Wednesday, February 22, 2017



Lets give a round of welcome to Linda Mims, author of THE NEON HOUSES. Linda, thank you for coming to THE COTTAGE OF BLOG and sharing your book and some sage advice to our authors.

We'll learn a little about Linda, THE NEON HOUSES and an article about HOW TO WRITE A PAGE TURNER.  I think you'll find Linda's  article interesting as well as educational. I know I did. I will refer to it often.

Would you kindly leave a comment at the bottom of the page (under comments section) so we know who's been here--if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them.  

How to Write a Page-Turner

Hey fiction writers, what do you want most? Do you want huge sales and lots of money, or do you want a reputation as a writer extraordinaire? You say both? Then you need to supercharge your storytelling and make your book a page-turner.

We all know people who tell the best stories. They are the ones the family turns to on special occasions because they will tell the story right. It won’t drag. They’ll hit all the high points, skip the boring details, and make everyone feel like they were there.

These storytellers create excitement by telling the story at a brisk pace, using plain, stripped-down dialogue, and cutting straight to the action.

A fiction writer should do the same thing. Most any writer can tell a decent story. The plot is probably as good as any plot, but with all of the writers out there today, a good plot is not enough to hold the readers’ interest.

I’ll never forget the first season of the television show, “Scandal”. I watched it while on the phone with my sister, and while online in the Scandal Watch Party group. We were shrieking, reacting, and rapidly firing off online comments and emojis during each commercial break. We kept our blood pressure pills on the table next to us.

Your book should do the same thing to your readers. That’s a book destined for success. A page-turner is a book I'll talk about to anyone who'll listen. It is the subject of discussion groups and it should make a book club eager to talk about the hero or villain.

What makes your book a page-turner?

The page-turner isn't just about the story; it’s about how you tell the story. Do you pull me in and make me love your fictional world? Do I want to lose myself there? The best way to answer that question is were you in “la-la land” as you were writing, or did you keep reminding yourself, “its almost over.”

A page-turner should make the reader stay up all night, weaving in, out, and through tightly woven plots. Wondering who and what—about and between characters—and never knowing what to expect.

Build depth and scope in the characters.

The characters in page-turners are conflicted, complex characters, and they exhibit depth and scope. I create backgrounds for my characters and I know them through and through.

The reader may never know a character’s history or what motivates them, but the author should. That knowledge will help you develop them with the kind of complexity the reader can feel.

Go all out with the plot.

Keep plot twists and surprises coming and don’t slack off. Don't give your readers any breathing room. Put these multi-dimensional characters in tense situations and when the reader thinks he knows how their story will play out, twist the plot again! Give your protagonist a conflict in every chapter. Make the reader bite her nails or clutch the sheets as your protagonist figures out what to do.

Cut your novel to the bone.

Go through your book and remove scenes that readers might want to skip. You know the ones that slow down the action. You don’t even want to read them yourself. There were so many good chapters that I’d toiled over. They were rife with humor and witty repartee, but they didn’t further the action. They slowed the story down, so I removed them. Then, I asked my beta readers to point anymore that I’d missed and they did.

A chapter that I loved had to go. I could’ve chosen to keep it, but when everybody says the same thing, I listen. If you’re writing a mystery or a thriller, the readers want only the parts that are going to lead them to the killer.

End chapters with a cliffhanger.


Author Bio:

Linda Mims started creating tales in her head as a child. At age 12, she knew she was onto something when she sold a story to her grandmother for a quarter, but it was her dad’s more practical advice, to get a good education and find a real job, that she followed.

After retiring from her “real job” as an educator, Linda began her writing career as an indie author. The tale of The Neon Houses was born out of a careless comment that people had lost interest in reading. The joke was that decades from now we’d need to hold reading nights in neighborhood parks for citizens who wouldn’t be able to read.

Linda rolled that idea around in her head until it turned into a whole society of have-nots. Once the idea got rolling, she worked nonstop until she’d finished the first draft. Writing is now her real job!

Linda Mims resides in a small suburban town 30 miles outside of Chicago, IL where she likes to cook, garden, and blog, sometimes simultaneously. She is married to her long-time love, has two grown daughters and one bossy, bichon-pom, Alexis.


Dr. Noel Kennedy hears screams inside her head, but the screams aren’t hers. While preparing for her annual end-of-summer barbecue, Noel hears her young friend—twenty-year-old Zarah Fisher—screaming for her life. However Zarah is miles away!

Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath because Noel has a secret! It’s a secret that not even her husband Richard knows.

As the Deputy Chief of Schools of Gang Territory, Noel has perfected her life. She is a solid, middle-class citizen from New Chicago, Incorporated. New Chicago and Gang Territory have become vastly different societies since the early Urban Wars. Now, year 2087 finds New Chicago’s military-trained police determined to enforce laws that keep “gang people” out.

Harlem Pierce, a New Chicago police detective, has been warned to stay away from this case and he urges Noel to let it go. But a new killing involves Noel’s younger cousin and her boyfriend and links Noel to it in a startling way.

Who can Noel draw on? Must she turn to Warren Simpson—the menacing, treacherous boss of Gang Territory? Or … could he be the killer?


 on February 22, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition


"The tour sponsored by"

14 comments: said...

Excellent post on creating a page-turner, Linda. They are my favorite type of books, and I love when an author sucks me in and keeps the suspense and plot twists ratcheted high. I especially like hooks at the end of a chapter or scene to keep me eagerly reading ahead.

Congrats on the great review of Neon Houses too. The story wounds fantastic!

Many thanks to Pat for hosting today!

Patricia Guthrie said...

Linda, that was a great article on writing a page turner. BTW loved your book. May all your books be "page turners."

Pat G.

Linda Mims said...

MaeClair, thanks for hanging out with me AGAIN! You are Amazing! Yes, the page-turner article describes what I'm striving to make happen!

Thanks for hosting me, Patricia! I'm so glad you liked the book and that you posted such a kind review. I'm still working toward page-turner status! LOL!

Patricia Guthrie said...

I think that's what we're all striving for. Such a little thing--so few words--but, so many years in achieving this goal. Whew!

Shirley Harris Slaughter said...

Linda your points on writing a good page-turner are so timely. We can never learn enough about writing a good story. I remember my mother being a good storyteller. Every night my friends & my siblings would sit on the porch listening to my mom and what does she do? She stops the story and leave us hungering for more. We couldn't wait to hear what happens next but had to wait for the next late evening to hear it. I never could tell a story like that but always wanted to.

Nice job Linda & Patricia thank you for hosting this tour.

Linda Mims said...

Hi Shirley! Thanks for dropping in. I'm the storyteller in my family but I still have a ways to go.

Rhani D'Chae said...

Linda, I got so much from your post, thanks for sharing your insight. Patricia, thank you for hosting this stop on Linda's tour.

Linda Mims said...

Thanks Rhani! Great to see you here! I'm glad the post worked for you.

Natalie Ducey said...

Fantastic post, Linda! There are books I love for the writing. Brilliant and eloquent prose, where I ingest every word and don't want it to end. Then there are other books that I simply can't put down for the very reason you share in your post. A real page turner! Thanks for sharing this with us. Really enjoying your blog tour!
Thanks for the warm welcome, Patricia! :)

John Howell said...

Excellent advice, Linda. I always enjoy a page turner and you offer sone good points. Thanks , Patricia for hosting.

Linda Mims said...

Hi John! It's always good to see you. Thank you for your support.

Linda Mims said...

Patricia, Thank you for today. I appreciate spending the day on your beautiful blog! I'm glad you gave the book a chance; but more, I loved your review.

Joy Lo-Bamijoko said...

I enjoyed reading these tips, Linda. If one could apply them, a great book will be born. :) Thank you, Pat for hosting her.

Patricia Guthrie said...

thank you everyone for stopping by and sharing your day with Linda Mims and myself.