I lay claim to the title Professional Writer because I make an income from selling my articles and books. I am also an amateur gardener: because I do NOT make any income from it. I had once considered selling excess produce at the local Farmers Market, but that would mean getting up quite early on Saturdays and trundling a truckload of veggies over to a parking lot where I would HOPE that people would be willing to exchange cash for foodstuffs. That lost its appeal once that ‘getting up early on Saturday’ thing became a tangible reality. Still I have learned some lessons from gardening that apply well to other areas of life, even life as a writer.
Posts Tagged ‘writing’
The old man struggles at the slow end of the leash as his 80 pound bulldog, Cochise, strains like a John Deere at the other; dragging them both up the steep, winding mountain path.
The path was once a crude dirt road; just a common access for owners of property on the undeveloped, upper portion of the mountain. For several years an occasional 4-wheel drive pick-up would trek up the mountain to release hunting dogs, cut firewood to haul home, or just enjoy a few hours sitting in the woods soaking up the solitude. Then, for a while only ATVs went up there to rip and snort along the path and tear new trails through virgin woods. The old man was glad when the kids lost interest in their new toys and stopped coming. It had been a year or more since anyone went up the old road. No maintenance had been done, not even the farmer who occasionally used his tractor to drag a scraper blade along to even out the humps and ruts and shear off the saplings. Now those saplings were crowding in from the shoulders and taking over again. Trees had fallen, shattering branches all over and heavy rains were forming huge ruts and runnels that made the road difficult for any vehicle to navigate faster than a creep.
Only he and Cochise – occasionally his wife and a foster dog would accompany them a short ways; just to where it got steep – were the only ones to go up there. They manage to keep a path trampled down for a half mile or so up the main route and a few hundred feet along a branch road. Read the rest of this entry »
First person is a very common voice for writers to use in fiction, especially in mysteries and crime thrillers; this voice allows the reader to discover the plot as it unfolds through the protagonists eyes.
Harold said, “I never knew her.” But I knew he was lying. I knew for a fact that Harold and Liz went to school together, shared a few classes and even dated for a while after they graduated. Why was he lying? I decided not to press the point just yet; I’d dangle a rope and see if he’d hang himself first.
First person can be limiting because the reader can only experience what the POV character knows, or experiences. This means that the scope of the novel needs to be fairly tight. Using multiple POV characters (first person serial) can expand the view considerably. Generally this is done by letting characters take turns in relating events as the story unfolds. Sometimes someone does something unusual such as in Levi Montgomery’s The Death of Patsy McCoy where the same story is retold through the eyes of several characters and each retelling reveals new facets of the complete story. Read the rest of this entry »
Second Person as a writing voice is quite common in non-fiction, particularly instructive non-fiction: “First you do this, then you do that, make sure you haven’t forgotten to lock down the sniggletharp.” Sometimes the ‘you’ is implied, “Insert tab A into slot B and twist to lock”. But second person, though uncommon, can also be used in fiction and can be used quite effectively.
In first person, the reader may choose to become the character or may simply ‘listen’; “I noticed my shoe was untied and crouched to remedy the situation just as something whizzed close over my head. Had I been standing just then it would have caught me across my chest.” The reader may interpret that statement as being the character or may accept it as though sitting across the table from a friend, each with a cup of coffee as he tells about an adventure.
Third person is a detached view, but far more versatile, “Dudley noticed his shoe was untied and stooped to remedy the situation just as the length of pipe flew across the room. Had he still been standing, it would have caught him in the chest. Snydley snarled as the pipe missed its target, ‘Curses, foiled again.’” Read the rest of this entry »
What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction. The word today is “orange”.
Here is my Five Sentence Fiction entry:
A lump formed in his throat as he watched the frame building burn; orange, red and vermillion illuminating the night. Wood crackled and hissed, glass shattered as pieces fell inward, collapsing. The fire consumed the house, and the memories; all those memories. Was it wrong? No, she deserved it: burn witch, burn.
* * * * * Read the rest of this entry »
A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax.
Ø Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
Ø The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list. Read the rest of this entry »
Today I am delighted to have as my guest, best-selling novelist Toby Neal. In this guest-post she shares some thoughts and insights on the creative process and we introduce her latest book. Please make her welcome…
What is the creative process?
Different for everyone, sure. For me, it’s connected to daydreaming, and then making and doing stuff.
Yeah, real scientific.
Mulling, wandering, chewing a bit of grass as I kick a pebble on my walk with my (small/fuzzy/ridiculous) dogs, I think of a new scene.
Tilting my head to spot a flamenco dancer in the shape of a cloud. I take an Istagram pic of it (find me at tobyneal0)!
Chasing the aforementioned dogs away from a mysterious dirt patch in the middle of the ball field just the size of a body, I see a future crime scene for my novel. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my greatest pet peeves about modern writing is the flagrant misuse of the word “less”. I see it everywhere, even so called professional journalists are saying such things as “…we have 20 less laps to go in the race…” Advertisements claim, “Now with less calories” or “We have less waiting lines”. Less has become the defacto identifier for all quantity comparisons.
Prior to the eighteenth century, this would have been perfectly acceptable, but since that time it has been accepted that “fewer” is to be used when talking about things that can be counted individually, “less” when taking about items or amounts that are not individually countable. Let’s look at some examples. Read the rest of this entry »
Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.
Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing, especially identifying and tracking expenses. Business expenses are considered an operating cost. The more legitimate business expenses that we can document, the lower our tax payments will be.
Ordinary and Necessary Business Expenses for Writers:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that our writing expenses be ordinary and necessary in order for them to be acceptable. An ordinary expense is defined as common and accepted in our profession. A necessary expense means we need to spend this money in order to operate the business. The expenses must not be considered extravagant. They must be an essential part of doing business as a writer. It is important to differentiate between personal expenses and business expenses. Read the rest of this entry »