Mechanics Long words

Long words

My critique groups often lean on me for using bigger words than necessary. Particularly people who read and adore Hemingway. My weak defense is accuracy: I want the reader to get an exact picture. The response is, “in well-written work, sixty percent of the reader’s vision is what the author wrote; forty percent is drawn …

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Literature The Value of Literature in 30 words or Less

The Value of Literature in 30 words or Less

It was a simple statement on a subject too often drowned in words: Study of the Liberal Arts “is for developing the muscle of thoughtfulness, the use of which will be the greatest pleasure in life and will also show what it means to be fully human.” It came from Anne Hall, a lecturer at …

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Mechanics Rollin’ the Stone Up the Hill

Rollin’ the Stone Up the Hill

I knew it had to happen, but I figured I’d be reading Hemingway or Shakespeare, Steinbeck or Joyce when it did. I’m talking about the hit-upside-the-head feeling of being a talentless drudge.  I recognized it right away, because I’ve had it more often than I care to admit as a musician, listening to other guitarists …

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Blues A Reading

A Reading

My Story Blues Highway was published in the May, 2013 annual Bacopa Literary Review, and I was asked to read a portion of it at the Bacopa annual meeting in Gainesville, FL.  Here’s the reading: The Bacopa Review had 80+ short stories, creative non-fiction and poetry.  See the Bacopa website  for a copy.   My whole …

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Fiction On Writing from the master of mystery and crime

On Writing from the master of mystery and crime

Yesterday, we learned that Elmore Leonard has passed on, perhaps to write in another sphere.  The New York Times published an obituary and an op ed piece describing him as having elevated the genre.  Leonard wrote a piece on making a narrator that doesn’t usurp the story that is beautiful for its brevity and clarity.  …

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Mechanics Cape Cod Writers Conference

Cape Cod Writers Conference

A month has gone by since I promised myself that I would get my electronic world in order and blog twice a week.  I also promised myself that I would not give into the temptation to publish personal banalities when I have nothing interesting to report.  But that’s not it, either.  I have a couple …

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Fiction Groped! … Help!

Groped! … Help!

Novice writers get a raft of advice.  One of the most repeated is the admonition to ‘Write what you know.’  Probably a good idea.  After all, if your character is someone entirely outside of your experience, how will you know how she reacts to the events in the plot? That brings me to the problem …

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Fiction Potholes


Potholes!  Newly returned to Minneapolis, I had forgotten that potholes are an attribute not of winter, but of that brief season between Winter and Road Construction called Spring. I get potholes in my stories, too. In the chapter of Skins and Bone that I just put up, someone in my writing group pointed out that …

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Mechanics Ahhh … the Internet!

Ahhh … the Internet!

I am constantly astounded by the Internet.  It has changed fiction writing, at least genre fiction.  If your story has an involved plot, you have to love the Internet. Last night, I was knocking around cyberspace, looking for a few details for my current writing project and second novel, Skins and Bone.  I was able …

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