Mechanics Technique, again

Technique, again

I am taking a look yet again at my first novel, Fatal Score (initially called Hack the Yak), which I am preparing to query. I asked an editor to look at the first three chapters.  The results were eye-opening. When I began writing, I used interior monolog (protagonist’s thoughts), which I laid down in italics.  …

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Mechanics Pantser … or not

Pantser … or not

There are two approaches to writing fiction.  A Pantser writes from the seat of the pants. The writer lets the characters pull the story along. An Outliner (maybe we should say ‘Engineer’) lays out the story … the plot line … then begins writing.  So far, I’ve been a Pantser. My third novel has a …

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Mechanics Good Writing, Italics, Inner Monolog

Good Writing, Italics, Inner Monolog

I’m in rewrite on my second novel.  I occasionally run into the problem of how to show the reader a character’s thoughts as distinguished from what the character says.  There are no precise rules to follow, and that somehow makes it easier to get away with bad writing.  In doubt? Put the thought in quotes.  …

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Mechanics The Agony of Grammar

The Agony of Grammar

I’ve been running into an issue in writing lately that has me stumped: grammar. Specifically, how precisely to follow grammatical rules in writing, particularly in dialog. On the one hand, John McWhorter (Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue and others) points out that the language is always in motion and often intimates that the “rules” we follow …

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Mechanics Details Details

Details Details

I’m beginning to understand that most of writing involves choices about where to land between extremes. The issue I’m currently working with in rewrite is the question of how much to tell. It came up because I got widely different comments in writing groups on the lead passage of my first novel: “So you’re the …

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Fiction Putting an Edge on Writing

Putting an Edge on Writing

My wife, Beverly, can’t stand the sound of knives being sharpened. Clever person that she is, she gave me a professional knife sharpener several years ago. It’s big and electric, so she has plenty of warning when the urge to sharpen takes me.  The device has three sharpening positions. The first one comes with a …

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Mechanics Rewrite and Guitar-making: The art of shaving the braces

Rewrite and Guitar-making: The art of shaving the braces

When a luthier is making the top of an acoustic guitar, he or she is faced with a delicate balancing act: the spruce used for good tops is thin, 1/8” or less. And the tone of the instrument depends on putting enormous tension on this fragile sheet. The top needs support, but too much support …

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Fiction Rewrite

Rewrite

I’m learning the wisdom in the writerly saying, “You never finish a novel, you just send it off when there’s no time left to rewrite.” I’m in my eighth or ninth rewrite of Hack the Yak, still finding words to change, emotions to outline better, little plot quirks.  You know the old phrase, ‘If it …

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Writing First Draft Finished

First Draft Finished

Finished the first draft of Skins and Bone. Now on to the dread rewrite. This time, I’m going to be a little better organized than I was for Hack the Yak. This time, I have 120+ critiques. Better yet, this time I have the mistakes I made before. I hope the new ones (mistakes, that …

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