Monthly Archives: April 2020

Writer On: April Writing Goals (Recap)

Hello Writer Bees!

I’m trying to make the most of lockdown. Did I reach my goals? Keep reading to find out.


Writing Plans

  • Participate in StayHomeWriMo. – Yes! Using StayHomeWriMo to reconnect with my WIP. I’ve been connecting with other writers on Twitter. I even set up a proper desk area to work in.
  • Keep working on initial suspect interviews. – Yes, but pacing those introductory interactions has been tricky. (Or maybe I’m overthinking things.)
  • Write a little (~200-300 words) everyday – I’ve done a bunch of freelance work this month, does that count? Regarding my WIP, I haven’t written everyday, but I have been writing. Note to self: Figure out work/writer balance.
  • Brainstorm new scenes. – I have, actually. I’m brainstorming scenes that my WIP needs as opposed to meaningless fluff just to bump the word count up. Letting those creative juices flow while on lockdown.

Reading Goals

  • Read entire first draft. – I’m reading through my first draft and taking notes. By taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, it’s helped my writer’s block and showed me what I need to work on plot wise.

What do you guys think of my goals? And what are your writing plans for this month? Talk to me in the comments!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter

Do Ronald Knox’s 1929 Rules on Detective Fiction Still Hold Up in 2020?

(With May Of Mystery right around the corner, I’ve decided to repost this article for last year. Enjoy!)

Hello my amateur sleuths!

Did you know that one famous author actually wrote rules for writing detective stories in the 1920’s?

Ronald Knox was a prominent figure in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. As a mystery loving priest, he published the Ten Commandments on Detective Fiction. Are the rules still relevant or outdated? Let’s investigate, shall we?

1.The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.

True enough. If the author introduces the real killer towards the end, readers will feel cheated. How can they suspect a character that came out of nowhere? The criminal needs to be introduced within the first couple chapters of the story. Also, the audience, usually, isn’t allowed to enter the thoughts of the murderer. Their inner workings should remain unknown to the audience, until the very end.

2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.

Now, I disagree with this one, just a smidge. If done right, multiple genres can be featured in a single story. Maybe a sprinkle of supernatural could work in a murder mystery. It’s all about balance. As long as the integrity of the whodunit remains solid, other genres can join in. A little fantasy and magic never killed nobody.

3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

I mean, he has a point. A second secret passage won’t garner as much surprise as the first secret passage. One hidden room is enough. Don’t push your luck.

4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.

Fair enough, Mr. Knox. Basically, this rule applies to all made up devices. Hard to acquire poisons from foreign lands or complex inventions are far too unlikely plotwise. Using an unusual method cheats the readers from unraveling the mystery themselves. Remember, detective fiction is meant to challenge the reader mentally, like a puzzle.

5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.

No, we’re not talking about those of Chinese descent. The term ‘Chinamen’ refers to evil mastermind character, maniacal laugh included. Antagonists need real motives. Their reason for committing a crime must be plausible. No sinister villains are welcome in a detective story.

6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.

Frankly, this rule reminds me of those classic Scooby Doo cartoon, where clues fall into their laps. As tempting as it sounds, coincidences, chance happenings and bizarre hunches are just too easy. Every clue must be discovered on purpose, with purpose. Don’t just hand over clues on a silver platter. Make your detective, and the reader, work for every scrap of information.

7. The detective must not himself commit the crime.

Where’s the fun in that? Listen to Knox, it’d be a disaster to have the detective be the culprit. Plus, you’re killing any chance for a sequel. No pun intended.

8. The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.

For fairness, the detective and the reader must have equal opportunity to solve the case. However, the sleuth can keep some less obvious clues to himself. Just collecting the insignificant clues in his/her pocket until the big reveal. The reader knows every hint, but just isn’t sure how important each piece of information is.

9. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.

I object to this one. Although he wasn’t smarter than Holmes, I wouldn’t consider Watson an idiot. Seriously, Watson could pull his own weight. The sidekick can have brains too. Heck, they may even become as asset for a detective during an investigation. Instead of being slightly below the reader’s intelligence, why can’t a sidekick’s intelligence be slightly below the detective’s brainpower?

10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.

See, I feel like nowadays, audiences are thrilled by surprise doubles. Not all doubles or twin need a heads up in advance. (Side note: Have you guys been watching Cloak and Dagger? Talk about shocking doubles.)


Yes, all of these “commandments” have been broken in detective fiction before. However, some of these rules are still relevant by today’s standards. Murder mysteries are complicated games, whether you choose to take note of the rules or break them is up to you. You’re the writer.

What do you guys think of Knox’s rules from 1929? Do you think they still hold up to today’s whodunits? Let me know in the comments.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Prompt of the Week: Think Happy Thoughts

Inspired by last week’s story, write about one thing that makes you truly happy.


Shout out to Mysti for their powerful response to last week’s prompt.

Write your response in the comments bellow. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writer Services // Follow Me on Twitter

The Artist Who Paints Sunflowers (Flash Fiction)

My therapist told me, for once, write a happy story. What a writing prompt for a gloom and doom writer such as myself. A difficult task, I admit, what with all the death and tragedy and misfortune in the world. I sat at my writing desk, pouring a glass of whisky and pushing notes of cynicism aside. Like some Peter Pan, I instead grasped for blissful thoughts.

Then, I thought of Gertrude. A friend, you could say.

A twinkling lost soul in a lost generation. Worries never seem to stain her coat. I can’t recall where she lives, but wherever it is, summer is eternal. Her life is simple. Perched on her sunny balcony like an exotic parrot, she paints flowers at her wooden easel. Daisies, roses, poppies. Sunflowers are her favorite.

When Gertrude laughs, her head tilts back and expels champagne bubbles from her lungs. With Sinatra crooning through the speakers, she slow dances with lovers in the living room. She relishes even the most boring of dinner conversation. A nymph perfectly content with simply existing.

Every morning, she returns to that easel, a servant to the art. She makes love to colors on a blank canvas. Gold drips from her paintbrush. Satisfaction curves her lips into a smile. Leaning back with a mugful of coffee, she appreciates her painting. A sunflower smiles back at her.

Gertrude is fiction.

A mere wisp of delight on a page. Although I would not be surprised if some form of Gertrude walks the earth today, an artist who paints sunflowers on a light soaked balcony. Still, there is a joy that comes with flights of fiction, isn’t there?

Perhaps my therapist was right about these so-called happy stories.


The other day, I was talking to my boyfriend about what I should post for you all during quarantine, to help uplift other writers. He simply said “Write a story. People want to read happy stories right now, to take their mind off things.”

Thank you to my better half for inspiring this story.

Keep writing, writer bees, and stay safe.

– Lady Jabberwocky

Supporting Writers During the Quarantine

Hello writer bugs!

It’s been another long week here in New York. Everyday, there’s bad news. I’m doing my best to keep my head above water. Last week, I shared my bucket list, in hopes of lifting some spirits. And it worked. Your comments really touched me.

It feels a little wrong to continue with my usual content. This blog may be small, but it’s still a platform. And if I can help other writers get through lockdown and stay positive, I’m gonna try my best.

In an effort to support writers during these difficult times, I am opening the floor to you guys. What do you want to see on this blog? More short stories? More lighthearted humor? Tips on blogging, freelancing or creative writing?

Trust me, there are no bad ideas. I just feel like doing my part as a writer.

Speaking of support writers, I have also been considering a Ko-Fi account, to be a tip jar for you guys. What do you think of that idea? If any of you have experience with Ko-Fi, tell me all about it in the comments.

Writers need to support other writers. We’re all in this together. So, reach out to your fellow writers on social media. Share your stories. In all this madness, let’s keep the creativity flowing.

Looking forward to hearing from you writer bees.

Stay safe out there.

Love, Lady Jabberwocky

Writer Services // Follow Me on Twitter

Prompt of the Week: What’s on Your Bucket List?

Based on last Friday’s post, what’s one thing on your bucket list?


Shout out to Manpreet for their totally relatable response to last week’s prompt of the week.

Write your response in the comments bellow. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writer Services // Follow Me on Twitter

Things to Do Before ____: The Bucket List Tag

Hello writer bees.

It’s been a long week. And if I’m honest, I’ve feeling a little drained. It seems like everyone is struggling during this pandemic, both emotionally and health wise. Really reminds you how short life is, huh?

One of my goals for 2020 is to be more positive. I’m not a motivational speaker. I’m just a writer trying to keep her head above water. And the last time I was about to fall down the rabbit hole of deep depression, I started writing a list of things I hope to do in my life. It’s a note on my phone, titled ‘things to do before ____’. Before what? Before I turned 30? Before I die? It never felt right for me to fill in the blank, not sure why. Regardless, this ever growing list keeps my spirit up when I need it.

Then I stumbled on the Bucket List tag, where you write 10 things you want to do in your life. And now, here we are. This is my bucket list.

  • Write and publish a novel.
  • Get a bunch of tiny tattoos.
  • Go to Disney World and possibly Disneybound.
  • See a Ballet.
  • Mentor young writers.
  • Adopt a rescue dog or cat.
  • Travel to Baltimore.
  • Learn to cook healthy.
  • Visit a NYC Speakeasy.
  • Find a Blog Sponsor for Lady Jabberwocky. (wink wink)

Probably no one will be interested in this post, and that’s fine. But maybe, someone out there will start their own list and feel a little uplifted. I think we all need a pick me up right about now.

Share your bucket list on your own blog/social media or leave it in the comments here.

Stay well and stay safe, everyone.

– Lady Jabberwocky

Writer On: April Writing Goals

Hello Writer Bees!

Writing goals during a global quarantine? Sure, why not? Let’s make the most of lockdown.

If you’d like, take a look at my March goals and last month’s recap.


Writing Plans

  • Participate in StayHomeWriMo.
  • Keep working on initial suspect interviews.
  • Write a little (~200-300 words) everyday.
  • Brainstorm new scenes.

Reading Goals

  • Read entire first draft. (because I’m stuck plot wise)

What do you guys think of my goals? And what are your writing plans for this month? Talk to me in the comments!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter