I am a writer and
novelist. Welcome to my blog and website. Here, you can learn what is going on in my life and in my writing
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Seeing it through your eyes ... or mine ... or his and hers
3:56 pm cdt
I thought I'd say a few words about point of view.
One of the most important decisions a writer can make is deciding
what point of view to tell a story in. As a quick reminder, there are three widely recognized points of view. They are:
person -- I did this
Second Person -- You did this
Third person -- He or she did this
I will repeat what
I said earlier: one of the most important decisions a writer can make is the selection of the proper point of view for a story.
writers are very good at first person. Lawrence Block, for example, has written a great many novels in first person, and I
am happy to read any one of them.
Sometimes, the decision will be made for you. Private eye fiction, for example, is
predominantly, alhtough not exclusively, written in first person. A sprawling, multi-generational story will almost certainly
require third person.iha
I have told stories from both first and third person points of view. Taylor Made,
False Witness, and The Body of the Crime, are all first person. Jane Doe, Striking Out,
Dad's Legacy, Homecoming, and Trophies are all third person. Jane Doe and Striking Out are from
mulitple points view, the others are from a more limited point of view, that of one character.
And sometimes a story
won't work in a certain point of view. For example, I have read several first-person stories in which the protagonist is killed
at the end of the story, or, more accurately, is in a situation in which death is inevitable. I personally don't think this
works. First person implies that the hero of the story survived and is telling you about something that happened to them some
time ago, some days or weeks or months or years in the past.
So, when I read a first person story where the hero/heroine
dies, I think, "How are you telling me this when you are dead?"
I say this because of my own experiences
writing Designated Angel. The earliest version of the story was in third person, and I thought it went nowhere. I
simply didn't like what I had.
Then one day, I thought, why not change to first person? So I did, rewriting
the entire manuscript thati Had from the point of view of my hero. I could do this because I didn't feel the need to
tell the story from any other point of view. That, and the decision to combine two stories into one, allowed me to come up
with a story I am happy with.
So, what is the takeway? If you are not satisfied with a story, one of the ways you can
attempt to salvage it is to at least consider changing yourpoint of view.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Two into one
2:54 pm cdt
I recently finished the first draft of a new story, Designated Angel. I like this story enough that I will more
than likely try to submit this story to one or more of the major magazines before I think about independent publication. I
would like to see this story get wider circulation, and it would help me to build my following if I have publication in a
major mystery magazine in my resume.
The process of writing Designated Angel also allows me to talk about an
aspect of writing that played an important part in getting this story finished, and that is the willingness and ability to
combine two stories into one.
Designated Angel started out as an outline for a story called Guardian Angel.
I put a little work in on the story, but didn't do much with it becasue it simply didn't work. According to the outline, a
character had to commit a nasty deed, but there as absolutely no reason for her to do so, except possibly misogyny. So I put
the story aside after writing only a few pages.
In my notes, I had a story idea in which a cop helps a former Marine
to get even with the man who killed someone close to him. The law couldn't touch this killer, and the cop and the Marine both
knew it, so the cop gives the Marine the information he would need to take care of the perp himself.
The problem with
this story is that it wasn't really a complete story, just an idea for an incident. I read it over, realized this, then thought,
"It would make a good ending for Guardian Angel, if I change the actions of one main female character.
did so. I outlined the combined story, using the original story as the basis for most of the new verison, changing the actions
of the one character -- which, among other things, made a great deal more sense -- and using the second idea as the ending.
This gave me a complete story that is better than the original story, and uses an idea that I would never have written otherwise.
The rest was relatively easy. I knew where I wanted the story to go, and all I had to do was write it. Now, the first
draft is finished and I'm going to let it sit for a few days while I work on other things.
The lesson from this, I think
is, even if a story idea of yours isn't workable, don't be afraid to combine it with other ideas and stories, and make whatever
changes are necessary. The result might be something good.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
1:01 pm cdt
So much for my resolve to post more often. I knew I had gone a while without posting, but I didn't realize I had gone this
I am still working on Old Wounds, and a short story, the original Guardian Angel, now re-titled
Designated Angel. I am also doing the test scoring gig that I have done each of the last several summers. I am trying
to fit my writing work in and around that schedule. I am also still investigating the possibility of creating a Patreon page.
it has been difficult to find the motivation to get much done. My mother, who seemed to be in good health, died suddenly almost
a month ago at age 86, and I am still adjusting to the realities of her being gone.
Among other things, I have to keep
an eye on my father, widowed at 87 after more than 59 years of marriage, and I have new responsibilities around the house.
sum it all up: I am trying to keep writing, but it is slow going.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Still hard at work
5:35 pm cst
This week I shall continue with the revision of Old Wounds. I read through it already, and now I plan to read
through it again, making notes as I go, and incorporating my sublplot. I also want to extract character names and descriptions
so that I can make character sketches, as characterization is something I am always weak in.
The problem is one of length.
I have 33000 words, which is nowhere near enough for a novel. I need 50000 - 55000, which is still short for a novel, but
I think the PI genre can get away with it, as some of the classic books of the genre are not doorstoppers.
subplot should give me 5000 - 7000 words, but I will still need to expand the novel to the proper length without padding it
out. If I have to, I will go chapter by chapter, adding description, characterization, and the necessary depth a novel
And as if that's not enough, I also have at least four short stories in the works. I can't seem to commit to
any one. I bounce back and forth from one to the other without pulling the trigger on any of them. I want to put out quality
work, and am making an effort to do better, which means taking the time to do things right.
However, I also want to
get things done and published, and the slow deliberate approach makes this difficult.
I may have to work on one project
at a time until it is finished, from first draft to publishing, then move on to the next. That way, I could get things finished
and published and continue building my audience and you, dear reader, would have the pleasure of buying and reading my latest
story or novel in a much more timely fashion.
But, as I have said before many times, at least I have plenty to work
on. I'd rather have too many ideas than not enough.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Dad's Legacy released today
4:04 pm cst
As I promised, I have uploaded my short story Dad's Legacy to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords for release
to all the ebook formats.
Now, I think I might take a little time to figure out what my next project is going to be.
I have several stories and novels I want to work on, but I want to do them in some kind of logial order, so I can actually
get things done and released.
As always, I will keep you posted on this site.
About me: I have been writing since the early 1980s, ever since discovering a passion for writing during my senior year
in High School. My completed writings include novels, short stories, and newspaper articles. I have completed four novels
in that time, and have partially completed two others. I have had little success in finding an agent or a publisher for any
of my novels, and have recently taken my efforts online. During the years that I have been writing, I have also served my
country as a member of the United States Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps. In the last five years, I have been deployed
to Army bases in Iraq, Kansas, and Virginia.
Look for my novel Taylor Made
, available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.