Tag Archives: Writing

Ways to introduce minor characters in your novel-part two

In my previous post I wrote how to introduce a minor character into your story. We met Grover in a barbershop. He was 5’8″, bald, wore a green wool shirt, red suspenders and Levi’s with a massive gut sagging down over his pants. He did not say a word in the scene, yet I am confident readers would remember Grover Hargrove. He was introduced in chapter two.

Now I am writing chapter four and it is time to bring forth Grover. Here is what happens when we see Grover a second time.

I looked across the street and my eye caught a man watching us. He wore a green wool shirt, red suspenders over Levi’s and a massive gut drooping over his pants. It was Grover Hargrove, the man hit in the head by a falling tree, that I saw in the barbershop.

Evy noticed me looking at Grover. “Who’s that honey?”

Clancy turned her head at Grover, standing on other side of the street as motionless as a statue. Clancy waved and yelled, “You hoo.” As if poked by a cattle prod, Grover jolted to alertness, the statue come to life, and he quickly waddled away.

Now the reason I wrote the description of Grover when Chet sees him is to identify him in a way that the reader will recall-oh that guy. I did the same thing in the first paragraph in this post for those who read the previous post-oh yeah, that guy.

But Grover walks away. The reason is that now the reader knows he will factor in the story. Why was Grover watching them? Is he a bad guy? What is he up to? Is he mentally impaired because of the head injury? It is a nice plot device to make a mystery of someone, or two, within a mystery. It keeps the reader turning pages, clicking enter for next page, or tapping, clicking, to find out about Grover and what he will do or say next. 

My amazon page

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under dalies, fiction writing, indie writers, writers

How to prepare to write- for tomorrow

If you want to  get your writing off to a good start today then you should have prepared yesterday. In the e-Book I am currently working on I finished chapter three with Pamela slowly opening a door to an abandoned shack deeps in the woods. What is on the other side of the door?

I was wondering the same thing when I finished chapter three and was done for the day having written nearly 2,000 words.

So I wondered what will happen next, what do I write about tomorrow? Rather than do nothing but shutdown my computer for the day, I decided to make notes for tomorrow. That way I do not waste time wondering what happens next when I sit down to write tomorrow. I am facing two options. One, somebody or something is inside, or two, nothing happens. Sometimes nothing is good because the reader is expecting something. I already have a car by the side of the road; the car owned by a character Pamela and two others are looking for, thus the reason they go to this shack wondering if he, Dennis by name, is in the shack, and whether he is alive or dead.

It matters not whether he is there or not, the idea is to decide which, then what the characters decide to do with what they know, for there is always something to be learned even if Dennis is not there. But I won’t tell you what, that is not the point.

It is about preparing for the next day and you do this by deciding what you want the characters to do, or what you want to have happen. You only have to make quick little reminder notes, something simple, something to trigger your thinking and writing. So when tomorrow arrives and you read your notes, then you are off and running.

I currently have finished chapter three and have no idea what happens next, so I must leave you and make my notes.

On my Amazon page I have finished e-books. Here is one filled with wonderful paranormal horror stories. It has two four star reviews.

Cemetery_Tales_and_other_PhantasmsA-351x597

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, e-books, fiction, horror stories, writers, writing

Why New Years resolutions don’t’ work

I am writing this ahead of time to warn you of the pitfalls of making resolutions. Most resolutions don’t work because they are made when too much bubbly is in your system and though well intentioned in that moment, you know deep down in dawn of morning there ain’t no way you will follow through.

It is the morning after when the new day sobers you up and you realize the person next to you is not the person you thought you knew, in fact, may not be anyone you know, or you wake up and realize you know the person, and are sorry that you do.

You can’t start a new year, a new outlook, new goals, a new you on the first of January. Hung over, dry heaves, wet heaves, with only football games for redemption to free you from  . . . what did I resolve to do?

Won’t work.

No you must make resolutions now in order to acclimate yourself for the new year. It is like baseball players in spring training, or football players in training camp; you must prepare yourself. You can not jump into it on New Years Eve. Well, okay, you can, and it is a lot of fun, but I am talking about resolutions here.

What I have resolved to do as of Sunday, December the 6th, is to rise each morning and eat breakfast while reading my emails, or should say deleting 20 of 25 without bothering to read. Then brew some tea, either green, oolong, or jasmine. I drink the tea because it has not only antioxidants, but a caffeine jolt to jump start my brain to write my 2,000 words Monday through Friday. One thousand words, then stop to exercise my body so that my rear end does not spread out like an amok excel spreadsheet. Then write another 1,000 words. After that I shall read, as I have tons of unread books, so many that my space looks like a literary agents growing slush pile. I am a book hoarder that must climb out from my computer chair like a mountain goat on Everest.

So I am now officially in training for my new 2,000 words a day. I don’t know how long it will last, but I am already eagerly looking forward to jumping into New Year’s Eve.

My website

My Amazon page with 5 delightful e-Books

1 Comment

Filed under dalies, e-books, humor, indie writers, Uncategorized, writers, writing

Don’t think when writing, instead see

The worst thing a writer can do is think. First, it is a waste of brain cells, and second, thinking gets in the way of creativity. Call it Zen. Ray Bradbury did in his book “Zen and the Art of Writing.” He says what other writers have said and when more than one tell you it is so, and you can verify by your experience, you know they are correct.

I have experienced it many times, none more so, then when I wrote 2,700 words in three hours.

When writing you visualize in your cinematic brain what is happening in the scene. As a writer you know every scene has a purpose, a beginning, middle, and an end, or at least a hanging chad type of ending, one that leads the reader to the next scene, because they can’t put the book down, not yet anyway, got to keep reading, because there is that chad hanging on and the need to find out what that chad means.

Example: I wrote a scene where three people come across a car they were looking for, the car of someone who is missing. The car is on an isolated road. They follow the dirt road in a misty rain, the road overgrown with weeds, hardly, if ever used. (since I write on the fly, I have no idea where they are going). But as they go down the road, I see the road in my cinematic brain. I see the rain- and see it is misty, so I write that it is misty. I see the weeds, I see the tall grass, and I describe what I am looking at. I see the bear in the middle of the road. I see the bear raise up and let loose a tree shaking, knee buckling growl.

What happens then is not important (hanging chad), at least to the point I am making. A writer sees and writes what he sees, and what he sees is shaped into a story. So don’t think, sit back and visualize and then report what is going on, what is being said. At the end of the day-or days, you will have a story.

The hanging chad resolved: one of the three, a woman raised in an area where bears would be encountered, knew how to shout and yell to scare the bear off. They then come upon a weather beaten old shack that they approach slowly; the woman who scared off the bear slowly turns the knob on the front door. (another hanging chad)

My website

My Amazon page where you can follow me or read about my e-Books

Leave a comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, e-books, fiction, fiction writing, indie writers, writers, writing

A serendipitous discovery in writers research

I don’t outline a novel before I start. For some reason, if I worked everything out in advance, I would have trouble figuring it all out. I would get lost wondering about the whole thing. It also takes a lot of time and I would rather use the time to actually create something, and an outline is not creative to me. I find it far more fun-and inspiring to me-to have a beginning with my main characters, but not know what is going to happen, and in the case of my work in progress, not knowing who the murderer will be.

I don’t know where the murder takes place-not yet-but the head of a woman was found on a grave in a cemetery in a small town in southwest Washington in 1927. The cousin of my amateur detective works in a bank. I looked through the city directory of the time and found her a nice bank to work in. I also found that two lawyers worked in the same two story building and jotted down their names in case one of my suspects needed one.

And here is where my serendipitous research landed a wonderful surprise. I decided that the grave of Hugh Pemberton, on whose grave the head was found, was murdered by an unknown killer in 1926, and that he had been a World War one veteran. Eight years before in 1919 this small town had a large parade on the anniversary of the Armistice and this fictional Pemberton was in the parade. It became a national story when Wobblies opened fire on the veterans  and killed four young men, one of whom was an All-American football player at the University of Washington. And low and behold, he had the same last name of the lawyers that worked in the bank.

It turns out the murdered young man was the son of one of the lawyers, one that was the city attorney at the time, who said, despite his son being murdered by Wobblies, there was no legal reason to run the Wobblies out of town. A very brave stance to take in a town that was divided for decades by what happened.

It was a wonderful thread to weave into the story about the parade-I had a reason to write the scene when a barber talks about it to my lead character who is from Los Angeles-and about the son and father, and about what my fictional Hugh Pemberton did during the parade with another true character who met an unfortunate end.

This is the kind of discovery during research that drives the story forward and perhaps, if not creating a red herring, leads to a surprise twist at the end of the story. Of course I don’t know what that is or where everything is going.  But my characters and my research will provide more moments of serendipity, I am sure of it.

It is this type of lucky connection that spurs me on and that is why I don’t outline. I love discovery.

My website

My Amazon page

Leave a comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, e-books, fiction, fiction writing, indie writers, self publishing, writers, writing

Are you inspired by these inspirational quotes

Believe that you will succeed, and you will.”

The above quote came from Dale Carnegie who wrote the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” His techniques worked for him as he got rich with the book and his training program. Though he died in 1955 his training program his still going strong. He is still influencing others from the grave.

But believing alone will not lead to success. I read a variation of this quote that said, “believe and act like you are a writer and you will be one.” What is not said is that a writer must write. And then if he is an indie writer he must learn to market, advertise, and become a businessman.

So no, acting like a writer by wearing a jacket with elbow patches, a scarf around your neck, a fashionable hat purchased at Wal-Mart atop your head, and sitting reading a small book of Renaissance poetry in Starbucks won’t work. A woman writer would be sitting at the same table, but I have no idea what she would be wearing, other than a colorful sweater, scarf (all writers must have one), flats-no heels, and holding a cat in her lap while surfing the net on her laptop. 

And great writers also have empty inspiration. Johan  Wolfgang Von Goethe, who wrote “Faust,” said, “Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, anything can happen.” I do believe that you must believe in yourself, but doing so will not create success, nor will there be magic. There Are millions of people who believe in themselves, yet face the fact that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, what they want will always be illusive.

There will always be waiters in Hollywood, who will end up as waiters, because they never get that good break. The same is true of those teaching here and there, writing everyday, but getting rejected by agents and publishers.

I admit to disliking inspirational quotes. I find them hollow. They are always said by those who have achieved, never by those who failed. I wonder why that is. Let’s be honest. There is something to be said about luck, about randomness, about, perhaps, being in the right time at the right place. But, and this is important, you must prepare for that moment, even if in times of darkness, you don’t think that moment will come.

As a writer you can listen to all the advice of those on the Internet who want to help you, all the while trying to sell you something so that they can make money as you chase your dream. Nothing against Writers Digest, a good magazine, but I got daily multiple emails from them, encouraging me to enroll in this course, to buy these books, to sign up for this webinar. I have also seen free webinars and registered for two, but of course they always have something to sell, don’t they. And it’s not cheap.

True success is not about believing, it is about circumnavigating all the traps set before you; the writer in the maze who smells the cheese and scrambles after it through the maze. I believe in writing and working, of having enough books on Amazon so that people who find my page will find much to chose from. I may never have success, but I will work, not from empty inspiration, but from the power of the word.

My new e-book is Silent Murder, a murder mystery set in 1927 where somebody is killing sound technicians, trying to prevent the demise of silent movies.

Also recently published is a collection of eight short horror stories, More Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms.

Leave a comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, e-books, fiction writing, horror stories, indie writers, self publishing

Dispatch from the proofreading war zone; casualties reported

writing

The reason I look like our friend to the left is because I emphasize with him after 1, 269 run-throughs of proofreading my new e-novel “Silent Murder.” I have the book in the formatter and am finding missing periods. Were they not there previously? Have they left of their own accord? Are they holding out for some reason? Have I mistreated them somehow?

Then there are quotation marks. Some are indented the wrong way; some, of course, are missing, having no doubt run off with a  few periods. They do hang out together from time to time. I am in the sixth chapter of proofreading and so far these are the two main attacks on my story.

Yes I said attacks.

You see I am suspicious of the formatter. I try to edit and change the punctuation, but every time my finger hits a keystroke nothing shows up for about 30 seconds. I receive a message that it is slow to respond. Thank you for the update. Otherwise, how would I have known.

It would appear the formatter is aiding and abetting the escape of periods and quotation marks; not only that, it will not correct the quotation marks that are there, but need to be moved one space. It would not surprise me in the least if the formatter is behind the plot, but more investigation is needed.

The thing is you see, I had done proofreading prior to uploading to the formatter and though after innumerable run throughs where everything looked on the up and up, I expected a few aberrations, but really, what I have found leads me to suspect sabotage. It is as if punctuation either does not like the formatter, have been killed in the transfer, or do not wish to live outside word.doc. Perhaps they are afraid of getting lost in the Amazon jungle of a million e-books.

At any rate. This is where I am. Resting on a branch, exhausted from chasing down escaped punctuation.

The war will continue despite the brief respite. It is far from over. Like Douglas MacArthur I shall return, and in the end I shall be victorious. Until some reader points out an error in my book. War is Hell.

My website is here-unless it too has disappeared.

My previous books with included punctuation are here.

 

1 Comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, fiction, fiction writing, humor, Uncategorized, writers, writing