Entries by KJ Charles

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 […]

Being an Editor: The other stuff

– This contract is asking for a definition of ‘Editor’, can you supply something? – How about ‘irritable, tea drinking pedant’? – I’ll put that in the boilerplate. What editors do all day has been brilliantly summed up in this handy pie chart from Sarah Fletcher (www.sarahjhfletcher.com and @sjhfletcher). I can’t better that, but it […]

Inspiration: from Facebook to Freud

I had a silly Internet conversation. Alex: When you become a world renown writer with like 10 books on the NY Times top selling books list, can you make one TERRIBLE psychology pun in a book, so I know that you love me KJ: If you can give me a good psychology gag appropriate to […]

Speech Verbs, and Why You Shouldn’t

My brother used to wind people up by adding speech tags in conversation. Me: I was going to the shops – Him: “She announced.” Me: And I saw this bloke – Him: “She revealed.” Me: Will you shut up? Him: “She demanded” – Ow, that really hurt! Me: “He yelped.” Speech tags can be just […]

Editor, writer, anaconda, rat

My name is KJ Charles and I’m a first-time novelist. (The Magpie Lord, Samhain, Sept 13.) In my other life, I’m an experienced commissioning editor. (For the purposes of this blog I’m an anonymous editor, so I can give actual examples without feeling too constrained about authors thinking, ‘Is she talking about me?!’ (Honestly, darling, […]