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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Technique Smile, and the whole world wonders what you’re up to

Smile, and the whole world wonders what you’re up to

It is said (apparently inaccurately) that the Inuit have many words for ‘snow.’  Why would that be?  Why, because they see a lot of snow, of course. English has very few words for ‘smile,’ even though we see a lot of them (I hope).  Grin.  Grimace. Beam. Smirk. Maybe even Simper. And you can drag …

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Mechanics Writing with Feeling

Writing with Feeling

I read a submission guideline the other day that sliced novelists into ‘beginner’ and ‘experienced’ using the following cleaver:  “you may consider your work for the experienced category if it has been critiqued by people other than friends and family.” I get it.  Your wife’s going to tell you it’s great.  Family harmony vs. weak …

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Mechanics Wearing a Suit and The Oxford Comma

Wearing a Suit and The Oxford Comma

I went to a shiva yesterday for a friend’s mother.  It was in the evening.  A bit uncertain about dress, I wore a conservative suit and a tie.  When I arrived, I realized most of the people were more casually dressed.  A bit embarrassed, I mentioned to a friend that I felt overdressed.  He said, …

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Fiction Plot Complexity and the Value of Regularity

Plot Complexity and the Value of Regularity

A fine Minnesota writer, William Kent Krueger, plans his mystery novels out in detail, I’m told.  He is well known for going to a diner each morning and writing.  His stories are detailed and coherent, and his prose is clear and finely balanced.  His Ordinary Grace won the 2014 Edgar for best novel.  Clearly, he …

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Mechanics John Grisham and Beethoven’s Ninth

John Grisham and Beethoven’s Ninth

John Grisham, thanks for setting me free. I’m in three writing critique groups.  Twenty or so regulars and some great writers.  We focus down on plot, character voice, technique.  I occasionally worry about over-analyzing everything I read.  Like in college when I had that course in music that took Beethoven’s Ninth apart note by note.  …

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Mechanics The Writing Paradigm

The Writing Paradigm

Ponderous title, no? The paradigm of writing has been one of my discoveries, the kind that slaps you upside the head and then laughs at you when you look back over your benighted stumble toward understanding and realize that it was always there, obvious. You were just too dense to see it. Webster’s defines paradigm …

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Fiction Art, Wisdom, and the Comics

Art, Wisdom, and the Comics

I must admit that I glance at the front page of the paper, scan the news of the day and go to the comics page for wisdom. So, here you have it.  We writers often miss this truth, vainly trying to lock the reader into our own special vision. (from www.sallyforth.com)

Mechanics Stop Saying “I Feel Like”

Stop Saying “I Feel Like”

One of the many challenges I face as a beginning writer (I can still claim novice status, particularly when making novice mistakes) is the issue of how temporal to be. “Temporal” often means “temporary.” Who knows how long LOL or awesome will last? And, do you really want to date your writing? Then there’s the …

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