Summer Memories

Special shout-out to my writing friend, Marsha R. West. She put on my thinking cap for summer end. What are you favorite/not so favorite summer time ends? Marsha mentioned her first summer job and memories flooded back. 1st summer a bit over 16 and I went to work for Leonard’s (now Dillards) in the cosmetic department. Three strong memories: 1) All women department – even in the men’s cologne. 2) Old-styled cash registers – counting change a requirement (loads of folks used cash for purchases. At least once a shift, I’d get some lady who dumped all her change on the glass counter-top and counted pennies/nickels/dimes until she made up the odd amount.) OLD fashioned […]

Don’t Slow That Pace

Slowing the pace or resolving a major character conflict at the end of the chapter or scene gives your reader an opportunity to: 1) put down your fabulous writing2) turn off the light3) and dream about some other author’s characters Not quite a Kiss Goodbye – but too close for any aspiring author who has designs on a Best Seller list. Make your readers hang around and hang on, forcing them to read through what would be a natural place to break. How? Use strong hooks. As writers, we WANT to finish the thought, to build to the end – always pushing the conflict up the next notch. BUT – and it’s a huge BUT, […]

Don’t Bungle your Blogging (or Become a Better Blogger – Writer)

In my daily perusal – read – of a multitude of blog and websites, I’ve discovered some uh-oh moments. Despite the type of blog, the number of individuals involved with the blog, or the purpose of the writing, the mistakes exist. No Grammar Police hat worn here. But I will say that on-page mistakes threaten our reader’s pleasure. Good writing is hard work. More importantly, easy reading is harder work. GOOD GRAMMAR — Wait! Don’t stop reading yet. I know . . . I know . . .The word GRAMMAR should be issued in a whisper. Ears snap closed like a gator before his midnight snack. Patience, Padawan – this could be useful information. I’m […]

Virgin or Seasoned PRO – Details

Each week, I download multiple books to my e-reader. Some I will finish and be excited that I’ve discovered great writing, a new author. Some I will finish because I’ve discovered an innovative plot line.Some I will finish because there is witty dialogue, superlative character development, or the use of literary device that is a struggle for me. Many . . . many, I will not finish. I’ll return them through my Kindle Unlimited – or simply delete from all my devices and take a hit on the cost. Why? Because reading time is precious and obvious mistakes in the first few pages of a book, does not bode well. Sound pompous? Sorry for that, […]

Too Much to Swallow – Plotting

However great the storyteller, however well published the author – one truth remains constant. Plotting, beast that it is, can never be side-stepped, shortened or eliminated. Short story to novel, fiction to non-fiction, romance to suspense, each writer must face the daunting task of basic plotting. Breaking the process of plotting down into specific bites can make the entire process more palatable. Who . . . What . . . When . . . Where . . . and Why: basic questions guaranteed to cook up plotting BRILLIANCE Who – be specific, which character is the target of this plotting session. 1) One of the protagonists? 2) The villain? 3) A secondary character who’s crucial […]

The Brilliance of Layering

I am a bit of a DIY nut. Not the most talented rehab expert, but darned persistent when I need to learn a task in order to complete a make-over. When necessity demanded, I’ve tackled walls and ceilings: tape & bedding, trim-out work, baseboards, texturing, priming then painting, tiling (yes, you can tile a bathroom wall), to floors that have been stripped, sanded, leveled, prepped, tiled, grouted and finally sealed. At our home, we’ve changed light fixtures, ceiling fans, plumbing fixtures, even a few main internal water lines. I’ve removed old, leaky doors, sealed framing, stuffed installation, and floated in a couple of walls. Then there were old dated external doors out and new insulated […]

Working Wednesday – Organization is not a ‘4’ letter word

Writers live in their own world, gladly, but sometimes it becomes a messy place. The temptation may be to wear ear protectors to keep all the ‘good’ stuff from falling out before its time. Currents of conversations, snippets of scenes, puzzling plots, character quirks (heroic or hateful) — all roll around in a writer’s head, vying for storage space. Several years past, the organization tool: Trello came on my radar. Whether writers are ‘pantser’ or obsessively organized, Trello can be the light at the end of the tunnel. Think of Trello as a large message board filled with Post-it (sticky notes, if preferred) notes galore, color-coding, sharing options, drag and drop, schedule capabilities, external linking, […]

Fun Friday – Dressed to the Nines

Phraseology in our language seems for the most part to be passed down generation to generation. Whether writing historical, present day, or futuristic getting the language ‘writer-right’ is crucial. Make sure to explore the etymology of words and language before inserting into your written works, or twisting for a new/futuristic meaning. ‘Dressed to the Nines’ is an expression designed to speak to clothing expression, certainly, but more to clothing perfection. I love the 60s movies when the culture dictated gloves, hats, pressed pants, silk stockings. From How To Marry A Millionaire. OR Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’sBut whatever these pictures represent to me, is that the original meaning of ‘Dressed to the Nines’? According […]

Technical Tuesday – a tasty tidbit thanks to the Iron Chef Gauntlet

The Iron Chef Gauntlet is currently running on Food Network. If in your part of the world the season finale has already aired, do NOT reveal the ending. No spoilers in the comment section, please. The series started with seven experienced, and extremely hopeful, chefs who set their sights on eliminating their fellow kitchen connoisseurs in order to face the toughest competition of all: three reigning Iron Chefs. For most that would be enough to curdle blood, weaken knees, and reduce steel spines to a puddle of ooze. But each of the seven signed on for the heat in the kitchen and wielded their knives with enthusiasm. This week’s episode featured a Chairman’s Challenge between […]

Lure The Muse

Creativity is simultaneously a writer’s best friend and most dreaded enemy. But why? Are we, as writers, challenged of casual creativity? Are we blind to the bare bones of original brilliance? Do we glue our eyes closed to simple genius? Finding a writer’s muse can often involve gritting teeth, severing of limbs (metaphorically, folks) or jumping off the proverbial cliff and hoping for wings of inspiration. But why must it be so difficult when often hidden wells of creativity lurk inside each of us? What is the secret? Lure the muse. How? I have discovered that most writers have a number of passions. Seldom does our creativity sequester itself in a solitary cell. Instead, creativity […]