My Craft

Driving Back from Spring Break

[aesop_image imgwidth=”500px” img=”https://wordsmithholler.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/bokeh-1033539_1920.jpg” credit=”Pixabay” align=”right” lightbox=”on” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off”] Three days earlier I studied all night with a girlfriend for a physics exam and afterward drove four classmates 12 hours to San Diego for spring break. The entire trip the girls giggled and cackled behind me while a Korean kid sat silent up front. I decided we scared Jae. Although, being a confused immigrant might also explain his silence. Either way, he only said thanks when I dropped him off…

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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

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

The Bedwell Curse

I am sure she really meant no harm when she said, “You will never be a writer.” The shock of the statement caused me to burn inside and I ached to prove her wrong. My sophomore English teacher failed to understand my punctuation and short sentences that often lacked complexity or my fascination with Tyburn poems. “Rat-a-tat-tat,” she would write on my papers. “Less poetry, more exposition,” she scrawled in big red letters. Sentences consisting…

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My Craft

On the Path from Small to Large

Small. Brownie Cottage. 300 square feet. Enough room to sit. And maybe spin all around. The size of a gingerbread doghouse. If the dog was a small mastiff. A big dog with a very large appetite. With no place to store the dog food bags. The minimalists say we all could stand to slim down. That our mega mansions, stuff, and stacks of books signify waste. But the very thought of living in a one-room…

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My Craft

The Devil Knows You’re There

He hung 100 feet above Fremont Street, like Superman, tethered only to the narrow ribbon of wire in a harness. Unable to twist and look up at why he was stuck, he looked down at the street instead. A sea of tourists moved below him as if he was another attraction. A small boy let go of a smiley-face balloon and started to cry.  A bald dude stared at him in a peewee muscle shirt.…

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On Writing

Making Time

I dislike the gym. I do not have a gym membership and the thought of exercise sends me back to the couch. I like the couch. It is safer and never leads to a pulled back muscle. Of course, I could use some stretching of my back muscles. Writing – the actual practice of sitting down and writing – has never been a problem. I mean, the actual knocking out of words. The words flow…

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