On Writing

Inspiration: Mining Subjects Close to My Heart

I grew up trout fishing. But I will never be able to capture the river like Norman Maclean. I once toiled as an innkeeper. But my experiences were nothing like described by John Irving. Inspiration Comes From Experience I am a product of the American West and my inspiration comes from those people. I take inspiration from their stories and those subjects are close to my heart. When Tom Booker stopped at a remote four-corners somewhere between Nevada and…

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On Writing

Fragments of My Mind: The Muse Dilemma

So here I sit with the fragments of four great ideas and as a result four unfinished projects. At this point, I see them taunting me. “Come on. Finish me. I dare ya.” Honestly, one only needs a rewrite. Only needs a rewrite. Like that is something I want to do. Coming up with the idea was one thing. Actually having to get down and dirty for the rewrite is a whole other matter. Another…

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On Writing

After My Stroke: A Year of Possibilities

Author’s Note: After my stroke in July 2015 I had to think about how I would proceed. This project started out as a way for me to focus on writing. The year took a different turn for me. I spent two months relearning how to walk, talk, and type. A had a stroke at the age of 51. It became a rebirth. After My Stroke: A Year of Possibilities A year ago I started this experiment…

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On Writing

Second Writing: Proofreading and Editing Skills

By all means write as fast as you can and put the words on paper. In the movie Finding Forrester, the fictional reclusive author William Forrester tells Jamal Wallace, “No thinking — that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is … to write, not to think!” No thinking — that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart.…

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On Writing

Character Introductions: Backstrom

Every story needs to introduce the main characters and this is often a tough process for a writer. A character needs to feel three-dimensional and alive. A long description of each certainly would lay out their foibles and tics. Describing each for their unique attributes, hair styles, and shower habits can be fun. However, character descriptions can tend to be like describing a photograph: sort of flat.

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On Writing

Character Sketch

Your job, as a writer, is to introduce your characters in a way that: is interesting brings them to life for the reader conjures up an image that is as close as possible to the way you see them in your mind gives the reader more information than just their physical appearance – i.e. also gives an insight into their personality and what drives them Your job is to let every sentence earn its keep…

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On Writing

The False Ending

I have mentioned that many stories fail to gain traction in the second act. This is where the viewpoint character forgets why they are in the story. Of course, it is the writer who has forgotten; either by writing by their pants or failing to plot in enough conflict to keep the story moving forward. Stories thrive on conflict and bad things must happen to the hero before it all ends up as good and…

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On Writing

Pantser Plotter

There are two camps of thought: the people who listen to the muse and write by the seat of their pants and the people who write an entire book-length outline prior to starting to write. I prefer to combine the two, without writing an entire book-length outline. Let me explain my thoughts on this debate. Pantsers argue they are free to listen to the story and the characters. It is a muse-centric approach, with the…

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