Author Archives: christinedesmetauthor

What question can save a scene, chapter, and manuscript?

Writers are taught to ask “Who, What, When, Where, Why & How” to help put together a story, novel, or memoir. What about revising what we write?

Over time I’ve found that scenes can be fixed fast by asking “What?

“What?” applies equally to action, dialogue, characterization, and more. What is going on emotionally and physically? What is being talked about that matters?

“What?” helps you revise and elevate your pages instantly.

An easy illustration of the effect of “What?” is to look at television series in any genre, including situation comedies, cop shows, family dramas, and any favorite of yours. Think about the characters asking these questions of others and HOW those questions get answered:

“What ARE you doing?”

“What’s going on here?”

“What are we going to tell the D.A.?”

“What are we going to do next?”

“What’s this I hear about you leaving me?”

“What your hurry, buddy?”

The question “What?” heralds readers and viewers to a situation that cannot be ignored. It can help you develop an opener or hook that is currently flat.

“What?” can help you stem the tide of “passes” from agents or publishers. Lackluster scenes and dialogue are popular reasons for passes. Check your scenes and revise:

What’s going on that’s interesting enough?

What’s clichéd? Boring?

What questions does my protagonist ask? Would “What?” questions provide more fun or intrigue?

What action is missing or too much?

What in this scene gives readers the scene goal?

“What” is also handy for building a better cliffhanger for a scene or chapter. Here’s a made-up chapter ending: 

Henry rose the next morning, soon peering out his

kitchen window. He flinched. What the heck was

that thing [fill in blank or not] in his driveway?

Stop your scene or chapter there. Let readers turn to the next page to find out WHAT is in the driveway. Or, replace “that thing” with what you have in your plot: Upset lover? A long-lost father returned? An elephant in the driveway? A starship?

“What?” questions tickle a reader’s curiosity and imagination.

“What?” creates reader engagement.

“What?” is one simple technique that helps a writer dig deeper, polish like a pro, and have rewarding fun.

Categories: Quick and Easy Writing Fixes | Leave a comment

Newly reissued

A Moonstone Wedding. Light-hearted romance-mystery. What could possibly go wrong when planning a big wedding? The humorous and romantic fast-paced mystery featuring lovable, mismatched Margie and Tony. It’s available now

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Interview with Blackbird Writers

Christine talks with Tracey Phillips about her inspiration for writing Five-Alarm Fudge, the 3rd book in her Fudge shop mysteries.

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Author Talk Coming Up Feb 22nd

Event:  Christine DeSmet and author Greg Renz free virtual talk, 7:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, sponsored by Kismet Books, Verona, Wis.

Join Kismet Books for a talk with local authors Christine DeSmet and Gregory Renz!

Christine is the author of the Fudge Shop Mystery Series set in Door County, Wisconsin, and the Mischief in Moonstone Series set in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. She’s also a screenwriter and teaches both screenwriting and novel writing at UW-Madison where she’s a Distinguished Faculty Associate.

Greg Renz served the citizens of Milwaukee for twenty-eight years as a firefighter. He was involved in a dramatic rescue of two boys from their burning basement bedroom. For this rescue, he received a series of awards, including induction into the Wisconsin Fire and Police Hall of Fame in 2006.

Greg has always been an avid reader and thought, maybe, he could craft a compelling novel if he could learn how to get these stories on the page. After only ten years of creative writing courses with the University of Wisconsin Continuing Studies program and countless workshops and conferences later, Greg typed The End to his highly acclaimed debut novel, BENEATH THE FLAMES, which has won The Gold Medal in The Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards along with a Midwest Book Award, Best Book Award, and Public Safety Writers Association Award. 
ImageMonday, February 22, 2021 at 7 PM


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New Deadly Fudge Divas now available

Cover: Deadly Fudge DivasBook 4 in the Fudge Shop Mystery Series.
Available through Amazon and Writers Exchange Publishing in ebook and paperback.

When five former college cheerleaders and friends come to Door County, Wisconsin, to reconnect after 30 years for a weekend of fudge and chocolate facials at Ava Oosterling’s new B&B, Ava and her Grandpa Gil have their hands full when a not-so-sweet murder becomes unwanted entertainment.

Where to buy

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