You have an outline of some sort. Whatever works for you. And you're following it as faithfully as your characters will let you. You know where you came from and where you're going. But no journey is without side trips, problems, unexpected stops and whatever else must be dealt with because things happen. The oops… Continue reading What Wouldn’t Happen?
Minor characters are sneaky. They are necessary to the story but they aren't supposed to take over. The problem comes when one or more of them do exactly that. So what to do? Depends. There are two kinds of minor characters. You need to know which category your minor character belongs to before you can… Continue reading Minor Characters
A long time ago, I bought a book that promised to describe forty-five compelling characters that I could use in my fiction. As I read it, I realized that I knew someone who resembled each and every character it described. And there were forty-five of them! Wow! But I realized something. The author simply described… Continue reading Creating Characters
Sorry, folks. I wrote this post and it disappeared. Don't know where it went. Don't know how. Just that it's lost somewhere in cyberspace. So, here it goes again. Hope this time it stays. Of course, this won't be a literal repeat of my first post but it'll be the gist of it. It's about criticism. … Continue reading CRITICISM
When I first started writing professionally, I couldn't imagine what I'd write about. Where I'd find inspiration. Who my characters would be and what would happen to them. As time passed and I discovered that a steady living as a writer could be had by writing confession stories, everything came clear. I'd write about myself… Continue reading Coming of Age as a Writer
Meet Ian and Charlie. Charlie is a forester. She's employed by Ian Macallister to care for the piece of Northwoods forest that his company owns. Macallister Outdoors recently added to their wilderness holdings, and Ian wants Charlie to give him a tour. If you look at the cover closely, you'll see a third character. Its in the lake. Watching. Listening. You'll… Continue reading WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COVER!
I learned this tip while still a teenager. I studied ballet from one of the country's (perhaps the world's) best technicians. She was so good that professional dancers of all kinds who were in Chicago for a gig took whatever classes she could fit them into for the duration of their stay. They weren't good enough to be in the… Continue reading THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL
Once, I submitted a story about two of my kids and settled back to wait a few months to hear from the editors. Instead, less than a week after putting it in the mail, I got a frantic call from an editor wanting to know how quickly I could sign a contract because they wanted… Continue reading WHY CHRISTMAS IS IN JULY
Last time I gave out a template for writing short stories and said that, if expanded, it could also become a template for novels. This post is to explain a bit about how to do that. Of course, as always, if your writing method differs from mine, do whatever is right for you. If you… Continue reading A NOVEL TEMPLATE
When I first started writing, I didn't start selling. The manuscripts went out. And came back. And went out. And came back. And so on... until I read an article that contained a short story template. I followed that template. Why not? I couldn't do any worse than I was already doing. Lo and behold. … Continue reading THE FIRST STEP TO A STORY