Controlling the uncontrollable

“One of my characters and I have spent years trying to tell thunderstorms when and where to thunderstorm,” with that thought I realized a big piece of why it irritates me when people try to dictate (or even interfere with) when and where I write. I’ve spent years trying to control this, channel it, andContinue reading “Controlling the uncontrollable”

Not politically correct, but…

Merry Christmas dear reader. Merry Christmas to all! There are those who would tell me not to say Merry Christmas, that saying Merry Christmas is somehow offensive. Well, I’m not going to say they aren’t entitled to their own feelings, but most of the “Don’t say Merry Christmas” crowd that I’ve met either don’t understandContinue reading “Not politically correct, but…”

Audience expectations

Playing with what our audience expects can be dangerous. Sometimes you can pull it off. Sometimes it really backfires. This week we’re looking two audience expectation failures I’ve found. Email oops… First, early this week, I got an email from a spice monger I buy from. The first couple of lines were what you wouldContinue reading “Audience expectations”

You need to say it…

Last week we talked about entry points and beginnings, about the need to understand your audience and how to bring them into your writing. This week’s topic is related: you might need to modulate how you say what you have to say, but say it. Don’t insult your audience Put consideration into how you sayContinue reading “You need to say it…”

Beginnings and entry points

When I started Johnson Farm (my first published novel) I started with events found in the second half of the story as it reads today. Most my first ideas are in the story’s ending. My entry point into Unintended Consequences (hopefully my second published novel) was, I thought, in the middle of the book. ItContinue reading “Beginnings and entry points”

Not as good as an editor, but…

Even the best writer can’t go it entirely alone for editing. The best thing, the most helpful option, is people reading your stuff. The human eye and mind are the best tools for finding things you need to fix, and options and opportunities you missed. But, sometimes no one’s available, or sometimes you want toContinue reading “Not as good as an editor, but…”

Who are you talking to?

One side effect of being called as Young Men’s President is that I get to spend a lot more time dealing with young adults. Which is kind of a good thing since I’m working on a young adult novel… it has also gotten me thinking about audience, audience expectations, and telling your audiences apart. WhenContinue reading “Who are you talking to?”

Story in fiction and nonfiction

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is that nonfiction should be written so that it tells a story. But… story is a fiction thing! Actually “story” can be a fiction thing, but it is also a way of organizing information. In a story you have a beginning, middle, and end. InContinue reading “Story in fiction and nonfiction”

Reading and writing

Reading and writing are two different sides of an exchange of ideas. If you are going to do the writing side well, then you have to understand what the project looks like from the reading side including format, language use, punctuation, voice, etc. The way you learn about what things look like from the reading side is to read.

Team Oxford Comma?

I know… It would sound weird to my younger self too, but the deeper I go into writing and editing I’m gaining an appreciation for the Oxford comma. Once, as a youngster, I learned that that comma before an ‘and’ in lists really wasn’t necessary. It was optional and something the old guys did, soContinue reading “Team Oxford Comma?”