Entries by KJ Charles

50 Ways to Leave your Library: Guilt-Free Book Dumping

A staggering number of people say they can’t dump books. ‘Once I’ve started, I have to finish, even if I hate it.’ Whether it’s out of bloody-mindedness, self-doubt (‘everyone else thinks it’s good…), a vague sense of obligation to the writer, or even misplaced politeness of the kind that makes British people say ‘Sorry!’ when […]

Book Shaming: ‘You Don’t Read *That*, Do You?’

A: Hey, what are you reading? B:  It’s called The Screaming Girls and it’s a thriller about a serial killer who horribly tortures pregnant women to death and then nails their uteruses to the wall. He’s called The Virginia Woolf Killer because he’s creating a womb of his own. I’m really enjoying it. What about […]

Writing the Synopsis: giving the editor what she wants

I hate writing synopses. I feel embarrassed looking at my plot and characters reduced to a few paragraphs. The whole thing looks stupid and childish. Why would anyone read this dumb crap anyway? Moreover, I have never met an author who likes writing synopses. Virtually every one I get is prefaced with ‘I’m rubbish at […]

Cruel to be Kind: Don’t let your characters off too easily

‘If there isn’t any fighting, it’s not a proper story.’ – My four-year-old son. During my romance-editing days, I read an MS that’s stuck with me for years, although not in a good way. The conflict-packed synopsis was much as follows. (I have removed/changed all identifying details, obviously, while reproducing the essence of the problem.) […]

Getting to the Editor: follow the guidelines

‘Hi, I have a manuscript I’d like to send you but I see you don’t accept unsolicited submissions. Please call me back to ask me to send it to you.’ – Actual message on my actual voicemail. It is really hard to get your MS read by a publisher. That’s just how it is. Everyone […]

Writing While Parent: how do you find the time?

There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall. – Cyril Connolly. I’ve never read anything by Cyril Connolly (except for his hilarious 007 cross-dressing spoof, ‘Bond Strikes Camp’, which is probably not relevant here), and I’m prepared to bet money that he didn’t take responsibility for childcare, so […]