture.
  • Writing is necessary for good mental health.
  • Sexual tension between characters is hard to sustain over time, but marriage ends things.
  • Publishers encourage authors to have a social media presence.
  • Publishers discourage authors from having a social media presence.
  • Publishers don’t market books.
  • Authors must actively market in order to sell books.
  • Without limitations on time, it’s easy to screw around all day.
  • Agents don’t know everything.
  • Plot in advance but be willing to change the plan.
  • Writers who pants successfully have a lot of the plot in their heads.
  • Not everyone needs to write daily.
  • Sometimes a character disappears without telling the writer where he’s gone.
  • Writing a novel requires large blocks of time.
  • Writing a novel can be done in twenty-minute segments.
  • Experience makes a difference.
  • Establish a writing calendar.
  • An excellent manuscript doesn’t ensure publication.