Writing Pursuits LLC

Kathrese McKee helps authors write great stories; she hosts the Writing Pursuits podcast, teaches workshops about writing craft topics, and writes speculative fiction books, short stories, and flash fiction. Kathrese has edited fiction professionally since 2014. Learn more about her books and services at

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WP #187 - Battling Book Bans and Bad Writing Habits

Dear Reader, Mark me safe from the national tornado outbreak, y'all. Here in Houston, Texas, we had a derecho, which is a massive stormfront characterized by strong, straight-line winds. This resulted in more than 900,000 homes and businesses losing power, not to mention lots of roof, tree, and fence damage. Phew! Hope all of you came through the storms safely. Thanks for your feedback! Thanks to those who gave me such great feedback about my website a couple of weeks ago. I am taking your...

WP #186 - CORRECTION. Major Changes Ahead: My Upcoming Surgery and Audible's Royalty Shift

Dear, Reader. Well, I made a typo in my own website URL. Please see Also, I found a rather nasty incompatibility between my new theme (Astra) and the Siteground Speed Optimizer plugin that affects the way pages are rendered. I have applied a fix; hopefully, it will work. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how much you test! Thanks to the readers who swiftly let me know about these problems. As promised, I am back! And speaking of backs, I am scheduled for spinal...

WP #186 - Major Changes Ahead: My Upcoming Surgery and Audible's Royalty Shift

Dear, Reader. As promised, I am back! And speaking of backs, I am scheduled for spinal surgery in late June. I have learned the hard way not to hold my breath about surgery dates, so maybe I will announce the actual date when things seem more certain. From @sarahmcradit on Threads Today, I have two three topics I want to mention. The first is my remodeled website. Do me a solid favor and click around and let me know if you spot missing links, typos, and other...

WP #185 - Manuscript Safety & Why I Fired Microsoft OneDrive

Dear Reader, Don't shoot the messenger. Someone—someone else, not me—chose March 31st as World Backup Day, and this year, it happens to coincide with Easter Sunday. From the Readers Our question last week was: How do you map out your stories? What methods work best for you? "I start with an idea, maybe not as fully fleshed out as a premise. I may have written down when I woke up in the night or from seeing something out the window. For my debut novel I was sitting and Spinning blue merino...

WP #184 - Find the Balance Between Plotting and Pantsing

Dear Reader, This week has been rough, but I'm happy to say I managed to work on my WIP long enough to finish one scene and start another. Today features a throw-back post from 2018 entitled "Don't Call It an Outline." It contains my best tips for breaking through the fear of using the wrong process for writing fiction. Back when I first played around with the idea of writing a book, I opened up a spiral and started writing a story I thought my kids would enjoy. Every spare moment—at games...

WP #183 - How to Find a Reputable Small Press

Dear Reader, This week, I did not set out to revisit the City Owl Press controversy, but here we are. Small presses fill a necessary niche in the publishing world today, but finding a reputable small press is not a straightforward process. The recent kerfuffle at City Owl Press underlines how difficult the choice can be. Please read How to Find a Reputable Small Press because I know that not everyone wants to go indie, and your decision may vary on a book-by-book basis. Today's post contains...
side characters in a story

WP #182 - Unlock the Secrets to Memorable Side Characters! 🎭

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” ―Maya Angelou, Interview with Psychology Today Dear Reader, The Suggestion Box is a real thing, y'all, and this week's Writing Pursuits Tips newsletter is a direct response to KV's request: "I'd be interested in learning more about fleshing out/developing side characters." —KV Thanks to KV for suggesting this important topic. YOU can suggest questions, issues, and topics by using the Suggestion Box. I hope to hear from you. Make...

WP #181 - What You Need to Know about Findaway Voices Terms of Service Update

"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced." —James Baldwin (As Much Truth As One Can Bear, New York Times) Dear Reader, If you're writing a book, you will relate to the gif below. This week has been rough on my writing schedule because of four medical appointments. Four! Even if your schedule isn't a wreck, writing is hard work and there is a lot to learn, not just about the craft but about the business of writing. Today's topic is centered on...
Old, flawed sculpture

WP #180 - Add Depth to Your Characters: Embracing Flaws and Scars

Dear Reader, Inspiration comes from strange places sometimes, and the idea for today's Tips came from a Thread post about kintsugi. "Kintsugi literally means ‘joining together with gold’. The philosophy behind this practice is that breakage and repair are important parts of an object's story, rather than something to be hidden.⁠⁠" —Dr. Mohammad Firoz Khan (archaeohistories on Threads) Dr. Khan's post reminded of how Mary Sue...