Sometimes you get what you want not because it's right or fair or even smart, but because you just don't know any better.
You don't have to resolve every problem of the book at the end, but you do have to resolve some.
The common wisdom is that only about 1 percent of a novelist's research ends up in his or her book. In my experience, it's even less – closer to a tenth of a percent.
Our only solace as writers is in the work itself, and perhaps also in a penchant for blissful ignorance that allows us to gamble, to risk, to keep going where others would tote up the odds and stop.
Be wary of cutting and pasting research nuggets directly into your manuscript.
Pulp paperbacks have always provided a training ground for men, Some of them went on to become respected authors – Dean Koontz, Nelson DeMille and Martin Cruz Smith, for example. Why couldn't a woman?
For a decade, I was a stay-at-home mom. I sent my husband to his law office, sat on PTA boards and baked cookies – great cookies. All of a sudden, I had no husband, no job, few prospects, and two small children who had grown accustomed to eating.
I've seen unpublished manuscripts where the writer doesn't know they are making fun of the villain – but they are. If you aren't afraid of your villain, how can your hero be afraid?
Look realistically at espionage thrillers again. They're not only alive, readers are excited about them.
Writers sometimes ruin a book by adding a lighthearted mood at the wrong moment.
If you are writing a thriller with violence in it, the ending must be violent. You are delivering a promise to your reader.
Ignorance is bliss, or so we're told. Personally, I find ignorance is also destiny.
You don't want to become guilty of plagiarism by letting someone else's words get inadvertently mixed in with your own. If you do feel the need to paste in a block of research while you're writing, be sure to highlight the copied text in a different color so you can go back and remove or rewrite it entirely later.
In 1996, when my first novel, 'Masquerade,' was published, I knew international thrillers – or spy novels, if you prefer – had been the domain of male authors for decades.
Get in the habit of vetting your research as you go – particularly research conducted online. Verify facts from multiple reputable sources before you record them.
I've always looked upon research as an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity. But the other side of the coin is one must not be so caught up in it that one never gets the book written.
'Mosaic' is about what we see and what we don't see. I learned how people can develop other senses to compensate for a missing one when I was a child. My best friend, Carol, who is profoundly deaf, saved me from an approaching car that she 'heard' when I didn't.
If you're not in the hands of an expert editor, you really can go wrong in a lot of different ways.